Development Team Membership : Part 3 – Competition

There is a thin line between healthy and unhealthy competition.  Competition can lead to self-improvement, which is great, but it can also be detrimental.  Slow down, ask yourself a few questions:

Who are you competing against?

Competition in the Animal Kingdom is a natural instinct, see tongue in cheek Lion King example.  Competition to be King helped no one in this instance.  As humans we may feel pushed to tackle those ahead of us in whatever hierarchy situation we may find ourselves in, but we’ve also been blessed with the presence of mind to make a more informed decision about how this will impact those around us.  In a team situation Collaboration normally trumps Competition.

What are you competing for and how?

It’s worth getting clear what it is you are competing for, this will be clear in a race where you have defined parameters and a clear understanding of the rules.  The same is not true of the workplace where you may be competing (silently) against other people for a promotion.  It’s easy for this situation to become unhealthy competition.  An unhealthy way to approach this is to belittle others achievements in order to make your own more pronounced.  Best case here is that you get the promotion, but your new “team” will know what you did to get there.  Impressing through your own abilities, and respect for others is a more noble route to the same thing, there’s no real shortcuts here.  It’s good to point out your own successes, but don’t try to tread on others, again, see Lion King.

Does anyone win in your Competition?

Competition can be a catalyst for self improvement, if you’ve picked the what and the how well.

Who can write the most lines of code in a sprint?

Imagine this competition, what are you really achieving?  No one wins in a headbutt!

Team Dynamic

Motivation is really closely linked to Competition in many ways, but it can also be a bit of a minefield when it comes to competition within teams.  Everyone has their own goals, but it’s great if these personal goals can align with the goals of the wider team.  I’ve previously mentioned the idea of letting go.  Losing the mental baggage that unhealthy competition carries will let you focus on bettering yourself.  I’ve recently been doing this exercise myself.

Review : Dark Days by D. Randall Blythe

As a drummer, Chris Adler of Lamb of God has always been an idol of mine (his signature sticks are my go to), and I’ve been a huge Lamb of God Fan for a number of years now.  The story of their front man, Randy Blythe getting arrested on Manslaughter charges on landing in Prague Airport, Czech Republic two years after the alleged incident was truly shocking.  His book, Dark Days, recounts the ordeal and offers an insight into his incredibly strong outlook on life and how he made it through the other side.

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Development Team Leadership First Steps : Part 11

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I recently read The Software Craftsman, as mentioned in the review, one of the areas that struck a chord with me was the viewpoint on Legacy Code.  I deal with a lot of Legacy Code in my day job, I’ll share a few of my own thoughts and experiences on the matter.

Legacy Code – Respect

It’s important to treat Legacy Code with Respect, from all angles.  Treat it with respect regardless of how poorly some of the code may have been written, or how antiquated the technology may now be.

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Review : The Software Craftsman by Sandro Mancuso

The term Software Craftsmanship seems to be rather divisive in its support, with, as mentioned in the book numerous times (along with retorts) the fact that the movement can come across as elitist.  At it’s core it’s another manifesto, a fairly open-ended one at that, but having read the book it extends far beyond this.

In much the same way as Agile, in the pure sense, is more of a mindset than a prescriptive set of rules, the ideas behind Software Craftsmanship conveyed in the book really lean towards achieving excellence, building on and complementing a lot of the practices outlined under XP and Agile.

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The Software Craftsman

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