Friday, February 11, 2011

Just do it!

It was interesting seeing someone’s comment on Twitter about their developers a couple of weeks ago.  They were all bickering about what would be the best way to implement a solution for their software.
Overall this is not a bad thing to try and come up with a plan before getting starting.  Fools rush in and all.  But the bickering was going on, and the clock was ticking.  “Just fucking do it!”, was the exasperated Twitter comment!
It reminded me of a really valuable exercise I was put through when I was a graduate at Dolphin Systems.  All us graduates were put on an outward bounds “teambuilding” exercise.
In the morning we all had to answer questionnaires and were assigned “personality types”.  The types fell into two basic kinds “leaders” and “soldiers” is the best way to sum it up.  Not surprisingly I was in the leaders – generally all us “leaders” (well we were young grads who thought we knew it all) had a tendency throughout the grad program to be a bit argumentative.
Anyway – that afternoon, we were split into two groups for a task.  We had an hour to build a raft.  At the end of the hour come what may we’d be made to put what we had into the water, and we’d have to sail it.  No excuses.
I looked around my team, “Wait a minute ... we’re all the leader types”.  

Charlie from Templecombe twigged, “They expect us all to bicker don’t they”.  

James from Rochester summed the feeling of the group, “They’re want us to fail don’t they”.
Watching the “soldiers” team get on with it, we all kind of silently fell into place and got busy.  We realised the challenge ahead, we were limited in time, and we had to finish.  We added ideas as we went along, but didn’t argue too much about it.
We realised our tendency to fight for things would fail us in this task – which would mean humiliation and wetness.
We managed to build our raft.  It went into the water, it supported us, and we won the raft race.  No sinking feeling required.
As my exasperated colleague summed it up on Twitter.  When time is running out, and it’s going to hurt if you’re not done, drop the attitude and “Just do it!”.

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