Territories, Not Hierarchies - Using Pressfield's The War of Art to Enable Small Self-Organizing Teams, Intrinsic Motivation, and Organizational Change

Steven Pressfield's The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle is well-known to artists, especially with authors struggling with writer's block.  It's a bedrock inspirational tome, focused on the artist finding his or her true self, breaking through resistance, and contributing his or her unique gifts to the larger whole of society.
If what we do when we create software isn't engineering, isn't factory work, and isn't science - aren't we saying it's creative work?  Art?  Craft?  We shouldn't be surprised that Pressfield's classic for artists chasing the muse has a lot to teach us in the technical realm.
In this presentation, we'll focus on an important aspect of the book - the artist's orientation - of which Pressfield provides two possibilities, hierarchical or territorial.  We'll examine how this relates to "two pizza teams," product vision, software craftsmanship, intrinsic motivation, and effectively and appropriately breaking down organizational hierarchies.
Be prepared for a unique, artistic view of our industry!

Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • High School and the Hierarchy
  • Stevie Wonder and the Territory
  • Where am I?  The difference between Hierarchy and Territory
    • The Hack
  • Territories and Small, Self-Organizing Teams
  • Territories and Intrinsic Motivation
  • Territories and Organizational Change

Learning Outcome

Outcomes include:

  • Understanding software as a creative, artistic endeavor
  • Using an artist's mindset to tackle common development issues
  • Using connections between The War of Art and software development as effective metaphors for learning and changing

Target Audience

Anyone involved with the software industry

schedule Submitted 8 years ago