A long-time friend pointed me to another "categorize yourself" site the other day, this time it's a Programmer Personality Test. He pointed out that it's only 12 questions, wouldn't take long, and he'd be interested in how I scored. I found the questions really irritating, but the results led to some interesting discussion that my friend suggested might be worth a blog entry.

I get either a DLSB or PLSB, depending on which arbitrary choices I make on several questions where neither option is at all representative of my world view. He found this interesting, since I'm the only other person he's talked to about this that also got a P. He also noted that LS seems to be very strong in all the "real programmers" he knows, and wondered if that might be why managing programmers is so much like herding cats.

One of the bits that I find so artificial about this is that the model that I personally find most effective in the loner/group continuum isn't reflected by the questions at all. It's neither a "do it all myself" nor a "engage with everyone before doing anything" approach. The free software community collaboration experience has proven to me that the most effective approach is a hybrid, where you "do something" followed by engaging collaborators, who may well help you decide to throw a lot away, which is ok if it was a learning experience, and/or it leads to a better result. In the end, you may not even be the center of attention or "owner" of the result.

In fact, often the way to get something done right is ensure that you get the right person to do it, which often isn't yourself... but the strategy for getting the right person to do it is almost never to engage in group-think before doing any work! It seems to me that in our community, leading usually starts with doing, while success is related to who else gets motivated to follow your lead and join in the doing...