I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading lately on the topic of deliberate practice. There is a sizable body of literature emerging with a lot of interesting things to say about how we can improve the way we practice. As I’ve mentioned before, in the software development business, we’ve really become quite obsessed with the notion of practices and what they can do for our projects. All good stuff – there is a lot of valuable learning to be had there. However, what is it that drives us to practice?
I’ve seen a lot of teams adopt various and sundry practices. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t. Why is that? You introduce agile practices to one team and they take off like a rocket! And another team just keeps plugging along doing the same old stuff…now with iterations. Ugh! So why is it that one team seems to benefit and the other doesn’t? Often times I think it comes down to passion.
What is it that distinguishes a great pianist from a mediocre one? Passion! It’s that drive that keeps them constantly seeking to improve their skills, to push themselves and their teams. But what do we do when we coach these teams? Well, all too often we teach the practices without the passion.