Diversity is Complex

Added to People

Avraham Poupko’s experience report, “Soup or Salad” – Models of Diversity, really got me thinking. Perhaps we are thinking too narrowly about the kinds of diversity we need to build effective teams and organizations. In this report, he raises some important questions and shares his experiences building diverse teams.

Just to give you a taste, here are some questions Avraham addresses: While we may say that we want a diverse team, what are the implications of building a team of people who have widely different backgrounds and values? Is it possible to be too diverse? Can diversity make us more agile? How can we come to working agreements that listen to all voices if we don’t share same values or background? What does it mean to value diversity when diverse opinions clash strongly with values held by more senior folks?

Avraham’s final advice: “Too much diversity and you lose any unifying glue that can hold your group together. Too little diversity, and you fall into the trap of groupthink. If you want to really reap the rewards of diversity, try to find those unconventional lines of diversity… Try to group up with people that have different ideas about what diversity is and what are its limits. That is where the real surprises are. If you find someone that pushes your limits of tolerance, or that does not see diversity the way you do - seize the opportunity. You might discover something new.”

If you are interested in sharing your Agile experiences and experiments via the Agile Alliance Experience Report Initiative, contact me with a proposal via the link on that page.

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


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.