Home > Articles > Programming > Windows Programming

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Whole-Person Recognition

Just like all other people, project managers have different personalities. Personality profiling tools, such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, identify different personality types. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator, for example, measures personal preferences on four scales: extrovert/introvert, sensate/intuitive, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. It turns out that the more factual, practical, and structured personality types account for up to 44 percent of the population in general and represent many business managers, educators, and administrators. Project managers with these personality types have been known to find dealing with the "soft" side of project management difficult, and may judge the material presented in this section as impractical and difficult. Project managers with other personality types—intuitive, personal, and spontaneous—will more than likely find the material here somewhat obvious and trivial. Either way, I have included the material in this section to make the point that project management is at least as much about dealing with people at a personal level as it is about tools and techniques or practices and activities.

Agile managers of all personality types need to begin to practice the softer skills of project management by recognizing a fundamental reality—your project team members are flesh-and-blood people. If you think this sounds obvious and trivial, think about the ubiquity of these terms used to refer to people: resources, staff, and FTE. These terms, rooted as they are in the mechanistic model, indicate a deeper problem: Our organizations are not very good at recognizing people as whole persons. At many organizations people leave important parts of their selves at the door because they are not recognized as whole persons at work.

To be strong and effective leaders of their project teams, agile managers need to recognize the wholeness of each of their team members. Each person on the team comes with a peculiar and unique mix of hopes, dreams, aspirations, philosophies, shortcomings, idiosyncrasies, personalities, moods, and emotions that go well beyond their physical selves. Now, it certainly is not up to you to manage all of these for your team members. That is primarily each individual's personal responsibility. But, to manage with a Light Touch and utilize each person's unique potential to the fullest extent, you need to begin by recognizing each one of your team members as a whole person. Activities that will help you treat your team as whole persons are maintain quality of work life, build on personal strengths, and manage commitments through personal interactions. These are discussed next.

Activity: Maintain Quality of Work Life

Software development is a fast-paced, demanding venture. For many professionals in today's software development world, life revolves around work. Or, at the very least, it plays a significant part in our lives. Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours in the workplace. For instance, software development professionals in India work close to six days a week. In the United States, it is at least five days and sometime part of the weekend. Unlike our parents' generation, our work also follows us home—we remain connected to work because of the double-edged sword of modern technology. My own laptop follows me everywhere I go. There is a connection—our quality of life in general is much more dependent on the quality of our work life than ever before. How can agile managers assist their teams in maintaining a positive quality of work life, and why should they bother to do so?

Numerous studies have shown the link between quality of work life and productivity. It is also at least intuitively clear that creative activity depends on quality of work life. So, there is a strong fiscal incentive to maintain quality of work life as a means of maintaining high productivity. Besides this fiscal motivation, agile methodologies value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. So, a high quality of work life is an extension of the humanistic agile value system and an essential way of treating people as whole persons.

To maintain a high quality of work life on your team, you need to make different judgment calls based on the agile value system. Although quality of work life begins with appropriate compensation, it goes beyond that to personal growth, achievement, responsibility, and reward. Two basics that can help in this regard are sustainable pace and support for individual responsibility:

  • Sustainable pace. XP's sustainable pace practice recommends that the team work at a pace that can be sustained over the project's long haul. XP teams do not work overtime for more than one week in a row to maintain a sustainable pace of development. You can use the sustainable pace practice to help avoid team burnout and maintain a high quality of work life.
  • Individual responsibility. Agile teams place a premium on individual responsibility. Creating opportunities for team members to share in the responsibilities and reward of team management is an excellent way to motivate them and to enhance their quality of work life. Table 8-2 indicates some "intelligent control" ways for you to support individual responsibility and allow your team members to share in the management of the team, and thereby enhance the quality of their work lives.

Implementing XP's sustainable pace practice and allowing your team members to assume greater individual responsibility are two basic ways to enhance quality of work life. Although circumstances will vary from team to team and from project to project, the guiding principle that you can use is to always remember that your team members are whole persons.

TABLE 8-2. Centralized Responsibility versus Individual Responsibility



Rigid roles with detailed job descriptions

Generalizing specialists with multiple responsibilities

Top-down control with micromanagement

Self-organization and self-discipline

Impersonal communication

Personal, face-to-face communication

Rigid specialty-focused, role-limited training

Flexible training opportunities

Sole reliance on yearly reviews for performance evaluation

Regular, "in the moment" performance evaluation and coaching

Task focus

Outcome focus

Activity: Build on Personal Strengths

Performance reviews are supposed to improve productivity by comparing employees' personal performance to some uniform "standard," and then identifying all the weaknesses to improve. I have a confession to make—I intensely dislike these annual 360-degree performance reviews. In my opinion, the whole process is tiresome, time-consuming, and marginally effective when it works. When it does not work, it turns out to be demoralizing, negatively motivating, and counterproductive. In my own performance reviews, some of my managers have complained about my difficulties in conducting these reviews. Interestingly and confusingly, some have considered me to be too lenient, whereas others have found me to be too harsh. Apparently, I am far from being alone—Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman's book, First, Break All the Rules, which is based on interviews with more than 80,000 mangers worldwide, underscores my point of view.

According to Buckingham and Coffman, the world's greatest managers recognize that trying to standardize human behavior is futile, and therefore, they do not waste their time trying to dramatically change people. Rather than focus on weaknesses, these managers build on the personal strengths of their team members and help them become more of who they already are.6 I cannot recommend this approach enough to agile managers. For a start, it is based on the presumption that each person is unique and has unique strengths and weaknesses—whole persons, in other words. Here is a simple example from one of my projects that illustrates how you can build on your team members' strengths.

Tom is one of our most senior and brilliant developers. A master craftsman who loves teaching almost as much as he loves programming, Tom has coached many junior developers and delivered many elegant programming solutions. He is a great learner, always researching new technologies and tools. Tom is also a strong leader of technical people because he commands their respect and affection. Despite all these gifts, Tom has a serious weakness in the eyes of the world—he can be abrasive with certain people in personal interactions. When Tom came to work on one of my projects, I was warned about a situation that he had created with a client on a previous project. Now, conventional wisdom would have had me watch for further infractions on my project, attribute them to his weakness, and write it all up on his annual review. Conventional wisdom would have him spend the rest of his tenure at our company trying to correct something that I discovered springs from his deeply rooted lack of respect for people who are not well informed.

Instead of harkening to conventional wisdom, I went with my gut feeling that Tom really could not change his attitude, at least in the time he was working with me. So, I made sure that I placed Tom in the role where he was likely to excel due to his numerous technical and analytical strengths—as technical coach. However, for all client interactions, I insisted that Tom and another team member, Linda, went as a pair. Linda is a business analyst with strong technical knowledge and great client interaction skills. Between the two of them, Tom and Linda delighted our client, delivered a great system, and the entire team had fun doing it. In short, I did not insist that Tom significantly improve his weakness, I simply worked around it and built on his many other strengths.

Activity: Manage Commitments Through Personal Interactions

In Chapter 7, "Open Information," we saw that in order to be useful, transforming exchanges between team members should result in the making, keeping, and coordination of commitments; those commitments should, in turn, result in accomplishment and action. We also saw that different types of conversations—for action, for possibility, and for disclosure—can enable action-oriented transforming exchanges. All of these—conversations, commitments, and connected action—can happen easily only when team members on an agile project are participating regularly in close, personal interactions. To manage this network of commitments, you need to engage in close, personal interactions with team members, sponsors, and all other stakeholders.

Three main things affect all personal interactions: speaking, listening, and mood awareness. You need to attend to all three of these aspects of your personal interactions to effectively coordinate and manage the team's commitments:

  • Speaking. When making requests of other team members, make sure your requests are clear and that they have clear conditions of satisfaction. Target your speech to generate action in others. When you make promises to your customers, ensure that your promises have clear commitments, such as completion dates. Keep your speech positive and open to develop trust.
  • Listening. Listen carefully to your customers, sponsors, team members, and other stakeholders. Assume nothing and ask questions whenever something is even remotely unclear. Clarify conditions of satisfaction when your customer makes requests of the team. State your understanding of things regularly as an act of active listening. Listen openly and positively to give others a positive impression.
  • Mood awareness. Pay careful attention to moods and try to shift them when necessary. Emotions and moods color how people react, speak, and listen. Positive moods generate positive thinking, speech, and listening. People are more hopeful, confident, and receptive to what you might have to say when they are in a positive mood. Negative moods generate negative thinking, speech, and listening. People are more negative and less likely to listen to what you have to say when they are in a negative mood. If you remain positive and maintain a positive mood, your presence can have a positive effect on the parties with whom you interact. If you remain aware of the moods on your project, you can even actively shift the mood in a positive direction.

By attending to your speaking, listening, and mood awareness, you can make a positive difference in the close, personal interactions you have with others on your team, and consequently, you can better coordinate commitments toward action.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020