The values I align with when it comes to my work in product design and software development.
A People-first Mindset to Business
The primary goal of an ideal business should be to provide a long-term, welcoming and supportive environment for its workers. This environment is provided through relentless prioritizing of customer value but never at the cost of worker satisfaction and well being. The business entity’s purpose is to organize that relationship and provide stability. While the business can choose to syphon profits out of the system, to reward its stakeholders, to do so too quickly or in too great of quantity will likely harm the balance and sustainability of the system.
Related blog post: The Purpose of a Business is People
Continuous Improvement is a mindset that acknowledges an ever-present and mutating lack of knowledge alongside a mindful and intentional path to become better. Continuous Improvement takes a lot of energy and grit over the long haul. I try to embrace Continuous Improvement through:
- Life-long Learning
- Dedicated reading time; regular book clubs.
- At least one new programming language a year.
- Pair programming to pick up new ideas and get better at communicating abstract problems.
- Asking hard questions while fostering healthy conflict.
- Mentoring junior developers.
- Writing documentation and blog posts to capture both victories and failures.
- Prioritizing team code review and pull request feedback.
- Contributing to open source projects.
- Creating a safe space for people to be vulnerable about what they don’t know and want to learn.
- Embrace Short Feedback Loops
- Aggressively push for smaller scope and experimentation.
- Running regular team retrospective meetings.
- Having regular 1:1 meetings amongst team members.
- Always prefer refactoring over rewriting.
When I talk about Empowering Users I mean to say I value, even at the risk to the viability of the business, giving users the tools and opportunities to find the right solution for them. I find it incredibly dysfunctional when a business utilizes its leverage in one area to push the solutions of another. I embrace Empowering Users through:
- Creating systems that honor a user’s rights to privacy and data ownership.
- Building accessible software.
- Having relentless empathy for the user’s needs, even during the enviable and stressful complexities of software development.
Meaningful work starts with projects that provide an observable good to the user and the world. From there Meaningful Work usually is shaped through the culture, rituals and processes of the team executing the project. To find Meaningful Work I look for environments that:
- Have a long-term investment mindset, over short-term gains.
- Provide ownership and autonomy to its workers, allowing them to craft solutions.
- Embrace trust and transparency, allowing for informed decisions.