Fetish of Wiki

Both Agile and Wiki trace there roots to the work of Xerox PARC's Learning Research Group. Although conceived as mechanism for organizing the hard work of learning, later day proponents see both Agile and Wiki as ways of making learning in the limit no work at all.

Alan Kay would explain that if computers were as powerful as pencil and paper, we'd put them in our children's hands at the same age we offer crayons.

Aside: a cell phone makes realistic images easy. A blank piece of paper makes fantastic images possible.

The computer systems from Kay's lab were both simple and powerful. Kay expected more similar progress by reinventing the work over and over each time handing it to children. But the software escaped and became an industrial tool.

It landed in my hands. I studied it. I read Kay and others to understand its use. I made up problems and solved them. Months went by. The company caught on that there was something useful there.

Managers asked how their teams might learn of this work too. I suggested "three months of undirected exploration". They were, I was told, thinking more of a two day class.

Both Agile and Wiki were born out of this disconnect. What had I learned in three months? How could I condense it into two days? I found solutions that I hoped would be as engaging as I had found Kay's software. I have succeeded in industrial settings except that people still think my work will make their work easy.

How can we learn to help Finish Each Other's Work