Making the undesirable desirable – a lesson from Tom Sawyer

Today’s Google home page celebrates the birthday of Mark Twain with images that tell the story of Tom Sawyer convincing his friends to whitewash his fence for him. It is an example of making the undesirable desirable. You can read more about the story on wikipedia and here are some pictures of the story courtesy of google:

An article I wrote on Agile Adoption has been published by InfoQ. One of the strategies and patterns for change in that article is to “make the undesirable desirable”. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“A colleague of mine recently experienced some resistance from his team when he asked them to try pair programming. Instead of forcing them to do it, he simply asked ”What would it take to get you to try it?” When they joked that they would gladly try it if they had a big screen TV to use for paired programming, he quickly obliged and the rest was history. The new behaviour became fun – it became desirable.”

Although Tom used this strategy for selfish gain, this strategy can also be used to affect positive change in your organization. You can find more strategies and examples useful for your agile adoption in the InfoQ article.

Re-posted from

About WinnipegAgilist

Steve Rogalsky - An agilist and team member at Protegra with a passion for agile and lean principles and practices. Green bar addict, agile player/coach, teacher, dad, husband. Email: steve.rogalsky at protegra dot com


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