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Chapter 3. Negotiating Consensus > Debate and Dialogue

Debate and Dialogue

Lack of clarity or agreement on criteria is not the only thing that can hinder negotiation to technical consensus. Free-wheeling discussions are not only the heart of consensus teamwork, but they're fun. Vigorous discussion, however, can cross the line into rancorous debate. Neither the courtroom nor the political podium offers a good model for consensus-based teamwork. Whether or not the adversarial approach works in the justice system, it is essential that design and development groups not end up as debating societies.

In one training class in object orientation, a member of a student design team complained to me that his group was getting nowhere. They were repeatedly getting bogged down in seemingly endless wrangles. Even what little progress they were able to make was seriously substandard compared to other teams in the same class.


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