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Liking Alikes

These findings pose some challenges for software developers. One difficulty is that most everybody seems to prefer to work with people who are essentially like themselves, while better team performance seems to result from putting together people who are essentially different. Having a variety of skills and a variety of working styles in which to carry out those skills gives team flexibility.

I think of this matter of team diversity as not unlike ethnic diversity in the larger world, especially the contribution of ethnicity to the richness of culture and cuisine. It would be a much impoverished world without chiles rellenos, tom kah gai, szekely goulash, pesto sauce, lamb vindaloo, coq au vin, strange-flavored beef, pasta primavera, paella, and feijoada. If we are to learn how to function well in diversified teams, we need to learn to value the diversity in skills, background, and style as much as we value diversity in diet.


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