Ninjas are not your problem.  Feel better now?  Let me explain.

Ninjas are everywhere, or at least musical ninjas are needed everywhere if you believe the job hunters.  'Super awesome company looking for ninja rockstar to save their ultra cool application, big data in the cloud experience a must!'

Just like hackathons, I don't believe the lack of ninjas is the real problem in a large number of shops.

I see requests for ninjas:


  • To help with quality problems...when a team is continually asked to 'go faster'.  Maybe your speed is the issue?
  • To help a team with skill deficiencies.  Maybe allow space and time for your teams to learn affectively?
  • To 'lead a team'.  Seems strange that you need to recruit a lead from outside your teams, why not try creating an environment where teams bind together affectively? What is stopping your current staff from growing?
  • To 'create next generation of blah blah blah'. How about allowing your current team to talk with and understand the problems they are trying to solve first?


I'm not saying that there aren't some real difficult problems that require top chops to solve.  I am saying that few places have those problems and instead are looking for the 'ninja-optimization.'  Sadly, those ninjas will likely either fail or leave though as the environment is not condusive to addressing the real constraints - command and control structures, silos, organizational lack on team consistency, misunderstanding of quality, no view of systems.

Before you go off and look for a ninja, why not see your current system needs a ninja and what you can do about it?