Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Entitlement - extending our contract

I've got a few examples of things I need to get off my mind - of things where people somehow assume it is someone else's duty to do work for them.

The word on my mind is entitlement. It really puzzles me on how come there are so much of these cases where someone assumes they have free access to my time, just because they had some access to my thoughts in a way I chose to make available. It leads in to what I perceive as a lack of thoughtfulness in requiring services, as if you were entitled to them. And it puzzles me why I think of this so differently, taking it for a fact that I should appreciate what I'm getting on the "free" services and that I could actually need to make it bidirectional in some way if I have specific requirements to fulfill my personal needs.

The Uninvited Debates

The first thing where entitlement comes to play is the idea of debates - whenever, where ever. When you say something and someone questions you, that someone is somehow *entitled* to your answer. Not that I would have the free choice of giving that answer in spirit of dialog and mutual learning, but  that I owe people an answer and an explanation.

I love the idea that my time is mine. It's mine to control, mine to decide on, mine to invest. And investing in a debate (from my perspective) means that I get to choose which debates I stop early and which ones I continue further. And it's not about fear of the other party - it's awareness of the rathole that isn't doing anything but wasting our time.

The Burden of Proof

So I wrote a book. So it's kind of obvious Mob Programming and Mob Testing are close to my heart. The thing that puzzles me is the people who feel that for *evangelizing* something this wasteful (in their perspective), I now need to start a research project or share private company data with numbers to prove mobbing is a good use of time.

I'm happy to say it's a thing you either believe in or not. And that successes with it will most likely be contextual. I also say that my experience was that it made no sense to me before I tried it. None of the rational arguments anyone could have said would have convinced me.

There's a lot of research on pair programming. Yet, I see most people telling it can't work. I welcome anyone to do the research and come to any conclusion they come to, but I'm not planning on setting that up. Again, my time, my choices. Writing a book on something isn't a commitment to have answers to all the questions in the world.

I also find these labels interesting. I've been told I'm an evangelist (for mob programming) and a leader (for testing). I label myself as a sharing practitioner. And my label is what drives my time commitments, not the labels other people's choose for me.

The Conference Requirement

I speak at conferences. A lot. And sometimes I run into conferences that feel that by giving me the space to speak they are entitled to a lot of services and requirements on how those services are delivered.

It's not enough that often these conferences don't pay for the expenses, meaning you *pay to speak*. But in addition, they can have very specific requests. My favorite thing I don't want to do is use of conference template, on anything beyond the title slide. It's a lot of work moving elements around, and that work isn't exactly something I would love to volunteer my time for. And reserving a right to change *my slides* is another. I'm good for removing ads and obscenities, but asking for full editing rights and requiring my compliance to change per feedback sounds to me like I shouldn't be speaking in the first place.

We're not entitled to free services. Sometimes we're lucky to get them. Seeing paid services go down, I get reminded that we are not entitled to those either. We're lucky to have things that are good. Lucky to have people who work with us and share for us.