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Same Thing Happens Every Time

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Management, Movies, and Mythology

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Same Thing Happens Every Time

  1. 1. S A M E T H I N G H A P P E N S E V E RY T I M E : 
 M A N A G E M E N T, M O V I E S , & M Y T H O L O G Y PA U L M . J O N E S • @ P M J O N E S • J O I N D . I N / E V E N T / M A D I S O N P H P 2 0 1 5
  2. 2. A B O U T M E • 8 years USAF Intelligence • BASIC in 1983, PHP since 1999 • Jr. Developer, VP Engineering • ZF1, Aura, Relay, Radar • PSR-1, PSR-2, PSR-4 • mlaphp.com
  3. 3. PAT T E R N S I N S O F T WA R E
  4. 4. T H E C A M P B E L L M O N O M Y T H
  5. 5. – H E I N L E I N , Q U O T I N G R U T H E R F O R D There is only one science. It is called physics.
 Everything else is stamp-collecting.
  6. 6. PAT T E R N S I N M O V I E S S TA R WA R S , P R I N C E S S B R I D E , T R O N , T H E M A T R I X , S TA R T R E K , 
 T H E H U N G E R G A M E S , H A R RY P O T T E R , T H E L A S T A I R B E N D E R ( T V )
  7. 7. T W O G U Y S A N D A G I R L • A strong independent woman and two dudebros • Not strictly Campbell but common in modern hero(ine) stories
  8. 8. PA R E N T T R O U B L E
  9. 9. A L O N E I N T H E W O R L D
  10. 10. O L D M A N A S M E N T O R
  11. 11. G I F T O F ( M A G I C A L ) A S S I S TA N C E
  12. 12. B I G H A I RY H E L P E R
  13. 13. E V I L R U L E R & E N F O R C E R
  14. 14. Y O U ’ V E S E E N I T; Y O U C A N ’ T U N S E E I T • Basic introduction to Campbell • Observational, not predictive • You’re going to see it everywhere • Delight in discovery and recognition • Make sense of stories
 (and life)
  15. 15. PAT T E R N S I N T E A M S
  16. 16. “ U T I L I TA R I A N ” V S “ A C A D E M I C ”
  17. 17. T I M E O R I E N TAT I O N • Future-oriented: “first do it right, refactor as needed” • “Academic”, detailed, patterns, abstracts, layers, interfaces, testing • Present-oriented: “first get it done, then make it faster” • “Utilitarian”, rapid, “simple”,prove that I need it, do the least needed
  18. 18. A N E C E S S A RY T E N S I O N • What is practical depends on what you want to practice. • Highly adapted systems become less adaptable • E.g., contractors vs consultants • Strike the right balance between future and present
  19. 19. P R O B L E M C H I L D
  20. 20. L’ E N FA N T T E R R I B L E • Competent, intelligent, knowledgable, talented • Low empathy, remember hits/forgets misses • Games the rules; does not take instruction well • “Student syndrome”; negotiates conditions post-facto • Has never really “failed” in own mind
  21. 21. H O W T O H A N D L E P R O B L E M C H I L D • Works well in a team …
 but only when leading it! • Independent work:
 thrives on responsibility • Leadership role:
 sword that cuts two ways • Fire/release/let go
  22. 22. U N S T R U C T U R E D M E R I T O C R A C Y
  23. 23. T H E T Y R A N N Y O F S T R U C T U R E L E S S N E S S • (Jo Freeman, via Laura Thomson) • No explicit formal hierarchy • Earn position by merit • No defined standard of merit • Hierarchy is informal and implicit • In-group, or out
  24. 24. D E A L I N G W I T H I N F O R M A L S T R U C T U R E • Recognize that hierarchy exists (ALL members) • Identify social hierarchy positions and holders • Decide if you like you where you are • Concentrate more on social strategies, less on technical ones • Toby Young, “The Fall Of The Meritocracy”
  25. 25. T H E E V I L R U L E R : T I M E
  26. 26. – B R O O K S ’ L A W ( F R E D B R O O K S ) Adding manpower
 to a late software project
 makes it later.
  27. 27. – T I M O T H Y L I S T E R People under time pressure don’t think faster.
  28. 28. – D O U G L A S H O F S TA D T E R It always takes longer than you expect,
 even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
  29. 29. – D O U G L A S H A R T R E E The time from “now”
 until “the completion of the project”
 tends to become constant.
  30. 30. H A N D L I N G S C H E D U L E P R E S S U R E • Extend deadline (“free”) • Reduce scope (not free) • Parallelize independent tasks (not free)
  31. 31. E V I L R U L E R ’ S E N F O R C E R ? C U S T O M E R S , O W N E R , P R O J E C T M A N A G E R , T E A M L E A D
  32. 32. C O N C L U S I O N
  33. 33. • Patterns in movies: hero(ine)s, old mentor, gift of assistance, strong helper • Patterns in teams: “academic/utilitarian”, problem child, meritocracy, time • Recognize these patterns to deal with them effectively
  34. 34. T H A N K S ! • paul-m-jones.com • @pmjones • leanpub.com/mlaphp • joind.in/event/madisonphp2015

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