On most projects I’ve worked on, the project team is split into developers, testers, release managers and sysadmins working in separate silos. From a process perspective this is dreadfully wasteful. It can also lead to a ‘lob it over the wall’ philosophy - problems are passed between business analysts, developers, QA specialists and sysadmins. Furthermore, we see a replication of this silo structure within the teams - it’s not uncommon to see dedicated database and network people in the same system team, alongside sysadmins. Often the larger silos aren’t in the same office, the same city, or in sometimes not even in the same country. The result is an ‘us and them’ mentality - groups of people who are simultaneously suspicious of and afraid of each other.
Five “laws” of human-computer interaction:
From Signal V. Noise:-
But most importantly, stop using the perceived quality of your team as an excuse for why you can’t try or follow new ideas. That’s a self fulfilling prophesy that’ll never fail to disappoint. Humans are incredibly eager to live down to low expectations.
From moving innovation:-
On December 7, 1972, the rock-and-roll magazine Rolling Stone, not Popular Election-les, published an article about the scientists at Xerox PARC, complete with photographs by Annie Lcibovitx.
When the senior board members of Xerox saw their employees out west revealed to the world as wild hippies lying around labs that looked like college dorm rooms, they just about died of shock. Generations since then have grown up accustomed to the casual climate of the modern high-tech office. But for the corporate community of 1970, this permissiveness was all still quite unorthodox.
What the directors of PARC were trying to accomplish with this work environment was to get their people to loosen up their expectations and think outside of the box about just what a computer was capable of. They didn’t just want computers to be smart. They wanted computers to be fun. And the first thing to do was to have fun, knock the computers around, and try to make them do things they were not built to do.