Complaining is easy. Learning how your organization works as described here by Cindy Sridharan is hard. Which of the two do you prefer to do?

  • The mirage of aspiration
  • Know how your org works
  • Soft skills are hard skills
  • Understand implicit hierarchies
  • Cultures: top-down, bottom-up and both
  • Get comfortable with the ‘mess’
  • Look for small (and any) wins
  • Understand org constraints and manage your expectations

“Get comfortable with the ‘mess'” and I can let you in on a small secret: everything is a mess.

“This may surprise you, but continuous deployment is far and away the easiest way to write, ship, and run code in production. This is the counterintuitive truth about software: making lots of little changes swiftly is infinitely easier than making a few bulky changes slowly.”

Maybe this is counterintuitive, but ask yourself: Who has the time to manually test and release changes to production at scale? That’s right: nobody.

Lots of great ways to manage change in organizations. It’s a bunch of work to do this, but if you skip these steps, the results can and will backfire. I particularly like the guiding policy strategy where even if I don’t know something I can usually spitball the values and invariants of the situation that will fit the result.

People see this kind of talk about self-governance and think there is no process or management in such a setup while usually there is more (and higher quality) than in a traditional organization. It’s also some of the best work you will ever do.