image: © Richard Vignola (CC BY-NC-ND)

Pressure the team … you know, on my submarine I could physically pressure the team … by pumping more air into the submarine … awesome, right?

David L. Marquet, Key Note Agile Leadership Event in Rotterdam, December 1st 2015

How do you feel about “putting pressure on the team”?

 Our brain

When we’re under stress, we can’t use or prefrontal cortex, because stress activates the fight/flight mechanisms in our limbic system.

Jenni Jespen, talk Empowering people is impossible, Agile Leadership Event in Rotterdam, December 1st 2015

Writing software, testing software and stakeholder interaction to clarify requirements typically require active, deliberate thought processes performed in our prefrontal cortex. Processing stress (as well as hunger and other emotions) is done in our limbic system, which takes precedence over other parts of the brain. This results in less oxygen and blood flowing to the prefrontal cortex, resulting in degraded performance of that area.

My conclusion: teams that don’t experience stress perform better on typical tasks performed in software development.


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