Speaker, teacher, and coach, helping product teams improve their practice to achieve greater impact.
A few days ago a conversation with our most senior Dev executive triggered this dilemma, worth exploring in more detail.
The argument went something like this: we want the teams to feel ownership over their decisions and select the best tools, techniques, and processes for every challenge their face.
On the other hand, we want to have a strong set of best practices and architecture standards that we have evaluated and decided to be the best for our business and services. We have the tools to “enforce” the correct use of them.
These two goals are in conflict. What should we do?
The first thing to mention is that I do not quite believe this is actually a real dilemma.
Let’s imagine a new team of developers we just hired. They join the company and are assigned their first product to work on. They would probably “love” to have a set of best practices, tools, and process to follow. It would actually make things easier for them, showing the “golden path” and being able to use common scripts and homemade tools to support those standards.
A few months later they decide to work on a new feature for their product. They face a very particular challenge that they feel is not compatible with the golden path. They should know that breaking the golden path is possible (even encouraged) when it doesn’t fit their purpose. They may need to ask for a particular access (for instance, access to change a particular server configuration that most teams do not have access to), but it will be possible and congratulated after the successful launch of the feature.
Moving away from this “new team” perspective, a more realistic scenario is how team seniority affects the possibility of moving away from golden paths.
Any company has more junior teams that need those golden paths “enforced”. This teams usually work on “business as usual” problems and features for which the golden path was purposely defined. There would also be senior teams, that will be pushing to create new and better standards that would later be incorporated into the golden path.
Going back to the “new team” scenario, I said:
“They should know that breaking the golden path is possible”
I believe there lays the cultural problem.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear feedback and other people stories on this topic.
If you enjoyed it and want to receive more tools & tips to improve your product, you can subscribe here and join hundreds of readers!
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.