The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Experience isn’t enough

About 7 years ago Joana learned to code. Since then she has been involved in more and more complex projects learning to create solutions satisfying her peers and eventually customers. Gradually her tasks shifted from coding to designing solutions.

A few months ago she was promoted and asked to lead a team.

Until then her experience had been, that when she suggested a solution most of her peers would follow her suggestions.

To her astonishment, this time everything was different.

She had presented a new project and included a concept describing how she wanted it to be implemented.

Everybody was starring silently at her until after a minute or so one question after the other started popping up. Her team members wanted to know more about the background of the project, what they were supposed to do, and how she wanted them to do the work.

It felt as if nobody had understood what she had been talking about. It was utterly confusing.

As the questioning continued she started to realize that her team was moving from one detail to the other. Questioning them one after the other.

It dawned on her, that they lacked a sense of the project’s purpose.

She had forgotten to describe it.

Her presentation had been a list of the different tasks to be handled. The tasks corresponded to the way she would have started to work on the project. She knew that some details were missing, but it didn’t seem to matter. At least it hadn’t mattered to her, in her previous role.

Her team had been confronting her with all these missing details. Without an idea of the project’s purpose and her guiding principles as to how she wanted them to implement it, her team couldn’t figure out how to follow her.

She realized that her experience and ability to solve problems along the way wasn’t enough. She needed to find a way to translate her experience into principles her team could apply.


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