Are Personality Issues Leading to Anxiety and Dysfunctional Ops?


In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

American psychologist Harry Harlow proposed that a relationship exists between the evolutionary level of a species and the rate at which members of that species are able to learn [1]. Similarly, an organization's ability to transfer knowledge is an indication of how it will successfully deal with supporting complex technologies. The entire team may be adversely impacted when an organization cannot manage its essential institutional knowledge. As Jurgen Appelo notes, “knowledge is built from the continuous input of information from the environment in the form of education and learning, requests and requirements, measurements and feedback, and the steady accumulation of experience. In short, a software team is the kind of system that consumes and transforms information and produces innovation” [2]. 

All this means that development and operations must share knowledge in order for the organization to be successful. Quality management expert W. Edwards Deming, aptly noted that it is essential to “drive out fear” [3]. To remove fear and anxiety from the work environment, all members need the knowledge and skills to be able to perform their duties. Technology professionals cannot function optimally when they are not adequately trained and informed. Successful organizations reduce anxiety by properly training their teams and establishing a culture of knowledge and excellence.


[1] Byrne, Donn. 1974. An Introduction to Personality: Research, Theory, and Applications. Prentice-Hall Psychology Series. 

[2] Appelo, Jurgen. 2011. Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders. Addison-Wesley Signature Series.

[3] Aiello, Bob and Leslie Sachs. 2010. Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World. Addison-Wesley Professional.


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