Measuring dysfunction

Rule by Fear

These are some cultural behaviours & artefacts that I have learnt to value over the past decade working in the Software development industry.

I use them as feelers to measure how dysfunctional(or efficient) a particular Team or team leader is and what could possibly be done about it ?

I also use them to keep myself and my organisation honest !

How would you answer these questions from your experience in your current team &/ organisation ?

  • what do you hear more ? “I have never tested this before, this is not my area of code” vs “Lets give it a go…I will go & find out”
  • do you get together often to celebrate success ?
  • do you get together often to self reflect on failure ?
  • is the “box” questioned ?
  • does everyone in the team knows “WHY we are doing this project ?”
  • do you reward knowledge sharing ?
  • do people feel loved back ?
  • do people pair ?
  • do people crowd around critical problems?
  • do people often palm off problems to “experts” ?
  • do people take responsibility only when it is mandated?
  • can people say no ?
  • do people say no ?
  • are they heard ?
  • do peers recognise peers publicly ?
  • how are bug escapes reacted to ?
  • is accountability executed or individuals ?
  • what were we doing last year ? what are we doing this year ? do I know what will I be doing next year ? do you ask this often ? do the Team ask this often ?
  • do people pursue problems ?
  • do you slow down to be able to speed up later ?
  • do you run capability projects ?
  • are people efficient at eating mammoths ?
  • do you get more opportunities to fail ? (after a failure)
  • do general facilities get better with hierarchy?
  • do you have a training budget ?
  • do you have an entertainment budget ?
  • are jerks allowed ?

P.S. This post is inspired from Lou Gerstner’s (the legendary IBM CEO) quote….

“I came to see in my time at IBM that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end an organisation is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”

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