“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” — Stuart Smalley, Daily Affirmation
Folks, let me start by paying you a compliment: You are good at what you do.
You’re smart, you’re hard-working, and you’re a good team player.
You probably don’t hear that enough. I’m sorry about that.
Between putting out fires, fighting tooth and nail to make your commitments, running from meeting to meeting, and trying to keep everyone sane and happy — looks like you can hardly catch your breath.
Unlike Stuart Smalley, you barely have time to gather your thoughts, let alone give yourself a pep talk.
But I know. I know how hard you work, how hard you try to deliver, how tirelessly you toil to keep things moving, to make things better.
I see you.
I see more than you. I see everyone.
I see the entire network of collaborators required to get a single feature out the door. To fix a bug. To resolve an incident. To patch a vulnerability. To spec out a new regulatory requirement. To design an interaction. To test better. To meet an SLA. To course-correct.
Each of you is very good at your job, but how do you become better as a whole?
That is an age-old question. Well, we’ve solved it for manufacturing. And now it’s time we solved it for knowledge work.
Every one of us is a specialist. You’re a product manager, an engineering lead, a developer, a coach, a tester, a UX designer, a customer success manager, a release manager, a PMO, a security officer.
You’ve built your career on being excellent at that thing you do. But when you don’t own the whole pie (and let’s be honest, even when you do), there’s a limit on what you can change, what you yourself can directly impact.
Unless everyone becomes oriented to the same goal of faster, better deliveries.
Unless everyone becomes mindful and aware of where things are slowing down through that delivery pipeline, feeding from the same data set.
Unless everyone can incorporate the notion of improving the flow of business value through their respective disciplines, getting the right resources and investments to the right places to release blockages?
So, now, in practical terms:
Software delivery is built on many specialized disciplines. You can personally be good at what you do, while the company fails as a whole. We both know there’s very little satisfaction or reward in that.
Or, you can be very good at what you do, at a company that’s very successful. Now, that sounds much better, wouldn’t you agree?
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