Meaning, Mastery and Magic

In my conversation with Ward today, one of the topics we discussed was the paper _The Theory of Graceful Extensibility_ by David Woods. This paper explores the essence of sustainable adaptability as systems grow with increased complexity.

>Sustained adaptability refers to the ability to continue to adapt to changing environments, stakeholders, demands, contexts, and constraints (in effect, to adapt how the system in question adapts). > The key new concept at the heart of the theory is graceful extensibility. Graceful extensibility is the opposite of brittleness, where brittleness is a sudden collapse or failure when events push the system up to and beyond its boundaries for handling changing disturbances and variations. > source

There is an interesting correlation with Nassim Taleb's concept of Antifragility.

This discussion got me pondering the nature of the healthy, high-functioning teams that are essential for adaptability.

These teams seem to need three core elements: * Meaning * Mastery * Magic

**Meaning** The work that the team is doing needs to feel meaningful to each of the team members. It needs to align with a Higher Purpose that is worthy of their committed efforts.

**Mastery** In order for a team to confidently extend feature sets or to quickly respond to unexpected code surprises, they must have not only an understanding, but feel a deep sense of mastery of their domain code.

**Magic** Developing solutions that unleash the creative genius of team members must feel, at times, magical - unexpected illuminated brilliance that are part of a shared Hero's Journey.