Organic, not Robotic

Systems are not built, they evolve.

The evolving, non-linear and learning nature of software and digital work is closer to an organic process, such as gardening, rather than some sort of mechanical assembly line or idealized factory process. Perhaps even more importantly, people and their relationships are the most critical component to success: not tools and rules.

Teams don’t start with all the answers. No matter how hard you try or how skilled the team is, you cannot solve or even identify every problem ahead of time. Instead, problems and solutions have to be discovered and learned in the context of the project over time.

And to make matters worse, systems are built by people. People are unreliable components, prone to random failure:

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”― Dale Carnegie

Cognitive Bias Codex

People are also subject to a wide-range of cognitive biases (Wikipedia lists over 90 common ones). People don’t respond predictably like machines, and can’t be treated like machines. That means we need to take into account “human maintenance” to ensure their well-being, including addressing such organic topics as empathy, transparency, trust, collaboration, and most important of all, psychological safety.

Software development is evolutionary; it’s a messy, non-linear, organic process, so those are the sorts of tools and processes we need for successful outcomes: Organic, not Robotic.

Learn More: Skill Stages

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