Lessons of Failure
Humans + Software Development = Always Interesting

Nov/09

16

Habit 2: Confuse Motion With Action

We explore the difference between work and heat in today’s habit.

Seven Habits of Highly Dysfunctional Enterprise Developers:

  1. Blame Everyone But Yourself
  2. Confuse Motion With Action
  3. Use Complexity To Demonstrate Intelligence
  4. Keep Important Information Secret And Safe
  5. Fix It Later
  6. Reuse Is Overrated
  7. Principles Are More Important Than Results

Confuse Motion With Action

Lots of people misunderstand the difference between motion and action.  Or in physics terms, the difference between work (energy put into a system that increases the potential of an object) vs. heat (energy expended but with no future value, like friction).   Steve Blank recently made a memorable post on it:

sisyphus

Sisyphus Enjoyed His Daily Routine...right?

Steve: Jim, how are we doing with getting Ansys ported?
Jim: Great, I have a bunch of calls into them.
Steve: How are we doing on the Nastran port?
Jim: Wonderful, they said they’ll get back to me next month.
Steve: How about Dyna 3D?
Jim: It’s going great, we’re on their list

Putting in the effort to look busy is not the same as making real progress towards a goal. I’ve sat in countless meetings listening to this sort of status reporting (at all levels, not just for developers either) and I’m sure you have too.  Oh, wait…you’ve given a status report like that?  Yeah, me too.  Next time you’re tempted to do that, look at the problem differently:

  • What goal do I need to accomplish?
  • What is in my way of doing that?
  • How can I get rid of those obstacles?
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/seven-habits-highly-dysfunctional-enterprise-developers”>Blame Everyone But Yourself</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-2-confuse-motion-with-action”>Confuse Motion With Action</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-3-complexity-demonstrates-intelligence”>Use Complexity To Demonstrate Intelligence</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-4-never-share-information”>Keep Important Information Secret And Safe</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-5-fix-it-later”>Fix It Later</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-6-reuse-wimps”>Reuse Is Overrated</a></li>
<li><a href=”http://www.lessonsoffailure.com/software/habit-7-principles-important-results”>Principles Are More Important Than Results</a></li>
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