Saturday, July 16, 2005 

"An organization consists of conversations"

The relationship between software engineers and business (management, marketing, etc) has never been idyllic - for many reasons I won't touch yet. Still, at some point, many talented software engineers are asked to outgrow their role and move into management, or in other business roles.
This is never an easy step. It's not just about new concepts and skills to master - software engineers are usually quick to grasp new ideas; it's about learning new values, being able to shift into a different mindset, and then back when is needed. It takes time (and some effort), and most people don't take that time. They assume they will succeed solely on the basis of technical excellence. Good luck :-).
Meanwhile, I see a minority of excellent software engineers growing a sincere interest (and appreciation) for management and organizational issues. They may appreciate this pamphlet: Notes on the Role of Leadership and Language in Regenerating Organizations. I've stumbled into it about one year ago, and found it extremely interesting. Here is my favorite paragraph:
Ultimately,
an organization consists of conversations:
who talks to whom, about what.
Each conversation
is recognized, selected, and amplified
(or ignored) by the system.
Decisions, actions, and a sense of valid purpose
grow out of these conversations.

Now, what is the conversational nature of your company? :-)

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