Today’s team meeting: leadership and failure

We had our regular team meeting yesterday and Dwight shared a couple of videos. They’re both from TED talks. The first video is a talk by Derek Sivers where he shows a dancing guy whose top looks like he’ll have a pretty mean sunburn right afterwards. He starts dancing like no one’s watching, first by himself. And then one other guy joins in, and soon there’s a big crowd dancing. The video and a transcript of the video is available here: http://sivers.org/ff. The key lesson I suppose is that although leadership is important, but being a courageous follower is also important.

The next video is by David Damberger, who is the founder of Engineers Without Borders. He discusses how projects that sought to help the needy — through building physical structures like schools, wells, and such — would often fail due to lack of maintenance. And then there would be similar projects also aiming to help the same cause but also ending up with the same problems. In the end, these projects don’t end up helping as much as they should have. Here’s a link to the TEDx vid: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxYYC-David-Damberger-Learnin. This reminds me of the value of lessons learned. And being in the software industry, it reminded me of the Classic Mistakes that I read about from Steve McConnell’s Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules. I previously blogged about it, so I got the notes from there and shared it to the team. In my post, I said that this list is not about rubbing salt to the would or adding insult to injury. It’s about knowing what most likely could go wrong (based on what had gone wrong a LOT), and taking measures to avoid them.

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