Belok. One of the biggest obstacle in Tompkins’s management work. Hits again in chapter 15 with another ridiculous request for Mr. T. We know that the program of process improvement was doing alright. And now, Belok wanted to squeeze more of the company and the employees by increasing the extra hours and giving them more pressure. This happened because he saw the report of extra hours worked and was impressed by how little it was for him. So he told Tompkins to take those numbers higher and also make a plan to apply more pressure on the teams to make the development faster.
The dream team was shocked to hear the new request from Belok. For them, the numbers of extra hours worked where already high, and to give more pressure was just an awful idea. Moreover, they started making graphs and models to compare from a Belok’s perspective and in that case from Belinda’s perspective. The models were very different from one another and at the end they discovered that the Belok’s model was the same as a graph of punishment for children. Belinda was horrified by it and erased the graph as soon as possible. Belok’s solution was not the best one. Not even close.
Aristotle suggested to contact the Oracle for a better solution. This new character which is totally anonymous answered only by email, and was the one which gave solutions to Aristotle some time before all of that. So, Tompkins sent him an email, hours passed, and he responded.
The solution from the Oracle was quite simple, so simple that he explained it in a single line:
“People under pressure don’t think any faster”
Everyone was surprised from the answer and realized that it was obvious. Sometimes these solutions being that obvious are hidden from reality until someone takes them to the light. The team started thinking about the solution, and at the end the best approach was to make short burst of pressure and overtime. This is because the two factors can make a process improvement but if given on small dosis.
The most important knowledge from this chapter for me was that everyone should have the pressure and sometimes de overtime, but never an excess of it. Including managers; they don’t know what else to do sometimes so they make pressure because of it.
There is the terrible suspicion which Tompkins wrote on his notes which stated that the real reason for use of pressure and overtime may be to make everyone look better when the project fails. I say that this is false nowadays because there are big companies which develop bad software. And the crowd do not forgive them even though there was a lot of time consumed. It is even worse, people ask why is the software so bad if it took lots of years and hours. At the end no one looks better.