Creating value for customers is at the heart of what we do. The following ideas are aims at improving the velocity at which we can add value to our product and processes. While originally drafted for engineering teams, we believe most of the ideas work just as well when applied to non-technical roles.
Fix problems while they’re small
A common rule we should always try to heed is to detect and fix any problem at the lowest-value stage possible.
We care about working on the right things, not doing more than needed, and not duplicating work. This enables us to achieve more progress which makes our work more fulfilling.
- Boring solutions. Use the most simple and boring solution for a problem. You can always make it more complex later if that is needed. The speed of innovation for our organization and product is constrained by the total complexity we have added so far, so every little reduction in complexity helps. Don’t spend time making an elaborately formatted slideshow when a simple list will do. Engineers: don’t pick an interesting technology just to make your work more fun, using code that is popular will ensure many bugs are already solved and its familiarity makes it easier for others to contribute.
- Be respectful of other’s time Consider the time investment you are asking others to make with meetings and a permission process. Try to avoid meetings and if one is needed make attendance optional by making the invite optional, by having a clear agenda linked from the invite, and by documenting the outcome. Instead of having people ask permission trust their judgment and offer a consultation process if they have questions.
- Spend company money like it’s your own. Every dollar we spend will have to be earned back, be as frugal with company money as you are with your own.
- Frugality Amazon states this best with: “Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.”
- Short verbal answers Give short answers to verbal questions so the other party has the opportunity to ask more or move on.
- Keep broadcasts short and concise And keep one-to-many written communication short, as mentioned in this HBR study: “81% of businesspeople surveyed say that what they read is frequently ineffective because it’s too long, poorly organized, unclear, filled with jargon, and imprecise.”
- Responsibility over rigidity when possible we give people the responsibility to make a decision and hold them accountable for that instead of imposing rules and approval processes.
- Accept mistakes Not every problem should lead to a new process to prevent them. Additional process make all actions more inefficient, a mistake only affects one.
Write a Pitch
Whenever you feel compelled to call a meeting or otherwise interrupt your team members, considering writing a pitch instead:
Write a Pitch If you need to decide something as a team make a Pitch instead of calling a meeting to get everyone’s input. Having a written Pitch will be a much more effective use of everyone’s time. The people that receive the proposal should not feel left out, the person making it should not feel bad if a completely different proposal is implemented. Don’t let your ego to be involved early or to see your solution implemented stand in the way of getting to the best outcome.
The concrete is still wet. Everything is in draft at White Rabbit and subject to change although we rarely put draft on any content or pitches.
See If it’s important, write it up
Work as part of the community Small iteration makes it easier to work with the wider community. Their work looks more like our work, and our work is quicker to give feedback too.