Welcome to the team (for me).

Taking a page from two thought leaders in the software development industry (Joel Spolsky and Reginald Braithwaite), I thought I might start posting here messages within my team that have common application. I hope you'll agree or comment otherwise :)

What follows is my introduction / team orientation message to the development team at GS1 Canada.

Day 2 dawns and I am filled with thoughts of a new business domain to master, lots of bits and bytes that need to get delivered and a new team to work with.

Please notice I said team. We all come from different backgrounds, culturally and technically, and from that diversity comes our strength - IF we behave as a team. If we do not, then we are bound to fail. It's been said many times before but bears repeating: we will succeed or fail as a team. Whether it be at an organizational or personal level, I do not consider failure an option. So here comes...

Rule #1: Be a strong teammate. We all have different titles, years of experience and contract / permanent status. I do not consider any of those important factors in the way we should be treating each other or the correctness of any of our positions / arguments. Correlates of rule #1: Open and honest communication, transparency, politeness, respect. We should not need to cut anyone off to get our point across. Be patient, listen, and respond constructively. No finger pointing.

Rule #2: Get IT done. We have lots to do. We can not sit around debating forever, if the way forward is not completely clear, go in the most sensible direction and adjust as necessary when clarity arrives. Often, clarity will not come until a direction is chosen and traveled to some degree. Correlates of rule #2: Stomp on stoppers. Stoppers are anything that prevent you from getting IT done. These can be communication inefficiencies, critical bugs, analysis paralysis, organizational bureaucracy or personal / family issues.

My job is largely to help you be as productive as possible while maintaining the overall team health. To do that I will actively be spending as much time with each of you as I can but I also need and want you to come to me with any concerns. Do not sit and stew, come to me and we will find solutions or at least we can talk.

Rule #3: Don't be afraid.

  • Don't be afraid to be wrong. Ask questions that you think you know the answer to, you might be surprised by the response. If you said or did something in the past that you would like to change, don't regret it - correct it. While learning to ski I remember thinking, if I never fall then I'm not trying hard enough to improve.
  • Don't be afraid of the code. Adhere to the XP value of courage. Refactor your code if it starts to smell. Unit test, as much as possible with automated test suites.
  • Don't be afraid to question the status quo. Practice continuous improvement in your personal and professional development and in the way we exercise tools and processes to get our job done.

I could continue this for quite some time but I think that's enough to get the gist. More will come for sure but please remember the 3 rules and we'll all enjoy coming to work each day and achieve our individual and organizational goals.

In the spirit of 3, I have a set of 3 challenges for you and a prize for the winner of each:

  • The first person to send me the name of my cat.
  • The second person to send me an invite or respond to one I send on LinkedIn.
  • The third person to send me their Instant Messaging contact info so we can have brief, efficient interactions that do not clutter our mail inbox.

The winner of each of these will have their pick of any item(s) up to $20 US from ThinkGeek "stuff for smart masses".

I look forward to working with you and celebrating many individual and team successes!


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