Functional Teams


I read two extraordinarily good articles today, both completely different subjects but somehow they were synergistic for me :

Why do Martial Arts by Devon Boorman and Building Better Software by Building Better Teams by Ash Furrow.

Why the connection?

I do both of these things, I study martial arts and I develop software, in teams.

I study different martial arts from Devon, I study the eastern so-called internal arts. The training changes you from the inside. I would agree with everything he says but add that I continue because of the deep improvements to my mental hygene, to my character as perceived by other people, to my openness and sensitivity.

It may sound contradictory that as I become technically more dangerous, I become actually less threatening. I see this every day in the changes to the way strangers respond to me in the street.

This for me is the true benefit from what I am learning.

This is how it ties in with what Ash talks about.

Software is commonly developed by teams. Those teams are commonly very socially dysfunctional, being dominated by young white male geeks with few social graces, dominated by their egos and a disregard for anyone without technical skills.

This often leads to extremely toxic workplaces that as Ash clearly points out, produce very poor results.

These people and those that manage them don’t necessarily mean any harm, they just don’t know any better.

This problem is not restricted to software, I have friends who work in other fields like heath care or charities, that suffer appalling situations, bullying, corruption, abuse.

Ash’s article helped my see what I already felt but had not articulated.

If you work in any kind of team, I strongly recommend you read it yourself.