Photo by Francesco Gallarotti

A dream for the future

A holistic approach to software development

Inspired by a citizen science project “Youtopia conversations” I would like to share my Youtopia in the area of software development. Just for fun, let’s see what it would look like.

There is a vision that has been popping up in my mind every once in a while. It’s a dream and it is still under construction. It has also been influenced by my experience with WeCamp in which I participated three times. WeCamp was awesome and it contains several elements that I would like to include in my dream. Maybe you would like to dream with me, expand it, beautify it. It’s about a new stream of software development that will run parallel to the current stream. It will have more holistic characteristics. It will include sustainability, nourishment, beauty, health, diversity, inclusion, learning, healing. I call it the Slow Team.

I’m asking you to drop all ideas and notions about what software development should look like. Drop all the constraints, concerns, current reality. Dream with me. Feel into it.
How does your heart respond? How does your body respond? Does it feel joyful? Playful? Will your heart sing? Are you ready? Let’s go!

The Slow Team will not replace the Fast Team. And people don’t have to commit to either the Fast or the Slow Team. Mobility exists between the two. You could even imagine developers being part of both teams, two days in the Fast Team, three in the Slow Team. The Fast Team will be for quickly running experiments, bringing new ideas to life and to market, etc. But some code will need to stand the test of time. That code deserves the Slow Team. It deserves care. It deserves patience and reflection. It deserves refactoring and thoughtfulness. It will be code that is easy to understand, despite it solving complex problems. It will be easy to read, simple. New contributors will feel the joy that is put into it and will contribute with joy. The code will not make you feel stressful. It will breathe ease and grace. There is room for feeling into the code. Playing around to make it more beautiful. The users of the software will also feel the love and care that has been put into it and it will help them relax and be more present. Because so much care is taken to really think about this code, refactor it to make it easier to reuse and maintain, it will not age as quickly as before. In the long run this will save money.

But… forget about money for now, just dream with me.

The Slow Team will be the ideal place for juniors to gain knowledge and experience of good practices. There is no rush, no hurry. There are teachers and carers that have patience and love. That are there to guide you. But at the same time you are contributing. The code is meant to be taken into production, but it is also a playground for learning and developing yourself. As a professional but also as a human being.

This Slow Team is ideal for developers with a burn-out. Here they can restore, catch their breath. Here they can get in touch with their joy again. No ego games here. We are not here to compete. There is time for meditation, taking care of the body with wholesome food, working in the garden to stay grounded and in touch with the earth. Beingness is considered equally important as doingness when it comes to writing good code. Talking a walk in nature, might just help you get the ideas you need.

We are approaching problems by first going within. Going to our hearts, asking what the code wants from us. Visualizing. This can also be done as a group. We will practice patience. Allow solutions to appear in the right time. We will discover the bottle necks within ourselves and dissolve them. There will be healers around to help with that.

Whatever we do, we will be in touch with our heart and our body. What will bring us joy today? What does my body need? What does this code need? How can I help and serve others. How will this code serve the greater good? There is a lot of emphasis on feeling. Not feeling like in ‘I feel sad, or angry’. If sadness or anger will arise, we will sit with that. But feeling, with our heart and our body. Sensing: what is needed in this NOW moment. What is in my way? What do I need to look at or work through? What do I need to heal in myself in order to move forward? How much can I give today?

There are no fixed working hours. When there is inspiration, we can even work at night. However, when the body signals that it needs our attention, we will listen, without shame or guilt. We trust that our love for what we are building, and our desire to contribute will bring us back to our work.

There will be workshops Non Violent Communication (NVC) so that we will be able to maintain harmony with each other, and communicate boundaries and needs in a respectful way. Everyone is encouraged to grow as a person so that we will all be able to care for each other. Just like there will be very skilled technical teachers there will also be very skilled healers. All will be able to code though. It’s just that the emphasis for some is more on technical excellence, and for others more on healing skills.

Tech guru’s are invited to share their knowledge, give masterclasses in return for healing, meditation or workshops oriented at NVC, gardening or cooking.

How to care for the carers? They will have mentors from outside of the software industry for their personal/spiritual care. And they will seek technical knowledge from within the broader software community. Always staying in touch with their purpose of being the Slow Team, keeping their ego in check. They will stay in touch with systems of governance like Sociocracy and the evolution thereof. There will be intervision groups. In order to not become a closed (minded) community we need everyone to be part of other communities as well. Bring in new, fresh ideas.

Breathing out……

And… how does it feel to dream like this? Did you like it? Do you feel like adding to the dream? Things are created in our imagination first, before they manifest into reality. Are there elements in this dream that can be put into practice already? Have fun!

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