Session

The Power of Curiosity, the Limits of Expertise, and the Danger of Earned Dogmatism

Is cholesterol bad for you? Does flossing work? The answers to these questions seem to change with every new study. It can be frustrating to learn that what we once held to be true is now false, and vice versa. It's certainly better than the alternative; if we weren't curious enough to challenge our assumptions, we'd still be using leeches to suck the diseases out of our bodies. This is the perpetual cycle of the scientific community: challenge assumptions, retest, and learn. As much as we take this learning mindset to heart in the Agile community, sometimes we fall short in practice. As product owners, we put large batches of software into production without testing whether or not our customers want it. As coaches, we advise our customers to implement good practices that worked well a decade ago, without regard to better practices that have emerged in their place. Why do we do this? The answer might be found in the concept of Earned Dogmatism. The Earned Dogmatism Effect suggests that we become closed-minded and dogmatic in our thinking when we allow ourselves to be labeled as an expert in a field or domain. In this talk, John Krewson will offer several antidotes to Earned Dogmatism. Together, we'll challenge several closely held Agile assumptions, we'll investigate curiosity as an alternative to expertise, and we'll connect curiosity and a growth mindset to improving as agile coaches and product owners.

John Krewson

Sketch Development

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

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