Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 3: Process Patterns

Collaborator Pattern

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The Collaborator refers to the team’s neuron cells. These are principal meme receptors and propagators. The Collaborators love white boards and heated constructive arguments. Winning or losing is not the crux of the matter. The improved understanding that results from the battle is the prize.

In order to increase the velocity of this meme the Director must ensure there are ample war rooms available for impromptu engagements and that team members feel “safe” to explore ideas without fear of retaliation or humiliation. Team members that are hopelessly infected should be encouraged to engage in the fray as often as possible. Those not infected need to be seduced onto the battlefield.

One of the side benefits of this pattern is the identification of Bad Actors—you bet your ass! Bad Actors easily tire of war room battles and they tend not to participate regularly. Why is that? Well, it has mostly to do with the fact that arguments against a position are only considered valid if a better alternative is proffered. If a better alternative is not offered up for dissection then the contestant is called on the carpet for whining. A contestant that consistently whines is almost always a Bad Actor.

Although there is certainly a role for Super Stars it is the contribution of every team member that collectively defines success. Individual stars must be rewarded relative to the team’s success and relative to their contributions as Collaborators. However, that said, do not hesitate to adequately reward a Super Star.

Collaborators run the project’s central nervous system.

Organizing Principle Pattern

Organizing Principle refers to context and connectedness. Rarely in today’s software universe does a product, either for external release or internal consumption, stand-alone. One-off offerings are headed for a short shelf life and will quickly find themselves with a permanent residence in history’s dustbin.

The project team must keep in mind related stories that the current effort plugs into and / or otherwise has to play nice with. These stories can be standards, product suites, architectures, add-on offerings, protocols, etc. The Organizing Principle must be made as explicit as possible during the development of first order Key Abstractions and propagated continuously during the project’s lifetime.

The Organizing Principle is an important forward looking pattern that must be constantly re-visited in order to ensure a degree of seamless integration with surrounding stories.

One-off offerings are DOA before launch.

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