Monday, June 18, 2007

Why Do People Do The Things They Do?

I am currently interviewing for a new job as my current contract is coming to an end soon. One of the things I find interesting about interviewing is the different way organizations do it and how their culture comes out (or doesn't) during the interview process. The are obviously looking for a certain shape to fit a hole in the organization and they want to find out if your shape will fit (of course they never tell you much about the shape they want...then again most people do not really know what they want). Another thing that has me thinking is why the various intelligent people I meet believe the things they do about software development. One guy told me he thought agile software development was good for web development and not much else. Another told me that a PM should be able to manage any old project (from large scale software development to office moves) and it didn't really matter what experience the PM had. Like some guy who had done office moves could manage a large scale software development effort?!?

So why do these people who appear intelligent and thoughtful believe these ideas that to me seem about as silly as Galen's methods would to a modern doctor? As a student of humanity for these 40+ years I have been alive I think if has to do with the nature of human belief. If if google that term you get an various pages trying to make sense of the world's religions. Religion is just one aspect of human belief. I am talking about how do people come to "know" the things they base all of their decisions on. Lets make this personal: The last time you interviewed some one why did you recommend them or not? Ask your self why of each reason you give. What phrase/terms can you not answer why on? Maybe an example will help:

1. He seemed to know his stuff - why?

2. He said things that convinces me he could do the job - why?

3. The examples he used resonated with my own experience - why?

4. Because I think I do a good job so if he thought like me so would he - why?

5. Because I get rewarded by my boss - why?

6. Because he thinks like me - why?

7. Because I have adjusted my personality to be someone he likes - why?

8. Because I wanted to get promoted -why?

9. Because I wanted more power and money - why?

10. So I can be secure in my future - why?

11. Because that is who I am - why?

12. I DO NOT KNOW! Enough blankety blank questions already!

So my challenge to you. Analyze a decision you have made recently and see why you did it. Not the simple answer but the real reason. If may teach you something about yourself.

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