The Software Zodiac: How, Why, Who and When

How people tend to learn technologies as a lifestyle. They like to find new ways, rather than spending their time on something that will be easier next week. They get a kick out of producing something that nobody’s done before. They are experimenters, and live by the maxim, “Shiny things!”

Progress in a project depends on How people, because they’re the ones who can do it.

How people are most likely to be Developers. They should hang out with Why or When. A typical conversation between a How and a Who goes:

How: We should make sure that all our third-party systems are mocked out in the test environment.
Who: There’s a party?

Why people tend to learn a technology as an investment, if at all. They like to learn proven technologies, or find others who know them, rather than spending their time on something that will be obsolete next week. They get a kick out of producing something that somebody wants. They are pragmatists, and live by the maxim, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Success in a project depends on Why people, because they’re the ones who know when it’s done.

Why people are most likely to be Business Analysts, Quality Analysts or Team Leaders. They should hang out with Who or How. A typical conversation between a Why and a When goes:

Why: If our users could submit video to our site, we’d make $2,000,000.
When: Let’s buy YouTube.

Who people tend to learn where the good pubs are. They like to pick up business cards, rather than spending their time learning any technology themselves. They get a kick out of putting a good team together. They are conversationalists, and live by the maxim, “You have two cows…”

Project inception depends on Who people, because they can put the When people together with the Why.

Who people are most likely to be Project Managers or Upper Management. They should hang out with Why or When. A typical conversation between a Who and a How goes:

Who: There are three new people joining the team tomorrow.
How: I’ll get some more coffee.

When people tend not to learn, as such. They’re very good at spotting things which would be really useful, but no one actually thinks they need… yet. They get a kick out of taking risks or sharing ideas and watching them grow. They are visionaries, and live by the maxim, “Because it’s there.”

Projects – all of them – depend on When people. They have the drive, the intuition and / or the money.

When people are most likely to be Venture Capitalists or Entrepreneurs. They should hang out with Who or How. A typical conversation between a When and a Why goes:

When: It would be great if we could make a pen-sized computer that projected both the keyboard and the screen.
Why: Please don’t play World of Warcraft in bed.

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6 Responses to The Software Zodiac: How, Why, Who and When

  1. entropyjim says:

    What about the people who leanr tech because they need to for some reason? not because they like doing that, not because they think it might be useful in the future. Learning it on-the-job because its required of them.

  2. sirenian says:

    They become Iteration Managers (Team Leaders by any other name). I should know. 😀

  3. anonymous says:

    great post 😉

    Kenji

  4. twisted_fish says:

    cool post, i enjoyed reading it there is a 4th class of people you know who are practical , realistic but who have a section of there mind that is 100% pure creative fire that they allow out when its practical to do so and the rest of the time just take note of its suggestions, there called disciplined Architect developers. 🙂

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