Culture of Excellence


This is a summary of the original blog post titled Cultivating a Culture of Excellenceby Mike Fisher.

What is a Culture of Excellence?

A Culture of Excellence involves a lot of factors. Of great importance is your team. The individual becomes less of importance then the bond between them, their trust and how they approach a shared responsibility. This goes along with a healthy team environment, where the individuals don't point fingers at each other in case of failure but instead step-up and find a solution together.

Empowering Teams

What do we mean by the word empower in this context?
The author mentions how important it is to trust your team and let them play a bigger role when it comes to the features that need to be built. They shouldn't just be code monkeys that take orders. Instead the should see themselves as problem solvers and take accountability, as well as bring in their own ideas. This is the distinction he mentions between task driven vs empowered teams.

Why should we get problems to solve and not features to build?
The individual teams have a better view of what is possible and can come up with better solutions to a customers need. Product / Business people might not know if some things are realistic in a given time frame.

How can empowerment lead to more accountability and success?
Team members will identify more with the product and therefore show increased accountability compared to ones that just take orders.

Measuring Results: Metrics That Matter

Successful release deliveries are only the stepping stone on the way to solving the customer problem. Instead of measuring releases / epics, the author recommends to measure so called foundational / actionable metrics like customer churn, revenue growth, conversion rate.

Hiring and Firing

Both are crucial elements of high-performance culture and should be strategic decisions.

What is the analogy of seed, feed and weed in this process?
You want to seed culture by hiring talent that aligns with your companies ideals. You then feed your talent by providing the best tools and resources to let them flourish. The last step is to weed, but in a way that shows dignity. Treat them like you'd want to be treated

Team Dynamics

Team Dynamics matter more than a couple 10x engineers.

What is the role of trust, failure and shared responsibility when it comes to Team Dynamics?
Trust: Means that the team can rely on each other and to bring all your thoughts and ideas to the table without fear
Failure: Accept failure as a challenge to overcome on the way to success
Shared Responsibility: While every team member has their own goals, team goals are priority number one

Velocity, Experimentation, and Learning

What are the two metrics when it comes to that?
1. How quickly can you deliver? -> The faster you are at delivering any, the more you can learn from
2. How accurate are you in estimating the value of features delivered?

Clear Goals and Alignment

“If you don’t know where you are going, you likely won’t get there.”