Gangplank’s guest-blogging series illustrates the array of personalities and experiences embodied by our community. All invited participants – past brownbag speakers, anchors, new members, City of Chandler employees and others – share their Gangplank stories. Interested guest posters should send a draft to our Director of Operations.
First, I invite you to read the Gangplank Manifesto. It adds a few words to this post and is well worth it. Go read it now, I’ll wait.
I’ve worked for two decades as various flavors of an embedded software engineer. The embedded engineering world is full of ones and zeros, hard timing and bits. This is cool and very attractive to the strong shy side of my personality. Years of getting assignments, going to my desk and doing my work. And I was happy. Mostly.
There are “Aha!” moments in life that surprise and frighten. A few years ago I had one such moment. In the confluence of frustration and a growing realization that people are not cogs, that I was not a cog in a machine, I learned about the Agile Manifesto. It feels very familiar to the Gangplank Manifesto, which you read just a moment ago.
Think about these two manifestos. Now think about explaining them to coworkers or an average department manager. Or even a freelance writer, an artist, a CEO or a small business owner. In my several years of undertaking such conversations I have learned the most common reaction is wonder and disbelief. Our culture of education and work trains us to think the only way is to conform, to do the work assigned, to be a cog. To our normal thinking, Gangplank cannot possibly work.
Yet, three years after it’s inception, there it stands and flourishes.
That basis for Gangplank and the ideas of the Agile Manifesto is people. The power of emotion, interaction, camaraderie are needed for creativity and innovation. Yet people and their behavior, as individuals and teams, are largely forgotten in the business and educational worlds. This is a mistake of vast proportions. In our desire for certainty we systematically quash the very results we seek. Such systems must be changed to remain competitive and to get back to enjoyment of work.
Gangplank is a place and movement that redirects us to see the people. Where we see the value of tapping the full human, not just functional skills for a corporate machine. My work to bring agile concepts into corporate environments is a similar effort. Gangplank strengthens me in my quests.
What does Gangplank do for you?