teaching with your mouth shut

In comp.software.extreme-programming yesterday Laurent Bossavit produced out of the hat the following quote from Donald Finkel’s book Teaching with your Mouth Shut:

“No thought, no idea, can possibly be conveyed as an idea from one person to another. When it is told, it is, to the one to whom it is told, another given fact, not an idea. The communication may stimulate the other person to realize the question for himself and to think out a like idea, or it may smother his intellectual interest and suppress his dawning effort at thought. But what he directly gets cannot be an idea. Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at first hand, seeking and finding his own way out, does he think.”

This is Laurent’s support for the idea of learning the craft of programming via kata, and for me it hits the nail right on the head. Finkel’s method seems also to be supported by NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) philosophy, in which the meaning of what one person says is defined as the impact it has on the listener…


I just had a project cancelled. So if you know anyone who needs an agile coach or analyst in the Manchester area…

why coaching

Joe Ely writes a very enjoyable and insightful blog detailing his discoveries as he learns about the Lean way of working. And this weekend’s post is a wonderfully clear demonstration of why a coach is essential in providing an external and objective point of view on your progress in any change exercise.

(Only last week the AgileNorth group saw the consequences of not engaging a coach when we invited Andy to talk about his company’s experiences adopting DSDM.)