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๐Ÿฅง Pie-Mail issue 51 - where does culture begin?

published3 months ago
3 min read

Hello!

Guess what! This is the 51st issue of pie-mail! I thought this was going to be a special '50th' issue, but it turns out I miscounted.

Thanks so much to everyone that's been following along since the first one, and to those that have joined along the way.

This is something I do for fun, I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together.

I did say I'd talk this week about 'high level' test plans, and I still will, I swear. However, something else caught my attention this week, and it's been on my mind. Read on to find out!

๐Ÿ‘ Culture starts at the bottom

One of my areas of interest is organisational culture. Hey, I even co-host a YouTube series about it (shameless plug). I believe there's a strong relationship between culture and quality.

Last month, Charity Majors posted a blog on rituals for engineering teams.

She talks a bit about different 'fun rituals' her teams have had over the years, and then says something that struck a nerve with me:

One thing that stands out in my mind is that all the fun rituals tend to come bottoms-up.

It struck a nerve because I think it's true. It aligns with something that I've long believed, but kinda forgotten as I moved into a management role. It's this: culture starts at the bottom.

What I mean is, that leadership can't enforce a good culture. When they do, it ends up like this:

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Team culture can't be enforced from the top down. It needs to come from the bottom up - from within the team. That means it's up to someone in a team - not their leaders - to find ways to help them bond as a team. I guess it's one of those "soft" or "glue" skills.

Why is this important?

From where I sit, a team that's fun to be a part of is a healthy team. It means stronger relationships between people within the team. Bridges are built. People are more comfortable working together, and perform better.

As an example, in a testing role, I might need to approach an engineer about a bug I've found. This is way easier if I have a good, established, and nurtured relationship with them.

The hard thing about this realisation, for me, is that I'm a manager now. I can't be the one to be in the team, finding fun ways to work together.
What I can do is provide the space and encouragement though, for teams to do that. One thing that will make me really happy one day, is if I find out my team have secret fun rituals that I'm not aware of!

So, if you're currently in an IC role, what fun things are you doing to help bond your team? If you're further up the chain - a manager - how are you giving space and encouraging your team to do that?

I'd love to hear your answers!

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๐Ÿ–ฅ Neat stuff from around the internet

๐Ÿ“– Read

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๐Ÿ“บ Watch

  • โ€‹This is a great, and short video from minutephysics about the role of discernment in quality. It's a really interesting lens for testing - I would say it's a must-watch. (I got this link from Teresa, thanks Teresa!)
  • In Tech Engineering Lounge last week, Camy and I talked to one of my favourite people, Darragh McCarthy from Xero. Watch us chat all about building a great remote working culture.

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๐ŸŽฎ Play

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๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ Events coming up

โ€‹AWS Chatbot - How does Slack integrate with AWS? (Sep 15, Christchurch)

I didn't realise AWS had a built in chatbot service. Yoan Tresfield will be giving an introduction to AWS Chatbot, it'll be worth checking out for sure. (I love the concept of ChatOps, and it has saved me many times...)

โ€‹Data Visualisation & Component Islands Pattern and Astro.js (Sep 22, Auckland)

A two-fer from Full Stack Dev Auckland, JP Yepez from Roam solutions, and Kim Fitter from Xero. JP will be talking astro.js, Kim is going to talk about data visualisation of star maps. There's a space joke to be made here, somewhere.

โ€‹HiPPo Wrangling (Sep 28, Wellington)

Stu van Rij is hosting this session for Product Tank Wellington. He'll be talking about how to deal with highly opinionated seniors who are digging their heels in. Should be interesting!