Saturday, 13 June 2015

Helping


I’m currently experiencing something I never thought I would.

The technology team I work in isn’t the slightly odd, dysfunctional part of the business, tucked away in the corner, showing signs of madness, gibbering binary nonsense at anyone who strays within range. I believe we are a high functioning team and have gone further, we are reaching out and contributing to improving the wider organisational system. I know, I have fallen off my chair several times.

How are we achieving this state I hear you ask? I won’t provide an illusion of perfection but I think we are doing these things really well:
  • Saying yes, because technology is the art of the possible. Genuinely living the ethos that we can build what you need, share your priorities, help us understand, then we’ll get to it. Go to point 2.
  • Releasing stuff regularly to get feedback. I know this is old hat, but you’d be amazed what it can achieve. Roughly weekly, mostly when it’s valuable, not overloading. Asking if you want more stuff, not here’s more stuff.
  • Helping to determine what the organisation considers valuable over falling down the rabbit hole of what we can provide. The perennial conversation that we’ve all been involved with, I’ll tell you what I want, when you tell me what you can give me. Which usually results in the wrong solution to a poorly understood problem.
  • Providing coaching on the implications of technology. As in technology and what it means for the business proposition, not just how technology has been implemented. Where is it strong or weak? What choices did we make? 
  • Espousing the value of team. That every team should have everything it needs in order to succeed. If the team needs these skills, then let’s make that happen. Also, not just filling gaps. For example, not just hiring testers, but encouraging testers to encourage others to take responsibility in appropriate ways. If you hire more testers, you’ll more than likely get more testing, but less likely a great deal more value.
  • Genuinely hiring for behaviours. I’ve played at this before, but that urge to think ‘commercially’ has meant rushed decisions with months of pain. Making the hiring process equitable (you have to be happy with us, not just us happy with you) is much more pragmatic than the misery for both parties of being a square peg in a round hole.
  • Asking for clarity on the mission. Usually the technology teams are the last to know and/or understand the mission of the organisation. Not us. Rather than trying to hide on the periphery, we are front and centre of the mission, discussing how technology can enable us to realise that mission.
I personally love being a part of all this. I hope we can create an organisation which genuinely lives its values. Something I’ve been seeking for a long time.