Scott Hanselman writes on his blog about Fear Driven Development that “… fear can have developers worried about making mistakes”.
In this time of collaborative working, the importance of training people skills and transforming I into WE, it is refreshing to look back on what we actually come from and how hard kicking the fear habit is and sometimes unavoidable.
At Inspiring Conference in the beginning of this year I held a small opening talk about the importance of people skills and how that is a skill that needs to be trained, just as you need to train your muscles to become strong and flexible.
The most important part of my opening speech was how individuals in a community choose to lead. If taking leadership meets resistance, maybe because of the nature of the community or organisation, you can lead change by taking small steps. It is not about managing by fear, but it takes courage to be yourself.
Sebastian Bergmann, PHP consultant, talked about the Driven Developer at that same Inspiring Conference. Although the talk was technical by nature the word ‘human’ was brought up numerous times from human-readable code to developers as humans. When hearing about Behaviour Driven Development and the many forms of DD there actually are I dreamt of Values Driven Development as a DD form where we develop from perspectives of sharing and coding for the good of the world.
What Scott perfectly shows is that Fear Driven Development seems, at times, unavoidable because we might be stuck with an organisational structure that just does not allow for change.
Another thing that is prevalent in probably most software projects is fear of code.
Perhaps the code is older (legacy code) but more likely it’s just not fully understood. It mostly works, but folks are afraid that a small change to the code could cost unpredictable side-effects.
The best way to overcome these fears is to tackle organisational and code issues one step at a time, celebrating every small victory with your team and ‘leading by example’.
Leading by example means converting the criticism into encouragement of participating in your effort, because leading is nothing else then enabling others to shine in your community, organisation or process.
At the end of his article Scott asks for other flavors of Fear Driven Development. There are undoubtedly a lot of factors that fuel fear. The first thing that comes to my mind however is fear that prevents development.
Innovation, like leadership, takes courage, but also brings a lot of joy when you see progress. Letting go of fear and embracing what you already have (developed) provides a solid basis for innovation and thinking out-of-the-box.
10 ways to get innovating
- Read how others do it
- Take a course
- Read a book you would normally never read
- Ask a child
- Paint a picture
- Write something
- Get up at 5:20 in the morning
- Accept who you are
- Assume everything you know is wrong