Saturday, December 30, 2017

"How" vs. "What"

Every year I realize that I am much more interested in how we do things than what we do.

My initial years in this profession I was completely blinded by the kind of things we can do as software developers (sending rockets to space, flying planes, distribute information to the whole planet, creating video games, robotics...).

Despite my passion for technology and the kind of products and solutions, we can create, each day I am more convinced that in our day to day life as developers, the most important thing is how we make things...

  • How we work as a team.
  • How we help others to grow as developers.
  • How we communicate and create together.
  • How we create value for our customers.
  • How we innovate in our processes, relations, learning.

Perhaps, for me, is more important the path than the destination, maybe is more important the people than the product.

The funny thing is that, at least in my case, focusing on "how" we should make things, allow me to be involved in the creation of great teams that create great products.

So to evaluate new opportunities, I follow these steps:

  • Evaluate if "What" they are doing is compatible with my ethical (See more at my Personal Mission).
  • Second, evaluate "How":
    • They talk about resources and assets or people and skills.
    • They use their values in the hiring process.
    • How they deal with the uncertainty associated with the creation of a new product.
    • They differentiate between outputs and outcomes.
    • They talk about things to validate or they already have all the answer to all the questions.
    • They have a real collaborative culture or no.
    • ...
In summary, they are optimized to change continuously? or they are tuned to produce in an industrial age that no longer exists?

If we classify "how" using the following infographic, I try to identify if they are green or teal or at least if they are open to evolve in this direction.



For me, HOW we work directly affect to my day to day satisfaction, my motivation and my overall performance.

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