Jessica Kerr wrote a very interesting post on bell curves and engineering teams. Jessica’s point is that bell curves are for random distributions, and that when teams share information and learn from each other, they no longer can be modeled by a random distribution. I think this as true, and a valuable insight. It reminded me of a different, related observation about teams and bell curves. Back in the 1980s, when he was applying analytics to baseball teams, Bill James argued that a common feature of the decisions made by poorly performing organizations was the assumption that baseball talent was normally distributed and could be modeled with a bell curve.
Maybe it’ll help you out? Previously on Locally Sourced: does anybody read this part? Hi, it’s Noel, how are you? Last time, I wrote about pair programming, and there were a couple of discussions on Twitter (where you can follow me @noelrap) that came down to what would make you choose to have your team do pair programming or how you would evaluate it. I thought it was worth a follow-up…
Or Why is a Software Team Like A Shortstop Previously on Locally Sourced: I’ve been writing these Entropy Essays about Agile and XP practices. Here’s the most recent one. You can see the rest here. Tell all your friends and colleagues to subscribe. One of the great things about writing this newsletter is that it’s forced me to think some ideas through in more structured ways than I might have if I was just talking to myself in my own head.