There has been a lot written and said about Steve Jobs over the last couple weeks.
As I watch Walter Isaacson on Charlie Rose this morning I am both inspired and shocked imagining what it would be like working for Steve.
There is a story of Steve Jobs telling Wosniak he had four days to write BreakOut for the Atari.
Woz said it would take two months to write this much code.
Jobs looked him in the eye with that unblinking stare, and said:
You can do it in four days.
And Woz did it in four days.
Now of course this is exactly the opposite of what we teach in agile.
You don’t go forward with a plan you don’t believe in.
You don’t ignore your team’s estimates.
And you face reality.
Except that in this case Steve was right. We we would have been wrong.
It’s an inspiring paradox.
All the people who survived his often brutal management style, were fiercely loyal to the end and said:
He made me do things I didn’t think I could do.
How so should we reconcile this with agile? Is this a management style we should emulate and recommend, or even strive to copy?
I don’t think so. There are a couple things I believe are very unique to Steve.
# 1 Passion
# 2 Drive
# 3 Uncompromising rejection of mediocity.
Most of us don’t have these qualities in abundance. Nor are most of us prepared to make the sacrificies it takes to do the things he’s done.
There are always going to be examples of heroic stories of people doing the impossible against all odds. And that’s good. We need to be inspired.
I just don’t think it’s a model that works for everyone. Nor should it.
Now I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find these stories inspring, or I didn’t get fired up every time I watch Steve’s Standford commencement speech.
But at the end of the day, I’ve got remember that what worked for Steve, won’t work for me.
And I’ve got to find my own way.