Sometimes stumbling in the right direction pays off. The trick is knowing the right direction. Hint: We can’t “know”.

During this talk I will share a number of experiences and observations. Hopefully we’ll also do a few activities along the way.

This is a next step in a series of talks I’ve given over the last few years:

First was NoEstimates, which questions the pervasive notion that the only sort of decisions worth making require estimates, and suggests that the reality of software development doesn’t support that notion. That is, sometimes there are better questions than “how much do we think this will cost?”, “when do we think this be done?”, and “should we do project A or project B?”.

Next was Continuous Discovery which introduces the idea that the nature of software development is not well served by a “here is what we want, here is how we are going to get it” approach. In it I propose that following a process of discovery better matches the endeavour at hand. Whatever we thought we wanted when we started this “project” changes as we expose reality by actually doing something, and any plan we made before we actually did something is counter to what we now need to do.

In this episode, I’m sharing parts of my own path – the things that seem important to the “Drunkards Walk” that I’ve been on. To be clear: I’ll share my experiences in support of the idea that opening oneself to chance and serendipity might be worthwhile, or at least not completely stupid. Is this a leadership technique? Perhaps. Clearly, the more people stumbling behind you in the same general direction the more it looks like you are a leader. But I’m not suggesting you do the things I did, as you can likely guess, and I’m certain that when we copy the things a successful “leader” has done we are are likely doing the exact opposite from what that leader did.

NOTE: This is a bit related to the ideas in the book “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow, but not very much after all I suppose.

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