Bristol Web Folk: Individuals: Personality vs. Methodology

Bristol Web Folk: Individuals: Personality vs. Methodology

Individuals: Personality vs. Methodology presented by Dom Udall (@domudall) at Bristol Web Folk August 2013. Dom discussed the affects using methodologies has on our teams and how we can utilities personalities.

  • The agile manifesto:
    • 1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • 2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • 3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • 4. Responding to change over following a plan
  • A study found that there was no correlation between process, programming language or tools and project success.
    • A well-functioning team of adequate people will complete a project well regardless of the processes or technology they are forced to use.
  • Processes and technology can both help or hinder people along their way.
  • The software creation process has hardly changed in 30 years, limitations come from people and how they communicate.
  • Technology can help us automate tedious/error prone tasks.
  • Tools are:
    • Accepted by developers if they do help out with a thing
    • Rejected by developers if they try to take over too much of a task
  • Processes should be repeatable and reduce both confusion and training time.
  • Humans aren't linear, one week we may do something twice as fast as the previous weeks.
  • Most methodologies are to enforce strict routine, to tell people what to do.

Failure modes:

  • Asking people to change habits
  • Asking people to be consistent in their change
  • Prefer safe failure than risky success
  • Not-invented-here
    • People are trained at school not to copy other people, they are rewarded to do things from scratch. As programmers we all know if other people have done it we should just use it.
    • People who copy and paste don't get rewarded in the same way as people who do it from scratch. People do it in more complicated ways to get better rewards and more recognition.


  • Pride in work
    • Writing good test cases.
  • Citizenship
    • People working together to produce something, talking to the team about how bugs in their code affect other people in their team.
  • Community
    • Feel like you are part of a team, make sure people talk to each other
  • Good at looking around
    • You get a good prospective on things by talking to people who aren't apart of your team.
  • Initiative
    • People like to take the initiative, rewarding them for it is key

A helpful and cooperative atmosphere has encouraged and enabled cross training. A willingness on the part of team members to address any and all project issues has proven invaluable on many occasions... this team can be a long-term asset to the division and to the agency. - NASA

People work better when you

  • Provide examples
  • Provide them with something to alter
  • Provide something tangible
  • Provide opportunity's to watch and hear
  • Support concentration and communication
  • Match the person to the assignment
  • Provide rewards, preserve joy
  • Provide feedback
Dom Udall presents Individuals: Personality vs. Methodology
Dom Udall presents Individuals: Personality vs. Methodology.