Episode 139: Fearless Change with Linda Rising

Filed in Episodes by on June 30, 2009 5 Comments

Recording Venue: OOP 2009
Guest(s): Linda Rising

Host(s): Markus
This episode is once again with Linda Rising, this time on the book she coauthored with Mary Lynn Manns on introducing ideas into organizations. The talk is another one of the SE Radio Live sessions recorded at OOP 2009 – thanks to SIGS Datacom and programme chair Frances Paulisch for making this possible.

Links:

 View Transcript

Transcript brought to you by IEEE Software

Markus Völter 00:00:00 SE radio episode 139, Linda rising on fearless change. This is software engineering radio, the podcast for professional developers on the web@se-radio.net. As your radio brings your relevant and detailed discussions and interviews on software engineering topics every two weeks. Thanks to our audience and the partners listed on our website for supporting the podcast. Hello everybody. Uh, Markus here, I want to, uh, talk to you regarding a couple of popularly, interesting things, first of all, as you radio, um, it’s now more than three years old. Um, it has changed quite a bit from, um, being a podcast where the team talks about, um, their own experience to a mostly interview podcast. Uh, interview podcasts are quite a bit more work and since the team is also stressed and some people have dropped out or can’t contribute as much as they plan to, we’re really running at the limits of our capacity.

Markus Völter 00:01:04 So that’s why we have decided to go from a every 10 day to a, every two week rhythm. So from now on SC radio will publish its episodes every 14 days. And, uh, not every 10 days I realized that some people of course don’t like that. Uh, I don’t either, but I guess, you know, you can, uh, to keep things sustainable, we need to get the workload to a level where it is, um, you know, feasible for everybody to continue contributing. So that’s one measure also, uh, even with that, it seems like we would like to have one or two additional team members, uh, team members without, I mean, people who interview other people and produce the content. So that would mean that you, that you actually have access to interesting people through conferences or something. Uh, you prepare interviews by discussing the topics with, uh, you know, the other, uh, team members of se radio, you then record, uh, the interview and then you edit the interview regarding content, um, sound editing.

Markus Völter 00:02:12 You don’t have to do, you know, cleaning up the sound and, and normalizing things. That’s what Christy does. And, uh, folco uh, then publishes the episode and stuff. So by the way, thanks for doing that. Um, and you would have to have audio equipment that allows you to record the audio in a decent quality level. So, uh, you know, the audience, although in the beginning, we did have our problems with audio. I think we’re now at a quite good level of audio quality, and we want to keep that. So if, uh, if you’re interested in, uh, you know, becoming part of the team, please, uh, well contact us@teamatseradio.net, expect that we want you to do a prototype interview first. Uh, we really want to make sure that you, well, you know, that, that you, that, that actually, you know, can do that. And then that you’re kind of willing to put the work into it that that needs to be put into it.

Markus Völter 00:03:04 Um, two other things, um, one is that, uh, together with Stefan to cough Christianne vial and Miguel, I have started another podcast on software architecture. It is German language. So if you don’t speak German, you should probably skip the next minute. Um, you can find the podcast at Hazon developer that is at www dot Heizer dot D slash developer slash podcast. We have already published a bunch of episodes and, um, well go give it a try. Uh, the last comment I want to make is, uh, just remind you of my Ohmigod tower podcast, where I, you know, doing all, doing all the non software stuff that I find interesting. I mentioned that on se radio before, but for some reason I only got like, I don’t know, a hundred or 200 listeners, and I was expecting more here because I thought, you know, if you listened to se radio, you might also want to listen to other technology and science stuff with episodes on, on airline or maintenance and cryptography on music production on radiation science at ESRS and aerodynamics on migratory birds, uh, checked out production.

Markus Völter 00:04:15 So, um, some of the episodes are German, some are English, but, um, I guess you might want to give it a, try it or make our tower podcast.net. That’s Oscar Mike echo above alpha tango, alpha uniform podcast.net. Okay. So, so much for the advertising. I just wanted to give you a heads up. We are going to continue at se radio, but we are going to continue at a somewhat reduced pace. I hope that’s okay with all you guys. Uh, if not, well, well, I guess you can always help out and contribute, which makes our life easier. And, uh, well, I guess, but I think it’s okay. There are many other podcasts available now on software, so you should be able to fill your iPod. Thanks. And now let’s get on with the content of this episode.

Markus Völter 00:04:55 Welcome everybody. You might be surprised that I’m here, but this is one of the sessions that are corporate used between the, the SE radio podcast and European conference. So you will be able to hear the discussion on the podcast and you will be able to ask questions and you’ll be able to hear yourself on the podcast, which of course requires that you actually ask questions. So, um, I would recommend, or, you know, I would like to ask you to, while we do the discussion to beginning, think about what additional stuff you want to ask. We’ll have enough time at the end. Um, and if you don’t ask anything, we have a plan B, but would actually prefer for you to ask questions. So we have a microphone and I’ll walk around and you can then ask questions. And I’m just going to, you know, I’ll basically take the slides, uh, reformulate the headings into questions so that the guys listening to the podcast have a way to connect to what’s going on. Okay. So I guess before we get started, it’s time for you Linda to introduce yourself.

Linda Rising 00:05:58 Okay. Thank you, Marcus. And thank you for recording this because I know any time I do an interview with you and it goes live, I get email from all over the world. So you must have an incredible audience and they all say, I heard you on software engineering radio. So how exciting. So my name is Linda rising and I’m an independent consultant. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, where according to my husband, the temperature today is 80 degrees. You see that’s 25. And this morning when I woke up, I saw snow. We don’t have snow in Phoenix, Arizona. So what a treat to be here in Munich. So I’m interested in patterns. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. Also retrospectives to change process and agile software development. And I’m very happy to be here. I love to do interviews with Marcus and I love to talk about patterns. Well, so that’s that’s right.

Markus Völter 00:07:01 Okay. So let’s, uh, get to the point. So, so the talk or the discussion or whatever it is about, um, patterns that help an organization become agile. And I guess before we actually talk about the specific patterns, it’s probably useful to briefly, you know, our, what, what patterns are in the first place. So,

Linda Rising 00:07:21 So let’s take a little poll. I know that our listeners can’t participate, but let me ask the audience who’s here today. How many of you already know something about patterns now? How many of you are actually using patterns? The gang of four patterns, Posa patterns. Huh? So we have a patterns, literate audience. Excellent. So that must be a useful thing for you patterns. Yeah. Good. So that’s the idea. I think those of us who were in the patterns community at the beginning said, we want to document good ideas, not just from a theoretical standpoint, these should be things that are based on experience and they should be useful things. So the idea is you document well-known solutions based on the experience of experts. And then you give the pattern a name. Now the power of a name is that you can refer them to that solution by name.

Linda Rising 00:08:22 And hopefully if you had enough patterns for your particular domain, you could have a collection of names that all work together and we call that a pattern language. So the idea is not just the search for the ultimate pattern. It’s the search for the collection of patterns that work together to solve problems in a particular domain. So that’s something we were all introduced to in 1994 with the gang of four patterns. And for me, it was a transforming event because at that point, I think I caught the patterns disease. I see patterns everywhere. So there are patterns in this room even as we speak. So I’m always looking at patterns and thinking about patterns. So it was a natural when my coauthor, Mary Lynn Manns, who’s also a patterns fanatic. We decided to write the book naturally. It should be a book of patterns.

Markus Völter 00:09:24 Just one comment. The podcast audience probably also familiar we had the first episode ever was on pattern. So maybe it was the second and we have 27,000 downloads about that. So we can assume that the people who listen to it also know about it. So, um, you mentioned the gang of four as being the first, um, you know, use of patterns in the software community, but there is of course, pre prior art and outside software and that’s Alexander’s stuff, right?

Linda Rising 00:09:49 Christopher Alexander. So look, we, we know that we have a patterns, literate audience. We have a lot of people here who are using patterns. Let’s do another poll. We’ll say, how many of you have heard of Christopher Alexander? Look at that. Wow, I am impressed. So Christopher Alexander was a building architect. Oh, wait. How many of you are using Christopher Alexander’s patterns? Gotcha. Okay. So my favorite of Christopher Alexander’s patterns, the one I use the most, as an example, you won’t find in this room is called light on two sides. Now this is a very nice room and it does have natural light coming in on one side. And it’s certainly an extensive side, but Alexander’s pattern suggests that all rooms should have light natural light coming in on, at least two sides could be on adjacent sides or opposite sides. One of those sides could be the ceiling.

Linda Rising 00:10:58 We have a lot of skylights in Arizona cause we don’t like a lot of glass. It gets to be 120 degrees in the summertime. So we don’t want to encourage any more sun than we have to. So Christopher Alexander was writing patterns for building architecture. He designs towns, cities, university campuses, corporate structures. And after a while he says, I’m seeing the same thing over and over again. Wouldn’t it be nice to document these common solutions, give them a name and then we can refer to them by that name. So his two plastic books that we all point to, even as software developers are the timeless way of building and a pattern language. And it was interesting in the interview with Tom DeMarco this morning that he talked ed Jordan’s T a rep, I’m referring to Christopher Alexander’s work in the early seventies and saying, this is what we should all be looking at.

Linda Rising 00:12:04 And the book that he mentioned was, um, the timeless way of building in a pattern language and said, we should all be reading these books. So that was something I hadn’t realized. Certainly Tom DeMarco mentioned Christopher Alexander and his people were book, which is now 25 years old. So long before the gang of four book, right. There were people who were looking at Christopher Alexander. They weren’t writing patterns for software yet, but they were thinking about it as a direction in which we might head. So I’ve got Christopher Alexander’s definition of what a pattern is. A pattern is something that can be used over and over again, a million different ways without ever doing it the same way twice.

Markus Völter 00:12:52 So let’s move over to your parents. Um, okay. What’s the story behind it? These three process. How did they come about?

Linda Rising 00:13:02 So I was working at a medium sized telecom company and I went to oops, a lot in 1994. I don’t know how many of you were there at in 1990.

Linda Rising 00:13:14 How many of you were alive in 1994?

Markus Völter 00:13:19 Oh, that’s good. See, that’s only about half the room. Do you notice that? Yeah.

Linda Rising 00:13:23 Wow. So in 1994 at Oop Sola, which is a big object oriented conference, it was even bigger than Oop at the time, at the time, not anymore, not anymore, but I went to that conference. It was one of my favorite conferences and there was something new that year. There were four guys giving a tutorial on something called design patterns. So I went to the tutorial and during that tutorial, they kept saying, Oh, the book is coming out. Just wait tomorrow. When the exhibit hall opens, the book is coming out and you’ll get a chance to buy the book. So in those days at hoop, there was a huge, huge exhibit collection. And a lot of those exhibits were books, the good old days. So in Addison Wesley’s booth, there were stacks and stacks of the design patterns book, and people began lining up. So the line went from the Addison, Wesley booth in the exhibit hall, all the way out the door of the exhibit hall and down and on into the street. Seriously, seriously, you weren’t there?

Markus Völter 00:14:41 Well, I was, I was just finishing school.

Linda Rising 00:14:46 Okay. So they outsold by a factor 10, any other book that’s ever been introduced at a technical conference? No wonder Addison, Wesley loves patterns, books,

Markus Völter 00:15:02 But they don’t,

Linda Rising 00:15:04 They don’t sell like that anymore. No. So I took that book back to my company and I began to introduce the idea of patterns. And at that point I became interested in yes, the patterns themselves, but the bigger questions of how do you get people to look at your new idea? How do you convince people to use a new technology or follow a new process? Because that’s what I was trying to do. How do you convince people that this is a good thing. So I met Mary Lynn Manns at a conference about that time and she was trying to do the same thing. And between the two of us, we realized that there must be patterns for introducing patterns.

Linda Rising 00:16:06 And that was the start. How do you introduce patterns and how do you document those successful strategies for introducing patterns? So we began writing a book. We began looking at well, how have people introduced new ideas in the past, talking to other people who were trying to do the same thing, collecting stories. We were really trying to write patterns based on the experience of other people who had done the same thing. Now we started in, in 1998, the book was not published until 2005. It takes a long time to write patterns, you know? Yeah, yeah. You know that.

Markus Völter 00:16:53 So the patterns are about, as you said, introducing stuff into, into organizations, new stuff, and there is a little bit more specific context, right? It’s not like I’m the boss and I tell you to use this stuff.

Linda Rising 00:17:04 Yeah. You know, I just read an article in Harvard business review, which I never was interested in before. And I talked about a high level executive of a very large American company. And he was asking the question, how do I introduce new ideas? And what he found out was, there’s a very simple answer. For some people you say you were going to do this, or I will fire you. That works. So he said, I’m very successful in introducing new things. I just say what we’re going to do and people have don’t line up. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the ability to do that. And there is an interesting thing that occurs if that high level executive ever leaves.

Markus Völter 00:17:56 Yeah. So Patrick, to become the boss,

Linda Rising 00:17:59 Which is that once that high level executive leaves, people go back to do the same thing they have always done. So he got something that I will call compliance. He didn’t get commitment. He didn’t get the hearts of the people in his organization involved in the new idea. In other words, he hadn’t convinced anybody to do anything. And they were only lining up as long as they had to. So we realized clearly that that wasn’t what we wanted. Not only did we not have the power, we wanted real commitment. So we became interested in how is it that you help open people’s minds to your ideas? That’s what we want it. How is it that you get them to see that you’re sincere and that you care about this new idea. In fact, that turned out to be a pattern. If you’re not sincere, and if you don’t care, you’re not going to be convincing. And people will not open up to you so long after the book was published. A lot of people who are experts in psychology said, you know, these are interesting patterns. The reason why they work is they’re sitting on a body of knowledge that comes from experiments that have been done in social psychology. I didn’t even know there was a field called social psychology. It’s the study of the psychology of groups. How do you move groups in a given direction? So now that’s my passion, social psychology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary biology, all those ologies

Markus Völter 00:19:54 So that the target, well, you can read it. So still have to ask the question, right? So the target audience for the, all the patterns is what you call the powerless leader.

Linda Rising 00:20:04 Yes, we, we stole that. I, in fact, almost all of the ideas in there are borrowed or stolen from other people. And in fact, that would be my first piece of advice for all of you steal from the best. I think most ideas need to be stolen and reinvented and re said, and adapted to your own environment. So you shouldn’t feel bad about that. So we stole that from norm Kerth, he’s the one who created the Terman terminology, powerless leader, that someone who isn’t anointed, who doesn’t have a high level position in an organization can still be a leader. So that’s our target user. As we were writing the patterns we saw, we want the person who picks these up and uses them to be someone in an organization who is just like us, an ordinary developer, someone who has a great idea, someone who can’t even if he or she wanted to who can’t say, you must do this, or I’m going to fire you. So at someone without any power. And we got an interesting comment from someone who does have power and a pretty large organization. In fact, she was a vice president and she said, Linda, I think you can safely say that we are all powerless at any level.

Linda Rising 00:21:33 So I stole that too.

Markus Völter 00:21:34 Okay. So then I guess the first thing that you need, except for thing on that slide is to be really passionate about what you want.

Linda Rising 00:21:44 Exactly. That’s the first pattern right now. There isn’t any set path through the language. You can use the patterns in almost any order, but the very first one must be evangelist. Now we argued a lot about that name because my friend, Mary Lynn lives in the South and she said, Linda, when I hear the word evangelist, I think of things that I’d rather not think about. But on the other hand, it is a corporate term. In fact, we stole that from Lucent. I was working in a subsidiary of loosen at the time. So the idea of a corporate evangelist is an acceptable term, but we did go back and forth on that one. And we finally settled on it. It does have a religious flavor. And as it turns out, there is a connection because it has to do with faith. It has to do with faith in the idea. And it also has to do with faith in yourself, because if you’re going to be convincing to others, if you want to introduce your idea into your organization, and I guess our target here, the title of this session is about agile practices. You can’t do that unless you honestly believe that agile development, whether you’re a fan of scrum or XP, you have to believe that it’s a better way. And you have to believe that you have the ability to help your organization by introducing that. So there is a religious component.

Linda Rising 00:23:30 The first person you have to convince is yourself. Now there are lots of people in here that I recognize who were in the tutorial on Whoa, Monday, uh, where we actually went through a lot of these patterns. And at the end of that tutorial, what I’ve started doing now, that’s very strange is helping people understand that these patterns are not just good for organizational change. They are also good for personal change. So that if you have a goal for yourself, we all make new year’s resolutions. Is that something you do in, in this country make new year’s resolutions? Yeah. I’m going to run a marathon or never happened. Never happens. No, it never happens. I’m going to lose 50 pounds. I’m going to stop eating Apple strudel with vanilla sauce. You’re the one who did that. You’re the one who told me, yes, you have to have the, Oh, it was wonderful. There are so many things we want to do. We have big goals and we make new year’s resolutions. And it turns out research tells us that those goals last two months on average, and then we give up.

Linda Rising 00:24:51 So the story I tell is about people who have had a serious heart attack or heart illness or heart surgery. And they go in to see their doctors. And the doctor says, you have a choice. You can either change your life. And that means, watch your diet, start exercising, reduce the stress in your life, stop smoking, or you can die. Now that’s a serious decision. So here’s the question. What percentage of the people who are given that ultimatum are able to successfully change themselves, change their own lives? What percentage have a number? 70% can change. You say 1599, zero 10. Where you in the class? The answer is 10%.

Markus Völter 00:26:10 Okay.

Linda Rising 00:26:12 Now I don’t know what goes through the conscious minds of the other 90%. Well, no, I think I’ll die.

Markus Völter 00:26:22 Surely not

Linda Rising 00:26:24 Surely it must be something else. Surely it must be. I don’t believe I can because that percentage was so small that researchers began investigating and it turns out there’s an inability to apply this very first pattern in changing their own lives. They don’t truly deeply, sincerely believes they can change.

Markus Völter 00:26:51 It’s also a good segue into the next question, because it’s clearly rationally. You know, you have to change. If you try to convince people, it should be enough to tell them, you know, that’s the way that obviously this is the right thing to do, but still it’s not enough to change people. So, so what’s missing.

Linda Rising 00:27:08 No, I think that we all make this mistake. And in fact, as my husband says, when you’re reading through this slide or similar ones, I’m trying to convince myself because I still believe this I’m reading it. Now we’re smart. We make logical decisions. The people we work with are also smart. They make logical decisions. All I need to do is create a rational argument, maybe a set of PowerPoint, bullets, or a conversation where I outline clearly. Step-by-step why just like the doctor is doing for his patient. Clearly you have to do these things or else that’s the rational argument, isn’t it. And we have an incredible amount of faith in that as an influence strategy. So just after I’ve said all of that, how many of you are believers in rational argument as an influence strategy? Good for you. Oh, okay. Okay. So what did you see that pattern? Once he had his hand up, other people said, all it takes is one person, and then we can all line up. So we do believe that now there are some people who are looking for information. There are some people who want information and you should be prepared to present that information, but it is not an influence strategy. It does not influence people to change. And the clearest evidence of that is the doctor cut clear logical, rational reasons. Why? Well here’s, how many of you are smokers?

Linda Rising 00:29:14 Oh, come on. I know there are more because I’ve been sitting on that second floor gathering over there. Yeah. You know, rationally, this is not a good thing for you. You know, rationally, logically, you’re cutting your own life short. You are saying, I guess I’ll die. I would rather die. So it doesn’t work as an influence strategy.

Markus Völter 00:29:44 Something I read or heard, probably heard in some kind of podcast somewhere is that when you try to convince somebody of something, you shouldn’t explain the rational stuff, but always try to make it or explain it the way that it explains why it is a benefit to them. So you have to have a target audience and then say for you, this means this for you. This means that

Linda Rising 00:30:07 Well, that, of course that’s an important part of it, I think. But the other part is realizing that people accept new ideas, including, I mean, there were 10% who were able to change, right? So there are a small number of people who are open to certain kinds of things. And what we want to realize is that in your organization, you’re going to run into different kinds of people. So if you come in with the idea of doing scrum or XP, whatever your favorite agile process is, there are some people who only need you to say, Hey, I went to . I went to a session by who’s doing a session here on agile development. I heard somebody famous talking about this new, cool thing. And I’m thinking maybe this would be good for our organization. And those people only need that. And they say, sign me up. So those are the innovators. They love new ideas. Think about your organization. Think about the people you could just walk up to and say, Hey, I went to Oop and here’s a book or some kind of article or here’s what a famous person said. And this is the latest, the newest, the coolest to hottest thing. And that’s it. They’re ready. They’ll pair program. They’ll start doing, timebox do iterations. They’ll do daily stand ups. It doesn’t matter what it is. They’ll do it.

Linda Rising 00:31:43 So it doesn’t take a PowerPoint slide for them. Those are the low hanging fruit, but they’ll talk about it to all their friends. So don’t avoid those. Don’t just say, Oh, well, I don’t have to do anything for the innovators. They come for free. Use them, let them help you. Cause they’ll talk it up with all their friends. So those are the innovators. But see how small the percentages in an average population, only two and a half percent. That’s an ordinary. Typical. I’ve never seen an ordinary typical organization now that I think about it. So this is a standard curve. So not very many. Certainly you could probably find organizations where you’d have 50% of the people who are innovators. So the next large group is early adopters now would like to see the PowerPoint slide. Sounds interesting. Tell me more. Oh, maybe that could help us. I’d like to ask some questions. Do you have an article? I could read. Oh, you say you bought a new book. I’d like to take a look at that. So they do want information. They are open to new ideas, but they would like to see more.

Linda Rising 00:33:08 The next large category is early majority. And if you’ll notice what convinces them is, what other people think

Markus Völter 00:33:19 And it’s people in their own like local

Linda Rising 00:33:22 People they know, or my friends, my neighbors colleagues. Yes. So it’s going to take a few, either pilot projects or tests. Do you want to see what other people in their organization think of it to see whether it really applies to them and then, Oh, okay. I hear the project X over there. Project Y over here, they’re doing agile. It seems to work for them. They’re open to new ideas. It just takes something different to convince them, which is evidence close to home. People just like me that I can identify with. So they’re not going to be the first ones on the block to buy a new gadget. They wait until their neighbors have it, or their friends are using it. That’s actually a significant part of an, of a normal population. It’s over a third are like that. And then the late majority, see what the comment is there. I’ll do it if I have to. So only when your organization is already doing agile. And now there is somebody who has a certain level of authority who said, this is really working for us. We’re all going to do scrum. Okay. I’ll do it if I have to, I guess.

Markus Völter 00:34:50 Okay.

Linda Rising 00:34:55 And then there are the laggards it’s always been done this way. Why do we have to do something new now, man, take a poll again. How many managers say how they’re just kind of

Markus Völter 00:35:16 Can I add

Linda Rising 00:35:19 Managers always ask at this point, how can I identify those people? So, and that’s very important actually, because I remember the first time that question came up and I thought I did not do a good job because these are not people. These are roles. People play these roles at different times. So they are more or less open to a new idea depending upon the idea. So someone might be an innovator for technical idea, but would never eat soup.

Markus Völter 00:35:56 I know somebody,

Linda Rising 00:35:57 You know, somebody like that, nobody is an innovator all the time. And we also don’t want to say that there’s a goodness scale. Good at the top bad at the bottom. So one of the projects I worked on in my unfortunately very long career was the triple seven airplane. And Boeing said the triple seven is all going to be done in ADA. So that was actually my job. I was the ADA guru. I was trying to help people transition to a new programming language and a new way of design. Now all the airplanes up till that time had been written in a funny version of Pascal. Think about that. The next time you get on a seven 47

Markus Völter 00:36:50 Or fly Airbus, they, you see,

Linda Rising 00:36:54 So who were those people I had to work with on that project? They all said exactly the same thing. It’s always been done this way. And successfully the seven 47 is a successful plane. Nobody would argue with that. It’s still in service. It’s always been done this way. Why do we have to switch? And they had a valid point and they were all good people. And they were all very smart people. And certainly triple seven could not have been done without them. I could not have done anything on triple seven, no matter how much ADA, I knew because I’m not a domain expert. I know a little more than I did, but I’m not an avionics expert. So here were all of these individuals with enormous amounts of experience and knowledge, very valuable. You would not want to label them as laggards and say, all right, you guys are outta here.

Markus Völter 00:37:55 So we have to be careful.

Linda Rising 00:37:57 It was a point of a keynote a couple of days ago. I said, you have to be careful about labeling people.

Markus Völter 00:38:06 So you’re, you’re, you’re powerless. You’re passionate. Yeah. What do you do now? You have to be agile. Oh, okay.

Linda Rising 00:38:15 You have to be agile. And that means that, uh, and this came much later actually realizing that, uh, I’m not only passionate about patterns. I’m passionate about agile. So when I’ve talked to several people here, so I’m seeing if any of those people are in the room, I’m not only a believer in agile for software development. I believe in agile as a way of introducing agile. In fact, I believe that you should be agile about the way you live your own life. So I’ve been giving a series of talks on personal agility and a lot of it hangs on this. What’s called a learning cycle. People are coming to this conference and other conferences and they’re interested in agile development and they’re asking the same question. How can I make it happen? How can I roll out the old and roll in the new as though it were a binary decision, a switch? Yes, we do agile. Now when really it’s a process of learning just like life is a process of learning. Just like agile has turned software development into a process of learning. It’s made up of little, tiny steps, little short iterations. And in each iteration, it is about learning. That is the primary goal. You and the customer are learning together. And at the end of every step you stop and you ask the question, what did we learn so far?

Linda Rising 00:40:04 And on the basis of that, you take the next step. That’s how you develop software. That’s how you introduce agile. Step-by-step go back home on Monday morning and try something, some small thing. And when you do it, say we’re only going to do this for two weeks, four weeks a month, whatever it is, time box at justice, agile development is time, box, time, box, that experiment. And at the end, we’re saying, we’re going to look at this in four weeks and we’re going to ask a question. What did we learn? Will this work for us? What seems to work especially well that we should continue doing what might not work so well that we might need to tweak or adjust. What should we do? Next? Sounds like a retrospective. It does sound like a retrospective.

Linda Rising 00:41:04 So that’s part of the pattern language that turned out to be critical piece that says, that’s how you should introduce everything gradually. Step-by-step I’m not a believer in wholesale change. And people often point out there’s a book by Malcolm Gladwell. I don’t know whether you’ve read. It’s called the tipping point. Oh yeah. It makes it sound like things. Get to a point and then wow. Which I think is true, but how did that tipping point appear just suddenly out of nowhere? No, it was approached by a meandering path, a very small what’s the topic here, stepping stones, very small stepping stone. And at some point, one of those stepping stones led to an enormous upheaval and all of a sudden, the organization said yes or everyone started buying hush puppies as Malcolm Gladwell’s examples. So yeah, that, that’s a possibility step by step. And then all of a sudden, yeah, you’re good. You’re ready to run that marathon, but that can’t be your goal because you don’t know when that’s going to happen. You have to continually learn.

Markus Völter 00:42:27 So I guess it’s also a little bit about timing that you can kind of sense, uh, when the time is right for an idea.

Linda Rising 00:42:33 Absolutely. It’s almost as though, you know, what’s coming you, how do you do that? Sometimes it’s just not right. I don’t know about you, but the United States is struggling right now. Even though we have a new president, thank you, God, we’re struggling. It’s hard now for a lot of organizations to think about any kind of change we might have to wait until the time is right. There are so many good ideas that failed just because they appeared at a moment that was inopportune. That’s true for all of history, whatever flavor, medical history, the history of science, a wonderful idea appeared, but it was not quite ready. Sometimes it takes decades, hundreds of years before that idea can actually have impact. So I have to have a sense of your own organization, your own team, your own life. The timing has to be just right. So don’t give up. If you do go back and you’re enthusiastic, you have passion and you’re going to take a few small steps and it leads. Nowhere might just be as simple as well. Let’s wait, six months. Maybe the world will be a better place in six months. I hope.

Markus Völter 00:44:17 Yeah, that would count.

Linda Rising 00:44:20 Yeah.

Markus Völter 00:44:22 Give us some very concrete hands on the nation. Strike back. Sorry. Slow joke here. Or we tried to remove them before the session. Yeah. So concrete steps. What can I do to make it easier for me?

Linda Rising 00:44:38 So there are, I’ll give you some concrete examples of patterns from the pattern language. Some things that you can try when you go back on Monday morning, you want to take a little small step. What could that small step be? So here’s my favorite. It’s called Brown bag. And w we all have our favorite names for these. So it’s culturally dependent. What would you call that in Germany? Well, bag Brown bag is you don’t have him

Markus Völter 00:45:01 That we use the term also. Oh yeah. I don’t think we have a, do we have a German? You say?

Linda Rising 00:45:14 And, and who is it? Somebody does a scrum breakfast. Yeah. That’s kind of that kind of thing that somebody brings. We have, you have food, you all eat together and you talk about your idea and you invite anyone who wants to show up. You say, well, we’re going to have this, whatever it is, this breakfast or this lunch, or, and, and people will show up with their food. The Brown bag comes from the U S habit of people used to bring their sandwich in a little paper bag as a gold dam. And they would own, they would eat lunch together. So you talk about, um, scrum or what you know, or what a great time you had it. Oh, Oh, P or whatever it is. Now, the reason why that works is interesting. It started out as a pattern because we were all using it. And then the cognitive scientists got into the act and they said, here’s, what’s going on. Why that pattern works is that we have evolved over tens of thousands of years to trust people when we are sharing food. Think about what it must’ve been like on the Savannah and Africa. I know you can’t remember back that far and neither can I,

Linda Rising 00:46:43 The only people who shared food with us were the people we knew very well. Our closest associates, our family, our friends.

Markus Völter 00:46:54 So it builds trust. Right? Is that the idea?

Linda Rising 00:46:57 Yeah. The idea is that you trust those people, the trust and the food are linked in our minds. So the experiment I like to tell about is the political one where they’re trying to convince people to vote on a particular issue. So they took two groups of people. One group got food, the other one didn’t. Who voted for the issue, The one with the food. Yes. And then the next thing I say is it has nothing to do with the quality of the,

Markus Völter 00:47:35 Well, I fuck with the quality of the food, the quality of the food.
Linda Rising 00:47:41 So if people are eating food that you brought or you’re sharing, and it’s not, what was that Apple stuff with the vanilla? It’s not that it’s some, some other artificial. I don’t know. He didn’t,

Markus Völter 00:47:55 I don’t eat meat. Yeah. Good. Okay.

Linda Rising 00:47:57 The food affects the quality of the decision. Quality of the food is related, not the idea itself. So for a lot of people that have startling. And then the question I ask is, do you think it’s possible for people who know all these patterns and all the influence strategies to use them so effectively that they could convince people of ideas that are inherently bad. You want to think about that? Can a master, a master influencer sway an entire country so that people do bad things. Absolutely. And it’s happened over and over again. So don’t get carried away with your idea and believe that somehow the idea is enough. You have to have the patterns, the tools to help you kind of discouraging in a way, is it

Markus Völter 00:49:27 Well, but again, it doesn’t, you know, it’s not a bad thing if you actually have a good idea, so I can tell you

Linda Rising 00:49:32 It’s a good idea. Then you, you definitely need the tools. So Brown bag means you can have people bring their own food. Do food means, well, if you bought some apples, strudel or chocolate chip cookies or whatever, then you’re sharing food together. That’s the important part is we want to eat together and have people eat while they’re listening to you,

Markus Völter 00:50:01 Which also prevents them from talking so,

Linda Rising 00:50:04 Or arguing back, it puts them in a good mood and don’t be afraid, just go back and try something, just do it. So just pick some piece of that. I’m not a believer in wholesale change and I am a scrum fan. So when I talk to people, I say, just go back and start having a daily standup and say, this is a scrum practice. And there are three questions that people address takes 15 minutes for the meeting. Just try that, just do it, see how it works for you. And remember when you set it up, you’re going to say, well, let’s just try it, say this to your team. We’re going to do it for time, box it, and then say what you’re going to look for at the end. So we’re going to try this for a couple of weeks, and then we’re going to say, well, how did that work for us?

Linda Rising 00:50:59 What did you notice? What changes happened in the team? Because we were doing that. Just do it. You don’t need to be afraid. I can’t remember. What’s coming out here. I’m a fan of study groups. What do you call that here? Study group. Oh yeah. So I’m a fan of study groups for anything that you’re learning about and your new idea is probably something that you need to learn more about, or that others, the early adopters need to know about. So it basically involves getting no more than eight people together. Once a week to just go through a book or read a paper together, to get more information. It’s good for early adopters questions,

Markus Völter 00:51:43 Trying to make people ask questions for this. You know, anybody who wants to ask a question, we have 15 minutes left. If you don’t ask questions, we do have material. If you want her to continue talking, you just don’t ask questions. But, um, so I, if you, the chance for another five seconds to actually raise your hand and ask a question or let make me come to you to give you the mic. Aye. I’m the later on I could you give a five, five second compressed version of the session? I hope it was a joke, but the good thing is we were recording that. So you can actually,

Linda Rising 00:52:31 So you can get the podcast, you can download the whole thing, but I’m excellent.

Markus Völter 00:52:38 Any other questions? Okay. Then, then the, I think we have to just continue or at this time

Linda Rising 00:52:46 At any time, raise your hand and we’ll be happy to have you ask a question.

Markus Völter 00:52:50 Yes. That was the original idea to have audience participation. But yeah, I think you’re too convincing. So

Linda Rising 00:52:58 Score scary. Yeah.

Markus Völter 00:53:01 Okay. So I have to fake a question, right? Which is what can go wrong? What can go wrong? Is there any dangerous in doing that?

Linda Rising 00:53:07 There are dangerous and I have personal touch here, but I’m going to see if, if the, the real danger is in here somewhere, but maybe not. Um, so I’m going to ask, I’m going to say what I think the real danger is, regardless of what’s here. The good thing is most people don’t see them. That’s right? Yes. So here’s the real danger. Okay. So after the book came out, I saw a fellow at a conference and he came up to me and he said, Oh, Linda, I bought, bought your book. I said, Oh, thank you. He said, I read all those patterns. I said, wow, that’s good. And he said, they don’t work

Speaker 3 00:53:44 By themselves.

Linda Rising 00:53:46 Oh, I’m always happy to get feedback. I said, well, tell me your story, what happened? So here’s the danger part. So he started talking about using the patterns. And as he was talking, I had a vision. I had a dream. I saw a man coming into an organization, riding a white horse. And he was looking down at the people in the organizations saying all you people, you ignorant people. Listen to me. I have the answer. I know the one true way. I will lead you out of your misery, into the promised land. I heard music.

Linda Rising 00:54:46 Who dream the impossible dream. I don’t know why he wasn’t successful. It was all about him. Yeah. So the pattern, maybe it’s in the next slide. I don’t know. It’s called ask for help. It’s called ask for help. Most people who go in to an organization are just a little arrogant. I know this answer. I see all of these problems. I have the solution and they can so easily be carried away with the fact that they have a little secret or a little knowledge or little information. And they’re so convinced because they are passionate. They do believe. And so they cross the line from evangelist to fanatic and that is not convincing. And it turns people off. So you must constantly, you must always be on the lookout for that. And the only solution to that problem is to bring others in. So it’s not about you.

Linda Rising 00:56:12 So the pattern is called, ask for help. Your job in spreading. The word is not. I will tell you is I need to help me. You need the help of everyone in the organization somehow. And that is the most convincing thing that you can do is let them have a little piece of it. Let them own the idea, let them feel, ah, I see how this can work for me. Let them be the one to talk at the next Brown bag or be the one to introduce it in the next organization or experimented with it on their team. Let them give the talk, let them share the recognition. If this is a project that becomes you carrying the word, it’ll just be like the guy at the conference. And those patterns don’t work.

Linda Rising 00:57:19 Get off your white horse. So before you even get on while you’re still thinking about it, and remember the anecdote, just ask for help. It’s also a convincing thing. It’s an influence strategy. If you ask for help from people and they do something for you, there’s something that goes on in their brain that says, Oh, I’m doing this. I must like scrum or whatever it is. Oh, we’re doing the daily standups. We must like the daily standups. So it’s also a very convincing influence strategy to just say, Hey, would you like to, and then involve them somehow.

Markus Völter 00:58:02 And then also say, thanks if you actually get the help. Right?

Linda Rising 00:58:05 Absolutely. Yes. So this is a, a very important pattern that goes along with ask for help. Whenever you ask somebody for help, you should always say, thank you. And it seems trivial. Doesn’t it?

Markus Völter 00:58:19 You talked about this yesterday evening in the bar. It’s not just thanks, but it’s a very specific thing.

Linda Rising 00:58:25 It has to be specific. It has to be thank you for doing something on Saturday because I couldn’t do it. And it’s not just thanks. And, but here’s the really important message about just say, thanks, which is something we finally left in because so many people said, we’ve forgotten this. Nobody says thank you anymore. They either assume that well, it’s part of your job. It’s expected. So even when you do more than you should, or you come in over the weekend or you give up something personally for your job, say, I don’t mind doing that. It is part of my job. No one has said thanks.

Linda Rising 00:59:14 So here’s the interesting thing about the pattern that we learned long after it was published. There’s gratitude research. Can you imagine that being a research topic, gratitude shows that people who do this, who are pattern users who go around saying, thanks, Marcus, this is a lot of fun. Thank you for inviting me for this interview, who do that all the time. It’s just part of the way they are. They are grateful people. Those people live longer. Sign me up. They have fewer colds or colds and flu. They’re more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals. So let me just take this opportunity to thank all of you.

Linda Rising 01:00:14 I don’t know that there’s been any research there, but I’m not taking any chances,

Markus Völter 01:00:19 Right?

Linda Rising 01:00:21 So you might try using that pattern anyway. Just appreciate. I’ll tell you, what’s interesting is I started using this on my husband. Talk about a surprised individual. I said, Hey, thanks for doing that. Would we say thank you to our spouse, to our children or parents, our parents, just a suggestion.

Markus Völter 01:01:00 So it’s probably going to happen that you still will run into resistance people won’t, you know, bone follow you. So what do I do with skeptics?

Linda Rising 01:01:12 So our natural inclination, no, this is the most important. Our natural inclination is to run away or, or to avoid those people after all, they must be ignorant. They’re not paying any attention. Yeah. Those people are stupid. They’re not listening to me. They don’t get it. So the fearless pattern is less for the name of the book comes from fearless change. And it’s talking about that tendency that we have to avoid criticism. It’s a natural thing we don’t want to hear. Especially if we’re passionate and enthusiastic, we don’t want to hear the downsides. We don’t wanna hear those negative consequences. And unfortunately that is valuable information, especially I would say for someone who’s new to agile and you’re excited about it. There’s something about the way your brain works, that you will fail to see a lot of the negative consequences. A lot of the places where there isn’t a good match, or it might be totally inappropriate where it might not work for you. It’s much better. If you can have someone who might even be well-intentioned point out some of those things to you before you get hip deep in something that isn’t going to work. I would listen. If I had someone who was willing to spend time with me pointing out some of those difficulties, I’m not saying this an easy thing to do.

Markus Völter 01:02:56 I guess if it’s, if it’s like rational criticism, it’s easier than if you have the guys to trust it or crap. I don’t care. I mean, you’re talking about those skeptics, not about the like politically motivated. I don’t care.

Linda Rising 01:03:08 You know, that’s an interesting thing because most of the time, regardless of what the person is saying, that’s what we hear. That’s crap. I don’t care about what you have to say when really what they’re saying is, you know, we tried doing something like that and they’re, they’re sincere. They really did. We did try this and it didn’t work because, and that you don’t even hear that. Yeah. You have filtered that out and all you’re hearing is this guy’s an idiot. And all he’s telling me is agile is crap. Yeah. That’s really all you hear. That’s all you registered. So it takes a certain amount of work on your part to get past that, to say, what is he saying to really listen to what he’s saying? Because our tendency is not only to avoid people like that, but filter it so that we even distort the words. If someone were to come up to us and say, well, what did he just tell you often? We’re totally unable to do that. We don’t really hear the words that person is saying. Yo, I have a question that’s out there. Maybe he’s going to say something about fear less. I don’t know.

Linda Rising 01:04:28 Okay.

Markus Völter 01:04:29 Um, I remember professor Duke, uh, in his speech when he talked about the point of, uh, how, how do I motivate as a techie? How do I motivate managers to do what I want and what I need? And he talked about people who repeatedly say, no, this is not possible in this company. This company doesn’t work that way. How do I convince? Or how do I get those people? And he recommended to say, Hey, listen, I know that this is illegal, what I’m going to do. But you’re the person who knows perfectly about all the rules in this company. And I admire you for that. And please help me to make it legal. Yeah. So this is, I thought this is genius.

Linda Rising 01:05:12 That’s a, that’s a good way to involve the skeptic. This is a good way of asking for help from the skeptic. And many times, if you really do a good job of listening and you do pick out something that they have as to make us a contribution and involve them in that way, remember in the class, we said, well, if you’ve done everything you can and you still can’t find some way to involve them. You can just make them the champions skeptic and say, all right, do you just tell me all the things that are wrong and that’s good information in and of itself, but yes, that’s, that’s excellent. And the heart of that, or the pattern in that is you want to involve them somehow bring them in. And in fact, I can remember hearing in a lot of tutorials that that’s a common argument that this won’t work here because it’s illegal. Or we did it before, or that’s all valuable information, do everything you can to extract that and use it just like a lawyer does in preparing his case. You want to hear all of that.

Markus Völter 01:06:14 So we have minus two minutes left, so we should get towards the end. So is there anything, well, how do we wrap this up?

Linda Rising 01:06:22 I don’t know. I can’t remember what the,

Markus Völter 01:06:27 Okay. That’s the summary.

Linda Rising 01:06:30 Okay. So there’s a book about all this, and of course, I’d be happy if you buy, if you buy the book. But if you remember the first slide and you do have these slides, right, you can go to my website and I’ve written so many articles about it that you can pick out the essence of the book by just downloading a bunch of those articles and reading them. And the other thing that’s on that first slide is my email address. And if you didn’t get to ask a question today, or for listeners, you, weren’t here to ask a question. I love to talk about patterns and change and agile development. So please feel free. I’m sincere. Send me some email. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for being here today. Thanks.

Markus Völter 01:07:11 Thanks for listening to software engineering. Radio software engineering radio is an educational program brought to you by hillside Europe. If you want more information about the podcast and all the other episodes, visit our website@se-radio.net. If you want to support us, you can donate to the se radio team by other website, or you can advertise for se radio, for example, by clicking on the dig Reddit delicious links and this left dot button to contact the team. Please send email to a team@se-radio.net. Or if it is specific to an episode, please use the comments facility on the website. So other people can react to your comments.

[End of Audio]

This transcript was automatically generated. To suggest improvements in the text, please contact content@computer.org.

 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Tags: , ,