Borrowing terminology from the Cognitive Load Theory originally developed by John Sweller, Information Technology professionals face three types of cognitive load at work: intrinsic, extraneous and germane.
- Intrinsic cognitive load is related to the complexity of the task itself (adding two numbers is easier than designing a database structure).
- Extraneous cognitive load is generated by the environment in which the task is executed, e.g. making sense of a new code base or following a complicated deployment procedure.
- Germane cognitive load refers to the learning efforts that make work easier. For example learning about the domain area and customer needs helps the contributors to make better implementation decisions and make sense of the new feature requests faster.
Eliminating extraneous cognitive load, providing sufficient domain knowledge and allowing contributors to focus on the intrinsic complexity of their tasks are the essential steps towards high performance.
In case of the Doggy-style Management anti-pattern, throwing team members "in the cold water" without proper onboarding increases extraneous cognitive load. As well providing little transparency on the context and thought process behind product decisions limits the ability of the contributors to design the implementation that addresses customer needs in the best possible way.
This anti-pattern impairs the ability of the team to Deliver