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How to have better technical fights?

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Ari-Pekka Lappi

on 6 November 2016

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Transcript of How to have better technical fights?

How to have
better technical
fights
?
Raise your hand if...
...you think that '
fighting
' is
a crucial and necessary part
of work in an innovative and advanced organizations.
Slightly provocative start
Listening task
What concept would
describe better the thing
I call 'a good
fight
' ?
Outline
I do,
but only a small
sub-set of
fighting
.
"One best way"
Me as an developer/architect
5-10 years ago
Ethos:
Fights
are realism because of our limited cognitive capabilities. In ideal world there people would behave fully rationally and no 'real', non-playful
fights
emerges.

Me as a ScrumMaster
2-5 years ago
Ethos:
Fights
are unavoidable due contradicting interests and preferences, but diplomacy, compassion and empathy helps us minimize the
damages
.

Current me
Ethos:
While most
fights
are dysfunctional, some
fights
helps us overcome the limitations of current me and current us.
Show, don't tell
- You are having a lengthy and frustrating debate
- The
fight
is merely theoretical than practical
The idea
Option 1: Ask the other
show
what he thinks.
Option 2:
Show
what you think.
Target timebox: 5 minutes
Examples:
- Non-compiling code that clarifies thinking
- Function signature, with usage examples
- Paper prototype or other improvised model
Embrace fears
"Thought experiments"
"Language experiments"
Make complexity
tangible
Learn fast
Evolution of my
fighting
skills

mindset
mindset
Time Lord mindset
Raise your hand if...
...you work as a technical
mentor or coach*.
Poll 1
[*] e.g. Scrum Master with technical background, CTO, mentoring senior/lead developer
Poll 2
Twitter: @ilmirajat
Key questions
- What is the problem?
- What are the facts?
- What is the best solution?
Key question:
- What kind of system produces a problem?
- Why we need to solve the problem?
- How might we help the people to do good things?
References and further reading
Image copyrights
Ari-Pekka Lappi
When to apply:
When to apply:
- Details and principles lowers the level of discussion
- Risk of 'just-in-case architecture'
- A lot of MUSTs and CANNOTs in
fights
The idea
1) Pay attention in the amount and sources of MUSTs and CANNOTs
2) Try to translate MUSTs and CANNOTs into fears and wishes.
3) Build a thought experiment: Mix ideas to make them better
Target timebox: 20 minutes
Examples:
- "If you do A, I fear that X will happen. How might we tackle the fear X in approach A?"
- "I proposed A, because X is important for me. Is there a way to achieve X by using the approach B instead of A."
- "What risks you see in the approach A? What is missing in it?"
When to apply:
- You want to minimize risk relating especially customer needs, markets, technology and team
- You want to improve productivity or quality
Examples:
- Proof of Concept (POC)
- Spikes
- PDCA (Plan-do-check-act)
- Retrospectives (mostly)
- Lean start-up approach (mostly)
The idea
(1) Set goal
(2) Gather data on the current situtation
(3) Generate options
(4) Experiment with the best one(s)
Target timebox: a week or two
When to apply:
- You have fundamental differences in values, approaches and mindsets
How to discuss simplicity
of diverse, complex alternatives?
Re-frame vs. core-async
Real world example:
Raise your hand if...

(a) Actor model (~re-frame),
(b) CSP/Channels (core.async),
(c) Observables (futures, promises) and
(d) Event/callback pattern (JS by default)
Poll 6
Channels
Actors
Channels
Actors
Actors
Channels
The goal is not to find agreement but to build
shared language
and ways to
appreciate the differences
(and preserve them).
How to make complex things
more understandable and
fertile for a debate?
By introducing more
tangible layer of concepts!
Summary
"Traditional experiment"
Learn fast
is easy, clean and straightforward?
...you think that a debate on the
practical
differences (e.g.) of
Star Trek mindset
Time Lord mindset
"Micro-experiments"
Show, don't tell
"Thought experiments"
Embrace fears
"Language experiments"
Make complexity tangible
Comments & questions
Reminder
: What concept would
describe better the thing I call
'a good
fight
' in this presentation?
mindset
Raise your hand if...
you recognize Sherlock mindset in yourself*.
Poll 3
[*] Past, current or both.
Raise your hand if...
you recognize Star Trek mindset in yourself*.
Poll 4
[*] Past, current or both.
mindset
Key questions:
- What is 'better' and could it be better?
- How might we overcome the current limits of our imagination and cognitive abilities?
Raise your hand if...
you recognize Time Lord mindset in yourself*.
Poll 5
[*] Past, current or both.
Approaches
:
- Systems thinking
- Design thinking
- Non-violent communication
Approaches
:
- Research, science, logic, math...
- Best practices
"It depends...
"Many best ways, but all of them are in future"
Approaches:
- TRIZ & Systematic innovation
- Theory U
- Experimentation culture
Actors
Channels
The idea
1) Try to find easily countable (or tangible) metrics that describe your way of thinking
2) Use the metrics to differentiate the ways of thinking
3) Seek 'aporia' (state of puzzlement) rather than resolution
Target timebox: 60 minutes
"Traditional experiments"
"Micro-experiments"
Sherlock mindset
3 mindsets of
fighting
4 ways to improve
fights
via experimentation
there might be an optimum for a situation"
Four ways to improve
fights

via experimentation

Star Trek mindset
Time Lord mindset
Sherlock mindset
Relax
The point in this example is in the ways of thinking and talking of technology, not in technology per se.
It's completely okay to
not
understand every detail
schuger
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Full transcript