Thursday, September 23, 2004

Roles, goals, and Hats

I was sitting in a meeting this morning. We had people with different job roles--developers, testers, writers, managers, and trainers. During discussions, it started to become apparent that we have a tendency to think about our role and how a certain decision affects our job. Sometimes that is the best way to think, because it helps everyone but sometimes it hinders the progress.

Having been in many meetings I've found that people are most likely to be protective of their role and tend to push the goals that help them and not necessarily the goals of the entire team. It's probably sub-conscious for most people. The interesting thing for me is to look for the motivation behind a recommendation and having been in different roles in software, it helps me get a better handle on things. I feel that sometimes we're all fighting against each other (or against some) rather than against a problem and towards a common team goal.

Here's where Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats would be a wonderful technique to apply. He's written an entire book on the hats, but the crux is that you put on a differnt thinking hat and deliberatly think along those lines. Positive, Emotional, Negative, and so on.

Think about it--If everyone let go of their roles and their tendencies and thought with each of the different hats at the SAME time, then we'd get so much more productivity out of each person. It'd be a conscious attempt to engage the various facets of thinking and not just the ones that a person is pre-disposed to. Imagine if everyone were on the same side on everything; that'd be something wouldn't it. Now that's what I'd call teamwork.