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On Leading, Managing and Sense of Purpose (Rhythm of Testing)

On September 14, 2013, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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This post was originally written longhand (as in by hand, in a bound journal, pen on paper) while sitting at a campsite at a traditional music festival.  Sometimes I go places where electricity is not needed and internet access seems inappropriate.  It helps to defocus sometimes over an extended period of time.

September 6, 2013

Sitting under a canopy at a campsite at the Wheatland Music Festival may seem an odd place to consider Leadership and Management. There are similarities between the two, which is partly why the terms are conflated so often.  The similarities and differences are being demonstrated all around me this afternoon.

One group, behind me, is discussing “setting limits on how much” soft drink, beer, whatever (not sure what exactly, other than the excited voices on the topic) can be had; how much per person per day to be sure each person gets their “fair share.”  The primary concern seems to be on running out today, Friday, and not having enough to last through the weekend.

Another group, across the fire lane from us arrived at about the same time as the group behind us.  They set up their camp, set up tables and set out coolers and got out their instruments and began playing music.  Very good music.  They have been doing so for well over an hour.  About the length of time the first group has been discussing “limits” and “fair share.”

The second group is more about what the Festival represents than the first.  They collectively and individually know what they are about and why they are there.  Granted, there could be a difference in age, maturity or something. 

Of the two groups, one appears to be mostly in their mid-20’s, roughly 24-27 or so (I can’t see them very well without being obvious.)  The other group. the one playing music, is predominantly in their early 30s.  (I took the direct approach and asked how long they had been playing and if they played together as a band and got their musical life story.) Age does not seem to be a major factor – a few years perhaps.

Maturity may be part of it.  Still, when the music stops, they tell much the same types of jokes and demonstrate the same style of humor as the other group has, off and on.  Frankly, when they are not playing music they remind me and my wife of, in her words, “puppies playing.”  A bit of romping, a little rough housing, all in good fun careful to not hurt anyone.

Still, when one of them starts a tune, the others launch into it with fervor.  Their  this weekend seems to be to play music, meet people and have a good time.

The other group?  I’m not sure what their purpose is.  They seem to not know what their purpose is either.  They have, after well over an hour, agreed on a lot of rules, but I’m not sure if they have agreed on why they are there. 

They have defined a process model for something and agreed on how to manage the process model.  After some 90 minutes, they do not yet seem to have agreed on what purpose the process model is to serve.

They do not yet seem to have agreed on a reason for the process model to exist. 

Perhaps that is the difference.  One group has a shared purpose – a sense of why they are there.  “Leadership” of that group changes hands whenever someone starts a tune.  The other group?  They are managing their group but failing at leading it.

NOTE – Sunday morning, it became apparent that the non-musical group was a collection of people, parents and grown children and friends of each generation.  This made clear some of the phrases that came up over and over.  It should also be noted there is a shuttle bus that runs from the festival grounds to the nearest town with grocery stores, beer, wine and liquor stores and the like, every 30 minutes.  “Running Out” did not need to be a disaster, merely an inconvenience.  Their purpose seems to have been to have a good time.  I do not know if they succeeded.

 

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