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Re: [xml-dev] RE: XML As Fall Guy

On Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM, <cbullard@hiwaay.net> wrote:

At the core was a team of civil servants who specified it, designed it AND managed its fabrication and fielding.  This team had been together developing these systems for three decades:  German Rocket Scientists.  The Von Braun Team.

In short, what de Marco and Lister call a "jelled team".  Unfortunately, we don't know how to create those, only how to destroy them.  The chapter on teamicide  in Peopleware starts thus:

What's  called for here is  a concise  chapter entitled "Making
Teams Jell at Your Company."  It should have half a dozen simple
prescriptions for good team formation.  These prescriptions should
be enough to guarantee jelled teams.  In the planning stage of this
work,  that is exactly the chapter we expected to write.  We were
confident.  How difficult could it be to cut to the heart of the matter
and give the reader practical tools to aid the process of making teams
jell?  We would apply all our skills,  all our experience;  we would
overwhelm the problem with logic and pure brilliance.  That's how
it looked in the planning stage....
Between  plan  and  execution,  there  were  a  few  distressing
encounters with reality.  The first of these was that we just couldn't
come up with the six prescriptions needed for the chapter.  We got
stuck at zero.  We'd been prepared to scale our expectations down a
bit, but not this much.  ("Zero Things You Can Do to Make Teams
Jell"?)  It seemed clear that something was wrong with the under-
lying notion of the chapter.  What was wrong was the whole idea of
making teams jell.  You can't make teams jell.  You can hope they
will jell; you can cross your fingers; you can act to improve the odds
of jelling; but you can't make it happen.  The process is much too
fragile to be controlled.

Instead, they explain seven ways (in the 2e, nine ways) to prevent teams from jelling, a much simpler matter.  Alas, in 2013 all of these ways are still in regular use by management — and they explain why both Clueless and Sociopath managers (without using those terms) are interested in preventing teams from jelling.

A truly great book, whose only defect is that those who need it most will never heed it.  I see that it has a new edition this year; I suppose I'll have to break down and buy it.

GMail doesn't have rotating .sigs, but you can see mine at http://www.ccil.org/~cowan/signatures

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