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Challenge your teams to be better

Posted by Igor Moochnick on 08/08/2009

This is the phrase that Jeff Sutherland, one of the inventors of the Agile methodology Scrum, has ended his “A Practical Roadmap to a Great Scrum” presentation at Agile Bazaar meet up this Thursday. Couldn’t agree more. In our day and age of the developer’s ignorance and mediocracy we have to find ways to make them to improve. What is the best way to do this?

Developers love challenge. We breathe and eat challenge multiple times every day. So, why not to pose the general improvement as a challenge in front of a team and in front of each and every developer on the team? I, personally, love the idea.

“Non coding architects are fired”, said Jeff. Awesome! Would love to add to that one thing: in my eyes the non-coding architects are as real as Pegasus (as I’ve heard one of the attendees of the recent Norwegian Developers Conference has put on his t-shirt). All this resonates with the interview of Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob Martin) by Scott Hanselman (Hanselminutes #171) when they’ve talked about developer’s professionalism.

Bob says that our industry is very young and we’re not yet developed our own professional rituals and discipline. He differentiates ritual from discipline by a simple fact that rituals has actions not backed up by science and explanations, but still very effective in what they provide as disciplines. He adds that Agile development, as a discipline, a great driver forward for the industry to mature and for developers to claim “professionalism”. In addition to that, mentoring should be added as a first class citizen into the expertise development at all levels of the organizations in the industry. The same way, as you don’t want to be in a plain flown by a junior pilot, you don’t want your medical record to be managed by a software developed by a junior developer.

Me, personally, is very happy that there are a lot of different factors from the industry itself and from the co-aligned ones that start to push developers and, hopefully, their management into the process improvement. Little by little we’ll change the industry into a mature one that can ensure professionalism at all levels and niches.

Last, but not least, Software Architects should not only code but be the first ones to learn new processes that improve the quality of the development teams and the processes they follow. They should be the ones to implement them and mentor the rest of their teams. They should hone their expertise and their teams as the Samurais hone their swords.

Push yourself and people around you to be better. Challenge everyone and yourself to be better and what you do. Mentor and transfer your knowledge.

I challenge everyone to participate in the community events. Let’s share our expertise and our knowledge.

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