Problem Solving Leadership
I recently traveled to Sweden to attend Problem Solving Leadership, a recurring workshop which was first offered by Jerry Weinberg in 1974. Having found Jerry’s books to be uniquely insightful into the nature and challenges of software teams, I had high expectations for this small workshop: 5.5 days with 24 attendees and 3 facilitators (Jerry Weinberg, Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby).
When I first arrived, I was curious to see what the other participants would be like. PSL seems to be more regularly offered in the United States, and I wondered whether this one would attract mostly residents of Sweden, or a broader crowd from Europe or even further afield. When the group assembled for drinks before dinner, it became clear that most of us were Swedish, and that quite a few of the participants were professional colleagues or knew one other through the local community. Many seemed to be consultants helping software teams to implement agile development methodologies.
Over dinner, I got acquainted with some of the other participants who were seated near me. We got our first taste of what the week would be like when someone announced that they had found a stray bag and had placed it in a certain place to be claimed. In response, Jerry addressed the room from his seat at one of the banquet tables, pointing out that this individual, in trying to help, was taking responsibility for a problem which could have been more effectively solved by simply turning the bag over to the hotel staff. The manner in which he understood the pattern of the situation and presented it as a learning experience was familiar to me from his books, though there was an edge to it which I had not expected.
I went to bed feeling curious about what the rest of the week would be like.
Read more: Day 1