Sunday, January 15, 2012

GroupThink: Do you like being part of the herded? Me either.

Susan Cain has written an interesting piece for the New York Times: The Rise of the New Groupthink. That backs up what many of us know instinctively, we are more creative when we work alone, and not forced into Anti-Productivity-Pods, better know as Cubicle Farms or Open Work Spaces.

Ms. Cain's article updates, and reinforces, what we have known since DeMarco and Lister published their book Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition) in 1999. Thirteen years on most companies have not learned the advice from Picasso and Steve Wozniak, that creativity and productivity require solitude.

Solitude does not necessary mean you are you are working alone all of the time. We've all been stuck staring at a problem for longer than we should, not seeing the obvious. We ask a colleague to take a look over our shoulder, when it is of no interruption to them, and they immediately say "Why did you do *that*?". Each person has their strengths and it is important to capitalize on them, then leave them alone to get the job done.