Do you need Chuck Norris in your team?

If you want to test whether you have Chuck Norris in your team, how about checking this blog post first. If you recognize someone in the team that fits this description, congratulations, this blog post is for you. Chuck Norris is really a lethal guy, and you should distinguish first whether your hero is only good in applying destructive force, or he is also trying to make any  good in the process of writing the code. One thing for sure, you have a guy with a great ego – and if you decide that the guy is worth trouble, you need to learn how to handle him (and don’t tell him that, as Chuck Norris doesn’t give a shit about management).

Before I continue, I would like first to say few things about myself and similar personal experience – not in software engineering, but in handball, which I start playing professionally when I was only 15 years old. When I was a kid playing handball, I had an idea that I can only trust myself, and when it was very important part of the game, I would simply take a ball and try to score, not thinking that much what other guys were doing (or thinking). One day, my coach came to me and said something that sticked to my mind to this day: “You know kid, if you continue to play like that, I will break your neck. But (and here is the funny part), if you don’t think that you are better than others, you will never become a great player.” And this is indeed the fine balance that big coaches need to manage every day in successful teams. In that respect, agile development is not that different from handball, it is a team effort where different people have different talents and you need folks that are willing to take a risk and score the goal.

During my career, I learned that there are two types of coaches. In first group are guys that I labeled as “Russian style coaches”. These guys would hate heroes and would ask every team player to surrender his imagination and personality to the benefit of the group, and then you would have team performing like a swiss clock, but just it was so boring to watch…  These teams had no Chuck Norris. And then, you had some other teams, where you would see fun, imagination and style. These were the great teams that we all remember. And occasionally,  you would see these great teams going loose, where internal fighting and argument would bring the complete team to the meltdown.

So, the question whether you need Chuck Norris in your team or not depends on two things. First part of the answer is about you, not him. Are you ready to take a risk and invest your time to get best out of him? That requires a lot of stamina and knowledge – and I will cover this in my next blog post.

Secondly, and even more importantly, not all projects require imagination and people looking to make the next big thing. Some projects just require pure execution, like a swiss clock.


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