A Conversation with Avraham Poupko on Rethinking Diversity

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My latest conversation is with Avraham Poupko. He will present his experience report, "Soup or Salad — Models of Diversity", at Agile2018 in San Diego. As you listen in, you’ll hear Avraham share his insights on what it means to have either soup (where everyone blends in) or salad (where the ingredients are different but complementary) forms of diversity.

He advises that, “ [if] you have a mix of ingredients, and do not want any ingredient to stick out too much, if you are not open-minded to new culinary experiences, you are probably better off with the soup. But if you have a robust gut and an adventuresome palate, if you believe that different flavors, smells, colors and textures can each keep their own identity and yet combine to give a delightful experience – then you should go for the salad.”

So what does that mean for team diversity? Avraham believes that to truly get the benefits of diversity, we should not force people to conform to some average or well-blended soup, where no particular flavor stands out. Instead, if we allow and encourage each team member to retain their own unique viewpoint, we will reap the benefits of that rich, tasty salad of diverse perspectives.

About the Author

Rebecca is President of Wirfs-Brock Associates. She helps organizations and individuals hone their design and architecture skills, improve system quality and manage technical debt. In addition to coaching and mentoring she conducts workshops on agile architecture, design and pragmatic TDD. She invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD) and by accident started the x-DD meme. Rebecca is Director of the Experience Reports Program and Experience Report Track Chair. She is on the Board of the Hillside Group and writes patterns about sustainable architecture, agile QA, and adaptive systems. If you want to share experiences or wisdom in pattern form, Rebecca can help you turn your itch for writing into the written word. Read her blog at www.wirfs-brock.com/blog and find articles and patterns on her resources page, www.wirfs-brock.com/Resources.html


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