Dan North, ThoughtWorks
"Raise your hands: how many have parents in IT? (only few people out of 80 or so) That's right: we're making it all up. (laughter) There is no generational learning."
Unfortunately we've adopted metaphors of engineering; others we could use:
Architects also tell stories; can be the "project shaman" => oral tradition is really powerful
What does he admire about architects?
Experience with team, "like nine cats with their tails tied together"
Job of architect:
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. -Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Story of "T-Boi" - instead of doing daily standups where people recite yesterday/today/tomorrow and actually try to shirk responsibility or share, at 3 every day went around and got everyone tea/coffee, asked offhand "how's it going?" => took temperature, so yesterday/today/tomorrow part of standup took 1 minute summarized by him, move on to more interesting/useful biz.
Change the culture
Have two contentious ideas?
Command pattern implementation bombed... but useful side-effect was to show that failure was OK; people felt safe about trying new things (but need the safety net of VC, other tools)
Write lots of integration tests, documenting assumptions as tests. No downside: if test fails, bad assumption; if succeeds, it's now codified and repeatable.
Take baby steps: build trust + safety net, then move in larger steps.
Later: intro maven: even though he's not a fan, it forces "bounded context". (Idea of the same thing meaning different things to different domains/groups. Example: "ship" to accountant, captain, service partner, etc.)
CMW: Idea of "transitional" tech or design keeps coming up, but maybe a little dangerous because you can always assume you're in transition, and you're always looking for the "next thing." That could be a good thing though!
Empowerment: Here's all the stuff you need to do your job. I trust you. Go do it.
CMW: It didn't come through here, but Dan was hugely funny throughout, and it was obvious he cared deeply about this team, their fate, and his job.