At Agile2011 Kevlin Henney provactively suggested that we don’t learn from mistakes (see: Why we don’t learn from our mistakes, The Optimism Bias), suggesting that we learn more from our successes. This seems to against the core agile principle that we learn from our mistakes (i.e. my motto “Fail Fast” etc). It also seemed to contradict the message in Linda Rising’s keynote that followed Kevlin. This makes me very happy to have seen a pair of articles in the past few days that bridge the gap: How Your Brain Reacts to Mistakes Depends On Your Mindset (a short summary from Science Daily) and Why Do Some People Learn Faster? (a longer item from Jonah Lehrer that ties several ideas together). The upshot both Kevlin and Linda were right. We do learn from our mistakes but not everyone has the mindset to do it.
High Social Status Makes People More Trusting, Study Finds – trust is important in the world of Agile software development and this summary from Science Daily gives some more insights as when trust is conferred.
Men and Women Cooperate Equally for the Common Good, Study Finds – its a well known fact that women are better than men when it comes to cooperation. This item summarizes a meta-study, which does make clear there are still some differences between the sexes. (Also Science Daily)
The Problem With Narcissistic Leaders (Jeremy Dean @ PsyBlog) – talks about the negative effects of Narcissistic leaders – they reduce the flow of information between groups but perhaps most insidiously the group members may think the narcissists were doing a good job. See also Why We Love Narcissists (At First).
Playing games ‘engages whole brain’ – (from the UK Press Association), the short item is provocative and appears to support the use of Agile Games/Simulations in training, coaching and improving engagement in solving problems. Having struggled to read the paper (neither neuroanatomy nor statistics are specialities of mine), I can see how the UK Press drew its conclusion at this stage I would like to see the follow-up research from Timothy Vickery to see where this applies and what benefits we can claim.
This is part of an ongoing series I refer to as Neuro Agile – which is my attempt to find ideas from the world of neuroscience that are applicable to world of software development.
Update: added another link to better represent Kevlin’s point: The Optimism Bias