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Joe Arnold's Blog

Founder / CEO SwiftStack

Kent Beck mentioned something in his book about a programmer who made elaborate iron pieces to satisfy his need for perfection – because he couldn’t find it on his team. I have seen others who work on open source or outside projects to get that need out of their system.

On truly excellent teams, I haven’t felt compelled to pursue outside programming activities. And now that I think about it, those folks haven’t felt that pull either.

When they did feel the pull, they would build something for the team. Sometimes someone would work on making the development environment better. Everyone was grateful for making their work lives better. Other times, some sub-system was slow, but not slow enough to justify the effort improving it. Someone would tackle that tricky problem – for fun – in their spare time.

When I am involved with difficult teams, my level of outside work increases. I’ll start hacking, writing, or get obsessive about something else. I need a ‘fix’ of getting something accomplished.

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