At Agile 2009, Mary Poppendieck presented on “Deliberate Practice” – how people become experts. The video and slides are available from InfoQ.

Consider the fifth value statement proposed for the Agile Manifesto by Bob Martin:

Craftsmanship over Crap

This presentation follows in the theme craftsmanship – How do we as a community bring it about?

The answer given in this talk is we need to consider what it takes to develop elite level skills in other professions – deliberate practice.  Consider the visual note below:

Deliberate Practice

It seems to me that virtually every company I have every worked for or with has done virtually nothing to bring about excellence in technical (or other) skills.  Imagine what the world would be like if companies viewed their employees as assets and invested in them with mentoring and challenges so that they get deliberate practice.  This requires companies to think about Production Capability and not just Production.  More than just thinking about hitting the deadline.  This is an essential component in build lasting success.

Ever heard of this crazy-sounding approach called eXtreme Programming (XP)? Maybe they were on to something. 😉