Archive for June, 2009

Searching for the truth of group dynamics


Every now and then you discover or learn something that you believe is a sound statement, fact or pattern. Something which is true and will stay true even after a long time. Regarding group dynamics, I believe the following are such universal facts:

  • Endre Sjøvold, a professor at NTNU I have deep respect for, states at his website (freely translated from Norwegian): “..when you believe that learning a specific technique is enough to ensure success, is when it actually fails.  It is always so that the balance between technical skills and a genuine willingness to work together is what ensures success.” He says this in the context of looking at the history of hyped methodologies from team building to SCRUM. If you’re an innovator like me, who loves to embrace new ideas, try to keep Endre Sjøvold’s statement in mind whenever you get confused, caught up in too much details or feeling your intuition tries to tell you that something is wrong.
  • Linda Rising and Mary Lynn Manns’ Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas. If you haven’t read this book or been to any of Linda’s tutorials yet, you should really try it! People are not rationale, you cannot convince them with traditional argumentation, instead you should find their guru and feed him with chocolate chip cookies (amongst other patterns).

Finally I believe Joseph Pelrine is really onto something with his heat model. His talk at QCon London was great, and I’m really looking forward to his book. Meanwhile I’ll continue my search..


London calling


It’s official, we’re moving to London!

My clever girlfriend Anne-Linn, will be studying Speech Therapy at UCL from September. Hence we’re moving to London in late August. I’m excited!

Hopefully I’ll find a thrilling place to work and meet lots of interesting people. If you need a passionate software developer who cares about people, please contact me on erlingwl(at) I’m going to miss my fantastic colleagues at Miles though, you guys have been extremely good to me!

Will I be the Innovator forever?


I love to embrace new ideas, some would say a bit too much, others would say I challenge them and provide valuable input. I enjoy trying out the latest technologies as well as methodologies. Thanks to Linda Rising I also know that people are not rational – hence if everyone doesn’t buy in on my suggestions all the time, I know I could always try another approach (e.g. feed people chocolate chip cookies..).

However, I learned at the university (especially from Endre Sjøvold)  that members of a mature team does not step into static roles. They adapt to their environment, and acts out the roles that are necessary at specific points in time. So if I find myself taking on the role of being an Innovator for most of the time, does that mean I’m part of an immature team? If so, am I a mature as a person, and as I spot the lack of an Innovator I take on that role? Or do I just do it because I have a preference for taking on the role of being an Innovator? And could that stop me from being a sceptic (or in Linda’s terms, I think; a Laggard) when it is needed of me?

Working as a software consultant in the financial industry, I’ve discovered most people doesn’t tend to take on the roles of being Innovators. But what would happen if I were put in a team where everybody loved being Innovators? Would I put on a more conservative hat when needed? I believe it would be possible for me to do that, but I’m of course afraid that my passion for learning new things would challenge me on that. I think it would be especially hard for me to take on a long term role of being more conservative. Hopefully my other team members would have relieved me from my duties from time to time, since they would be just as mature as me (probably even more :).