José Mota — The blog

Cultural prints impact behavior and judgement

04 July 2012

  • self-development

The greatest thing about attending conferences is that they expand your mind in more than one direction. Particularly in my case, Agile Portugal has definitely caused an impact on my assertion of knowledge, judgment correctness and acceptance of life. More than anytime I have come to realize that being a developer takes more than just knowing how to type some kind of jargon, soft skills are just as demanding.

I've come across American developers lately, not so young but still as passionate. I felt their passion when they were talking about ways to improve software development through Agile practices, and these are people with more than thirty years of experience. There must be something they value greatly that drives them forward and makes them argue about stuff in a reasonable yet remarkable manner; it's called culture.

A picture of culture

Culture is a topic studied by experts and it's not surprising to see why. Cultural prints affect people's ability to make decisions and judge behavior and/or people. Political portraits of countries like Germany, United States or Portugal are very different.

In Germany people are better paid to do their job. This is a sign that they trust people to do their job well; and they do! It's considered to be a great country to live in because german people are naturally good professionals; it's in their blood, sort of speak.

On the the other hand, Portugal has the exact opposite behavior. People are badly paid because of we have this cultural cancer called «pull-it-off-ness». It's in our blood to support corruption and get paid for it, we avoid paying taxes whenever possible because we'd rather do it than start a revolution and actually make things better. We talk more than we act because we're hipnotized daily by this false sense of democracy and socialist government.

The United States have this American Dream thing. You gotta work for it but you can achieve it. American people value action and knowledge over cheap words and desperate bashing. They'd rather choose to be pragmatic over yelling at dogma. Better yet, they actually believe they're capable of doing things and they refuse to believe otherwise. There's this culture of enticement and supportiveness towards one's will to chase something better.

So does this means I'm portuguese and I'm cursed for life...? well not exactly. These confrontations I have every now and then mess with my core values and that's a good thing, it keeps me focused on what really matters for me. I still have a long way to go regarding my way of making the world a better place.

Considering the impact of culture in software development:

Teams should embrace the right side of their culture and dramatically reject its bad parts. I finished my last talk with my personal goal in life: “be happy”. It should have been be happy always because my country wants to be happy one way or another, and I like that goal but not its cultural approach.

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