(CategoryAntiPattern: This may be an AntiPattern in some instances)Problem:
A team needs direction.
A tight schedule, uncertainty of design, uneven distribution
of skills among developers, and new technologies put a project into
jeopardy. Perhaps drastic action applied to a ScapeGoat has already occurred.
There may even be a PeaceMaker in place, or even a DoorMat.
Powerful personalities can have profound effects
Powerful personalities can have huge, destructive egos
More than one Guru on a team may generate conflict or induce schism
Gurus are very often the only possible hope for a project
Reliance on Gurus rather than teams can lead to very low TruckNumbers (Thanks to Neil B. Harrison of AT&T for the metric!).
Entrenched existing management may deliberately create stumbling blocks and obstacles.
Entrenched existing management, whose egos prevent them from participating in the CultOfPersonality, may revert even further to the behaviors that got them into this mess in the first place.
Once the team is on track, e.e.m may decide that the guru's job is done, remove the guru, and be back where they started (along with the impression given to team members that the guru has inexplicably become a ScapeGoat)
Bring in a legendary figure among the developers, or at least revered by
management, to take over the lead.
Guru-like figures who can inspire awe or at least intimidate team members
can redirect a failing team through sheer force of personality. When the
Guru's name is spoken in hushed tones, or is used as a seal of verification
("Well, Archibald says that...") then the goal has been reached and the
team is now manageable. Those team members who are not awestruck may need
removal or reeducation if the charisma of the Guru is insufficient. Such
heretics can be unsettling elements in a reformed team.
At times there is no remedy in the face of disaster other than to throw a
compelling personality into the mix.
Author: DonOlson 95/09/14
Another aspect in the Resulting Context is that the introduction of a guru/hero raises expectations of both management and team that may be unrealistic. Along with this pattern the guru/hero must practice ManagingExpectations if they are going to operate in an environment where the organisation understand facts rather than desires or wishes. In addition your hero/guru probably wants to be fixing (or making visible) the underlying problem that resulted in the dysfunctional team - otherwise the organisation is not learning and an organisation that is not learning will become a failing organisation in due course.