I have said it before and I hate to say it again, but I have been working for 25 years in the software industry, but I have seen fairly small improvements over the years. It has been said that it is a young discipline and therefore it is prone to failure, and everyone needs to learn from their mistakes. Over the years a number of different methods, tools, processes, etc. have been presented to help us improve but still I hear more stories about projects that have quality problems and run over budget and time, compared to projects that succeed to meet their initial frames.
But let us start from the beginning with our scary story. Once upon a time, there was a group of skilled but introverted engineers. They knew how to write code and test it in diverse ways and could create masterpieces that were adorable. But still, there was a problem because the customers did not appreciate their creations when they were delivered late and cost a fortune more than agreed. The question they asked themselves was why they ended up in these situations. Then the Fairy of the Social Disciplines showed up and told them the scary truth that they were lacking teamwork and did not include their customers in their quest for the perfect software!
This is where it becomes very scary! To be able to collaborate in an effective way you need to communicate and discuss with each other! For some reason, we have more problems with this at work compared to talking to our friends, or at home with our spouse or other family members. The reason is spelled trust! Your family and friends are close, and you have selected them for a special reason. In other words, you trust them and share information, thoughts, and feelings in a transparent way. You also expect them to be accountable for their commitments and actions. The result is good teamwork and when something happens, a problem arises, you communicate and discuss how to solve it.
So, what are you afraid of? Do you feel trust at work and are you and your colleagues take accountability for their actions? Are you transparent? What is your fear? Being exposed to that you have not fully understood the customer’s needs and therefore you do decide to work “agile” and do not document the requirements? Due to tight deadlines, you do not test the software properly to not reveal any major problems. At the morning meeting, you do not raise the problems you cannot solve because your colleagues would think you are stupid. These things will in the end lead to delayed projects with quality problems!
I do not say that you should be best friends with your colleagues, but you need to build a culture of trust to be able to communicate and solve issues. Lead by example and listen to the song by Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror (no not the scary Thriller), that will guide you on this journey. Then you are on a safe way to build a culture that will form a team that can manage various kinds of issues in an efficient way.
My goal is to make you talk even though it might be very scary. In my latest project as a Business Analyst, the team has been distributed all over the world. I joined the team during the pandemic and have only met a few of them face-to-face. Still, we have been able to work in a good and efficient way. This has mainly been due to the open atmosphere and the will to solve issues by booking meetings as soon as they pop up. Of course, there have been obstacles but in hindsight, I am pleased with what we have achieved and how we have communicated and acted with trust, transparency, and accountability!
Halloween is knocking on your door so if you would like to do something really scary, talk to your colleagues!