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Some time ago, I called up my cable company to arrange a new installation.They gave me a day, two weeks out, and a time, sometime between the hours of 7AM and 1PM (there goes half a day). Well, if you make the development team jump through hoops in order to get a new database into development, implement continuous integration, try out an Object Relational Mapping tool, or experiment with a new development paradigm, then you’re making them feel like they’re working with the cable company.Creative chaos and energy, if tactfully harnessed and directed, led to effective ways to perform team-based tasks.
On the side, experienced scouts are talking new scouts, scout masters are talking to scouts, pointing out what has to happen, suggesting how something should get done, stepping in to do things where absolutely necessary, teaching and then walking away, where possible. The concept is not to have someone standing tall and barking out commands. Development is a cow town in the Old West on a Saturday night after payday at the end of a long cattle drive. Each of these environments is exactly as it should be.We are like commissars in that we must maintain and enforce security mechanisms on the data from a business and regulatory standpoint.We prepare for disaster, outages and deletions of the information that defines and supports the businesses that pay us.That chaotic period in the Scouts is creative chaos, it is group thought. Instead, the leaders harness the creative energy gradually, and use their influence to give it focus and purpose. Our service should be to enable the developers to be developers, to develop. Working with them and help guide their efforts, where necessary, without setting the absolute direction, or doggedly imposing your own ideas.Leadership through service teaches us that we can best set direction if we best serve, best help, best provide an environment through which people can get what they need, but do it within a paradigm that also moves in a good direction. Help them get things done, but always keeping in sight your end goal of a safe production landing. The more manual your processes, the more pain you’re going to feel. I understand that some organizations just won’t be able to adapt this approach.
Here are my suggestions for how to get this done: You’ll need to have a process to get code from development to production, but you don’t want to control development. In fact, as with many things, the more difficult approach is the right approach.