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Part I: Group Development > Negotiating Consensus

Chapter 3. Negotiating Consensus

You can't reach consensus unless you recognize it when you have it in your grasp. This means that software development groups trying to reach collective decisions are wise to agree, in advance, on the criteria by which technical matters will be decided. What is important? What matters? What is “good” and what is “bad” within the confines of this particular project?

Many times, when a group gets bogged down trying to reach a conclusion on an analysis or design problem and says, “We can't decide which way to go,” I ask them, “How will you know which approach is better?” Engineering is about trade-offs—trading off a little more of this for somewhat less of that. Resolving trade-offs requires knowing something about the value, within a given project, of whatever is gained or lost in the trade-off.


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