How hard can it be?

We’re all getting deep into the development challenges here at Polystream; over these last couple of weeks our little band of highly talented developers have been diving into Adam (CTO)’s code base to evolve and expand it.

In between the rhythmic hammering of keys we shout out ideas, discoveries, and passionate frustration. Nothing beats having a group of people solving Hard Problems, together!

There’s a little table in the middle of our office which we often pace around, in counter clockwise order (always!), thinking out loud, encouraging each other to join in the pacing, to get the creative, and problem solving, energy pumping. It’s great, and it’s fun, but there’s a serious side to all this which is born out of years of experience and Adam captures the spirit in his oft used expression; “how hard can it be!?”

We’ve all been around the block enough to know that most technical problems, can be solved if you just take the time to stop and ask yourself that little question…

How hard can it be?

Having a group of highly talented, and experienced, people around you who you can bounce ideas and problems off is invaluable in this respect; you stop up, you ask yourselves “ok, how should this work?”, you go down a couple of dead ends, your team mates course correct, you pick up and you try another angle, always pushing ahead. When you hit an obstacle where the only solution appears to be to “do something that is difficult and tedious” then, well, you press on and do something that is difficult and tedious. With a solid team of people in the back who can each provide their unique experience and insights you get the encouragement to soldier through.

And it brings results!
That’s the essence of the, perhaps a wee bit boisterous, motto of “How hard can it be!?” We really believe everything we set our minds on is possible and by keeping the team dynamic, and constantly interacting, we keep reinforcing that belief.

There’s a great book about highly dynamic teams, and team interactions, called “Team of Teams” written by the former US General Stanley McChrystal. In essence it speaks of how the most effective teams, the most adaptive to all situations, are those that are “teams of teams”; teams of individuals, or sub-teams, that are allowed to operate in relative autonomy, interact openly with each other, exchange ideas, and always challenge each other.

Just like our little band of developers at Polystream do, and just how we are going to continue to build this in the future. And pacing around the table shall always be in counter clockwise order.


Follow Jarl on Twitter @psjarlo