We call it The Wall.
We stand in front of The Wall and we talk about it.
We put stars on cards on The Wall.
We put strings between things on The Wall.
It’s my feeble attempt to improve communication across several teams at work that have related areas of software development. Unfortunately, the teams are still struggling for reasons above and beyond our control.
Do you remember in school when the teacher explained that we would be doing a group project?
I hated those.
I hated working in groups.
I much preferred doing my own thing because I knew it would turn out how I wanted it to and because then I could do it all last minute. But in school, they put you in group projects over and over and over again. I just couldn’t get away from it.
I was assigned to a project with C. R. Bock in 5th grade. We had to put together a report on the presidential election between Perot, Clinton, and Bush. That was when I truly developed loathing for group projects. I had to work with C. R. I was already assigned as his debate partner and I hated that because he didn’t get high marks so we never won our debates. Now, I had to do this project where we cut out political cartoons, glued them into a portfolio and wrote things about them. This meant that we had to spend time outside of school so I had to get a ride to his house. My friends made fun of me for going to C. R.’s house. A few weeks before the project was assigned, he had kicked me in the shins in the hallway. C.R. was my arch nemesis.
Today, everything that I do at work is in the atmosphere of a group project. I even sit in an office with five others so all day long we listen to each other tap our feet, poke away on the keyboard, talk to the code, ignore phone calls, respond to texts, and laugh at the cartoon on xkcd.
My team that I am on is an excellent team and we don’t have any C. R. Bocks. Everyone gets high marks.
But now the complexity of a group project is in having to collaborate with other TEAMS.
That’s where The Wall came in. I wanted it to display to the other teams what was happening in that moment: what work is completed, what’s in progress, and what’s coming up. But I also wanted it to show (the strings) how one team’s work affects the others.
I don’t always think about how what I do affects others. It would be interesting to create a personal Wall and string it to Dominic, Nathan, friends, family, neighbors, etc.
I am glad that I don’t have to work with C. R. Bock anymore.
The poor kid was named C. R. I don’t even know what it stood for.