The Skilled Technologist of Human Behaviour

Oct 26th, 2002 by Tony in QSM3

To understand my style and intent when I am not being congruent, others must be skilled technologists of human behaviour. If I want to make others’ jobs easier, I too have to master the same technology and apply it to the job of becoming more congruent.

The technology of human behaviour is many times more complex than the technology of software. Engineers sometimes express disdain for the study of human behaviour, saying it is a soft science, not a hard science like electrical engineering or computer science. Well, software may be a hard technology, but human behaviour is a difficult technology. Compared to you or me, an operating system is a piece of trivia.

In my interactions as a manager, as I try to understand or influence another person, I am modifying the other person’s program, or stimulating that program to get certain responses and not others. For people who have survived to adulthood and hold jobs, most programs are 99 percent functional. But one wrong bit can produce total or very large dysfunction that can destroy any software project, no matter how well managed elsewhere. Thus, the size of my control intervention is not the issue. The issue is the precision.

— Jerry Weinberg, Quality Software Management Vol 3, Chapter 11

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