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[Book] "Slack", Where Learning Happens

I saw this post yesterday on the XP mailing list and I just had to quote it. It quotes from the book Slack by Tom DeMarco (author of “PeopleWare” and “The Mythical Man Month“, two of my all time favorite books) and it reads brilliantly. I think I'll have to buy this book now. This quotes an answer to a thread that talks about how even in successful XP projects, people who have actually been involved in the project will choose to simply disbelieve that XP was responsible for the success of the project:
>Yes, these things definitely happen.  If early projects are successful,
>people often look for any reason other than XP that this could have
>happened.  In addition, people will choose to simply disbelieve that it
>is true no matter how provable it is.  In essence, people are willing to
>call you a liar in order to maintain their fantasy that XP couldn't have
>made any difference. 
There's a quote from DeMarco's _Slack_ that I found interesting and may
apply here:
"I know from my early years of teaching development methods that when
people learn something that really matters to them, they go through a
moment of panic.  As soon as it's apparent that this new approach is
superior to what they have been doing for years, there is an unspoken
"Oh shit" that ripples through the room.  Their faces turn white.  You
can practically hear the flip-flops in their stomachs.
"At such a moment, it helps the learner to be able to glance over at
someone else whose face is also white, who's also got a little
perspiration showing on the upper lip.  The presence of the co-learner,
the patient urging of the facilitator, and a lot of easy, unthreatening
reinforcing material are necessary to help get people past this
professional's learning block.  Without all these elements in place,
many or all of the potential learners will dismiss the troubling new
idea as 'preposterous.'"
from chapter 26, "Where Learning Happens," of _Slack_, by Tom DeMarco.

Jim Shore

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