The battered and bruised man makes his way into the police station and begins to tell the police officer the details of how he was just mugged. Soon the police officer interrupts:

“Ok, you’ve already told several bad things about this incident – this is getting out of balance. Can’t you tell some good things about what happened?”

Most of the articles I have posted have to do with identifying the source(s) of discouragement among our top performers. Someone might ask, why don’t I write more articles about the good things going on, for balance?

I can’t right now. I’ve been mugged. :)


8 thoughts on “Mugged

  1. One thing I do find positive is the the discussion groups. But sometimes I feel like were are learning all of these great things yet we are unable to apply much of the knowledge.

    To fit into your pictures. The person that was mugged could response: “The thief only took my wallet and beat me up but he didn’t take my car.”

  2. I like this one. It makes you think.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t turn my brain off so here are two good things I thought of about the mugging:
    1. Even though the man is hurt, he isn’t in the hospital
    2. The man wasn’t killed :)

    Now, on a serious note…it is true that it is often really hard to think of the good things when you are bruised, hurting, and feel violated. It usually takes a few days of healing before you can begin see the good in the situation.

  3. Matt, what is keeping us from applying the things we learn? When we try, where does pushback come from? Is it a team-level issue, or does it feel like it’s coming from higher levels of management as well? If it feels like it comes from higher levels of management as well, can you give any examples of what makes it feel that way? I have talked with and will be talking with different people in management here and another person’s view on this will be helpful.

  4. I was a little slow in posting my response and just saw Matt’s posting and wanted to respond to it. The discussion groups are a good thing but I sometimes find the experience to be a little disheartening in that participating in the discussion groups really makes the vast differences between the development teams within this company that much more obvious.

    Additionally, the books we have read so far tend to focus on OO programming. When the discussions constantly focus on OO and OO examples, I cannot help but at times feel envy towards those who actually are working in the OO world here at this company. Do they realize how fortunate they are?

  5. Most, if not all of the things I’m thinking of are from my days in my previous group. The main things being Unit Testing and Object Oriented programming. The OO constraint comes from higher levels of management and they would probably say “beyond their control”. Unit Testing opposition or skepticisms comes from all over. The main arguments being “If we had time, it sounds great!” and “It’s only good for new code”. Both of which I believe are invalid.

    My current project is much, much more open to new ideas, which I’m very grateful for.

    Much of the time I think to myself “If they’d just read ______” then they’d understand and want to do my suggestions.

  6. Matt – there is a lot of truth in your statements. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a simple solution.

    You and I both really liked “Working Effectively with Legacy Code”. However, we chose to purchase it and read it. People tend to feel differently about things when they feel someone else is forcing it on them.

    People on your old team have been asked to read the book and I have overheard some of their comments about the book. It seems their frustration over being forced to do something has led to a less than open mindset about the book.

    Will the book or their group discussions be good enough to overcome this mindset? I hope so.

  7. I think getting buy-in so the people feel ownership of what they’re doing is really important. I know Ben wants to facilitate that happening…. more people-stuff!! :)

  8. Juilie, I compeletely agree. When things are mandated it comes across much differently then when people do things on their own accord. Just what Daniel said, it’s all about buy-in and ownership. I think the real issue is that some people in my old group don’t think there is much need for imporement. So, if they don’t think there is an issue then the mandate to read about how to improve implies that they are wrong and thus the book recieved badly.

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