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Peopleware and war games

I am reading the war games section in Peopleware. Is it me or you just find this war games exercise idiotic? who the heck in a company wants to volunteer to do such things over the weekend. I think the authors lost it here, what do you think

me_in_the_corner
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Which part do you object to?

As I recall, the wargames exercises were an annual event - not something that was being done every weekend.

Personally, I love that sort of thing - and so do lots of other folks who have a lot of enthusiasm and passion for what they do.

Mike Treit
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

C'mon.

We are not talking about individual interest. What I am asking is that this is an unrealistic expectation from any oraganization/teams to run something like this.

You and I may be passionate about our line of work but that doesn't mean that this exercise will add any value to the overall productivity of any given organization.

Fantasizing is nice though.

me_in_the_corner
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hello??  It's supposed to be *fun*??

I think you're taking it waaaay too seriously.  Although I've never done the wargames thing, I've played softball and flown a kite on a corporate retreat.

It was *fun*.  It made it just a little harder to hate the marketing people, especially the ones that couldn't beat out a bunt...

Grumpy Old-Timer
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Isn't the companies incentive to participate that they will find out how productive their team is?

Ben Richardson
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"Team building" is soooo 1990's.

Companies still do this? (We're laying 20% of you off but the rest get to play games.)

njkayaker
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

This is the difference between working because you have to work, and working because you absolutely love what you do.

I know most people don't fall into the second category, unfortunately, but there are lots who do.

Part of it comes from a feeling that the work you do is important - that you are helping people, changing the world, etc.

Picture a search and rescue worker instead of a coder. This is someone who will get out of bed at any hour, seven-days a week, to do their job. They'll train on weekends and participate in mock-disasters, etc. It's not about working a 9-5 shift and then going back to "real life" - the job IS part of their life, and they do it because they love it.

You might not believe that this sort of thing exists in the software world, but it actually does.

Mike Treit
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Building a good team is just a fantasy. I did an amazon search and there came gazillions of books on how to have a perfect team. None of them works, cause human beings are not meant to function well in teams.

o'my
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A minor correction:

Human may function well in certain teams in which the monetary motiviation is really appealing such as soccer players, NHL/NFL players etc. In essance, it's not that the "team jell" has been formed. The only reason that people put up with each other's crap is because they're making huge $$$.

So in real life where the hourly wage for software pros are that low, there can't be any meaningful "team jell"

o'my
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Participants in the coding war games did not "volunteer to do such things over the weekend".  According to Peopleware "Participants work in their own work areas during normal work hours...".  The intention was to evaluate the actual work environment, so the task was done done that way.

The objection that I might have to the coding war games is that they only evaluate the process of an individual developer designing and coding from specs.  This is a significant part of software development, but does leave out a lot that might go on in team efforts.  Nevertheless, from what I can tell from their descriptions, it is still a useful exercise.

mackinac
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"So in real life where the hourly wage for software pros are that low, there can't be any meaningful "team jell" "

I know a few thousand Marines that would disagree. Tens of thousands of firefighters, trauma teams, construction workers, etc, etc, etc...

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

O'my - what a sad, sad little man you are.

Mr Jack
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Humans function well in teams almost by design. Back in a time where the line between something living and something that we ate was less convoluted, we worked in teams to hunt and gather as a matter of course.

IMHO the problem now is that the line between what we do and what we eat is too convoluted for anyone to understand. In other words, sure we work for survival, but the actual things we do are so far removed from the things that are important to us, that we have no real incentive to work towards any particular goal.

Miss a software deadline or hit it... introduce a few bugs or carefully review your code - how does it really affect whether or not you eat / sleep / mate / etc. tonight?

In order to "build teams" then corporations are forced to move up the Maslow hierarchy of needs... acceptance by a group, self esteem.

On teams where everyone really cares about their work, their own craft as well as the final product (like the sports teams & emergency teams that were mentioned), "team building" is much easier.

Also, an important distinction that nobody here has made is that Marines engaging the enemy, a sports team trying to win a game, or a rescue team trying to save someone's is increadibly active. You're living the situation, and you can't put off any activities until later. You can't pitch a ball later, send in the tanks when you feel like it, or jump into a burning building tomorrow.

So, you might be able to conclude that paintballing, baseball, and kite flying, are attempts to remind us of what having an immediate goal that you can influence on a moment to moment basis is like.

I guess one could say that on a small scale, games like Monopoly, Risk, or networked Doom (does it have a cooperative mode?) could accomplish much the same thing, but in a less dramatic way. Yes I can see it now...

Lan Wars: Team Building 2004

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Let's be honest, if you have a job where you CAN "introduce a few bugs", you've pretty much already greatly affected your ability to mate tonight.

David
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Mr Jack

Whether you want to kid yourself or not, the sad little reality is that the only driving force for software developer to engage themselves in such a ludicrous exercise could be money. If you think otherwise, either you have been hybernating or you are the "joe millionaire" himself.

yoyomama
Thursday, November 13, 2003

And that has what exactly to do with O'my's comment? Yup, people work in jobs because they are paid. And?

Mr Jack
Friday, November 14, 2003

I read the book thouroughly, and I think it's just nonesense. Can't be applied to the real world.

I AM NOT SURE WHAT TOM DEMARCO WAS SMOKING AT THE TIME THOUGH.

o'my
Monday, November 17, 2003

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