The Gang of Four – How Optimization Perseveres

room, lights, black and white

It must be the new year that has me waxing nostalgic again. My last post was of rockstars past and while I was working on that on that one I was also reminded of some others I had a great affection for, a group that I was a part of we called the “Gang of Four”. This was a tongue in cheek nod to the Gang of Four who were authors of a book on design patterns.

The impetus for the Gang of Four was the desire of four agilists to try to do the right things with regards to implementing agile and scrum – to do things that were generally acknowledged as good agile practices but things that were not necessarily politically palatable. In other words, we were something of a clandestine organization. In fact, our meetings, while not in a secret location, were held in a location well off the beaten path – so much so that some of us had to literally walk 15 minutes to get to our meeting room. Over time we added another like-minded individual but kept the original name. Hell, we even had a ironic salute we would give to each other when we would pass in the hall. It was in the company of these wonderfully dedicated people that I spent the most enjoyable time I had on this gig.

What is important and pertinent to this blog is not the nostalgia or shout out to my compadres (though it pleases me to think they might read this and reflect with happiness), but that regardless of your office politics, your cronyism, your brown-nosing, your ladder climbing or your sheer incompetence and general ineptness, there will always (or rather you should hope there to always) be those who will have the uncompromising desire to succeed in spite of your inanity.

Like a tree whose roots will break rocks in order to drink of the water that sustains it, there will be individuals and teams in your company that will persevere against the all odds to do what is right, to do what is best for the company. Seek these out and when you find them give them the environment that they need because if they survive on rocky soil just imagine what they can do on a proper plot of earth.

Long live the Gang of Four.

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