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Instances of Responsibility

12 February 2004 No Comment

My wife and I use our cell phones as alarm clocks. We have two phones on which we set alarms that are 5 minutes apart, to act as a sort of snooze. (I don’t know why we haven’t just invested in a real alarm clock, but that’s besides the point).

These phones usually reside on a window sill away from the bed so that we have to actually get up out of bed to turn them off (otherwise we’d just stay asleep). The window sill used to be nearer to my wife’s side of the bed, but she recently redecorated, making the sill closer to my side (completely unintentional I’m sure). After about 2-3 days of waking up and turning the first alarm off and stumbling back to the bed half asleep, I commented to my wife (who was also half asleep), “There used to be a time when you would get up and turn off the alarms. That used to be your role.” To which my wife promptly replied, “We don’t have roles in this family, just instances of responsibility.”

That was the most inspiring maxim I’d ever heard from a half-awake woman at 6:30 in the morning. I thought it was a fitting phrase to describe collaborative code ownership: “We don’t own code in this team, we just have instances of responsibility”.

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