I'm all three kinds...

Are you part of the nominal masses, a zealot, or a silent doer? I'll confess: I'm all three.

Last week I talked about three kinds of people: Nominal masses, Zealots, and Silent Doers.

And I asked which one you are.

Now I’m going to confess: I’m all three.

It depends on the context.

For many things, perhaps the majority, I’m part of the nominal masses.

I’m a nominal chef. I know a little bit about cooking. I can have a conversation about it. But if any real chef comes along, he’ll just roll his eyes as I explain how I scramble an egg. Or if any zealot comes along, she’ll criticise my choice of knife.

I’m also a bit of a zealot when it comes to liquor. Particularly whiskey and rum. I love the experience of when someone goes form “I tried whiskey, and it was gross” into “Oh wow, I really like that whiskey! I guess I just never tried a good one.” But of course, anyone who really understands whiskey will put me to shame in a moment, if they choose to. I know just enough to be “dangerous” as they say.

So where am I one of the silent doers? It’s a bit harder to tell. Becuase these are often the places where I excel without realizing it. But if I look back on past experience, and the times people were surprised about things I did, which I thought were just normal and expected, that might be a clue. Maybe explaining technical concept in a way that is easy for beginners to understand?

Anyway, what’s my point?

That none of these is necissarily better or worse than the other, in absolute terms.

We can’t all be experts, or silent doers (even at a sub-expert level) in all areas. It’s okay to be nominal in many, perhaps even most, areas.

It’s also useful to have zealots. Without them, we’d never have new converts to the next great way of doing things.

What matters is: Are you content with your position, on the topics that matter?

If you’re a “nominal DevOps practitioner”, is that okay for your career?

If you’re an “Scrum zealot”, is that where you want to be?

If you’re a “silent doer of agile”, are you content there?

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