Jack Dawson is the homeless drifter in Titanic. At one point in the movie he says, “I figure life’s a gift, and I don’t intend on wasting it.” He is happy to wander wherever life takes him. He works himself from place to place, making just enough money to make it to his next adventure.
The “Jack Dawson” developer clings on to any new technology as the ‘next big thing’, and will find ways to shoe-horn it in to places where it is not a fit. He is very appealing to the other developers because they want to try the newest techniques and tools too, He will only stay until the new technology either bores him or becomes problematic. Jack will also be hard to find once the technology has been implemented, because he will be on to the next shiny thing.
However, having a Jack Dawson on your team can be beneficial. Jack can be a great ally when attempting to convince a stodgy, corporate entity to upgrade. Jack usually has an encyclopedic recall of all the new features of the technology upgrade and is more than happy to interject them in any conversation.
Tom is the neurotic employee in Office Space, and is deathly afraid of being fired. He will do only what is necessary to keep the status quo. He believes as long as nothing changes, his job is safe. He will scoff at anything new and be the naysayer during any change initiative.
Tom can be useful in off-setting Jack Dawson. Jack will constantly be pushing for change and Tom will constantly be fighting it. When you see that Jack is getting kind of bored with a new technology and Tom has finally stopped wetting himself at the mere mention of it, then it is probably the sweet spot of beginning to implement that new technology (providing it is the right tool for the job).
Ray is the guy who built the Field of Dreams. He took a risk. Sometimes he screwed it up, but he knew he didn’t want to end up regretting not attempting it. He constantly doubted himself, but he knew he had to keep going. Granted, he was doing what the voices in his head were telling him to do, but my point is he was driven to do something that most people considered crazy. Even when his friends, his wife and even he told himself he was crazy, somewhere inside himself, he knew it was the right thing to do.
These are the innovators. These are the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world. The take risks, they fail, they learn and the get better. Obviously, this kind of person thrives in start-ups and smaller companies, but that is due to their natural aversion to bureaucracy. They want to see their ideas put into motion quickly, and withdrawn quickly if it doesn’t work. Short feedback cycles are essential to Ray. He wants to know if his idea is working or not. He wants to modify or reverse his idea if it is not working or makes things worse.
These are the agilistas. May I always be one.