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Building and Scaling a High-Performance Culture

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Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL http://bit.ly/2Ju9Gkh.

Randy Shoup discusses team autonomy- how high-performing companies own their destiny from idea to development to deployment to operations; trust- how we need to foster a culture of trust among the individuals on a team, and between the teams themselves; and pragmatism in the product development process- how we need to define the problem we are solving, and solve it in the simplest way possible. Filmed at qconlondon.com.

Randy Shoup is a 25-year veteran of Silicon Valley, and has worked as a senior technology leader and executive at companies ranging from small startups, to mid-sized places, to eBay and Google. He is currently VP Engineering at WeWork in San Francisco. He is particularly passionate about the nexus of culture, technology, and organization.

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Building and Scaling a High-Performance Culture

  1. 1. Building and Scaling a High-Performance Culture Randy Shoup @randyshoup linkedin.com/in/randyshoup
  2. 2. InfoQ.com: News & Community Site Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ autonomy-trust-pragmacy-teams/ • Over 1,000,000 software developers, architects and CTOs read the site world- wide every month • 250,000 senior developers subscribe to our weekly newsletter • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • 2 dedicated podcast channels: The InfoQ Podcast, with a focus on Architecture and The Engineering Culture Podcast, with a focus on building • 96 deep dives on innovative topics packed as downloadable emags and minibooks • Over 40 new content items per week
  3. 3. Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide Presented at QCon London www.qconlondon.com
  4. 4. @randyshoup Successful companies need to be able to •  Build a Product •  Sell a Product •  Get Along
  5. 5. Background @randyshoup
  6. 6. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. -- Peter Drucker @randyshoup
  7. 7. Culture eats strategy and organization and technology and process and … for breakfast. -- me @randyshoup
  8. 8. Westrum Model of Organizational Culture •  Generative Organization o  Trust and Sharing •  Bureaucratic Organization o  Rules and Processes •  Pathological Organization o  Fear and Threat @randyshoup
  9. 9. Elite vs. Low @randyshoup
  10. 10. High-Performing Organizations è 2.5x more likely to exceed goals o Profitability o Market share o Productivity @randyshoup
  11. 11. High-Performing Culture • Trust and Collaboration • Autonomy and Accountability • Pragmatism and Progress
  12. 12. High-Performing Culture • Trust and Collaboration • Autonomy and Accountability • Pragmatism and Progress
  13. 13. Psychological Safety •  Team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking •  “Being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences” •  More important than any other factor in team success @randyshoup
  14. 14. Theory X vs. Theory Y •  Dr. Douglas McGregor, 1960 •  Leadership’s beliefs about what motivates employees @randyshoup
  15. 15. Theory X vs. Theory Y •  Theory X: people are inherently lazy, avoid responsibility, require extrinsic motivation •  Theory Y: people are intrinsically motivated, seek ownership, want to perform well @randyshoup
  16. 16. Cross-Functional Collaboration •  Open communication o  Individuals encouraged to work directly with each other o  Prefer informal cooperation over formal channels •  Best decisions made through partnership o  Agreement on goals and priorities makes it easier to agree on tactics o  Given common context, well-meaning people will generally agree •  “Disagree and Commit” @randyshoup
  17. 17. None of us is as smart as all of us. -- Japanese proverb, as quoted by Bob Taylor @randyshoup
  18. 18. Google App Engine Reliability Fixit •  Problem: Reliability issues in production o  8-hour global outage in Fall 2013 o  Reliability issues had not been prioritized •  Step 1: Identify the Problem o  All team leads and senior engineers met in a room with a whiteboard o  Enumerated all known and suspected reliability issues o  Consolidated into 8-10 themes @randyshoup
  19. 19. Google App Engine Reliability Fixit •  Step 2: Understand the Problem o  Each theme assigned to a lead or senior engineer to investigate and learn more about o  Timeboxed for 1 week •  Step 3: Consensus and Prioritization o  Leads discussed themes and prioritized work o  Assigned engineers to tasks @randyshoup
  20. 20. Google App Engine Reliability Fixit •  Step 4: Implementation and Follow-Up o  Engineers worked on assigned tasks o  Minimal effort from management (~1 hour / week) to summarize progress at weekly team meeting •  è Results o  10x reduction in reliability issues o  Broader participation and ownership around the health of the platform o  Improved team cohesion and camaraderie o  Still remembered several years later @randyshoup
  21. 21. WeWork Signup Retrospective •  Problem: Signup issues in production •  Step 1: Identify the Problem •  Step 2: Understand the Problem •  Step 3: Consensus and Prioritization •  Step 4: Implementation and Follow-Up •  è Results @randyshoup
  22. 22. High-Performing Culture • Trust and Collaboration • Autonomy and Accountability • Pragmatism and Progress
  23. 23. “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” @randyshoup
  24. 24. Autonomy and Accountability •  Give a team a goal, not a solution o  Measured by clear, customer-oriented metric(s) •  Give the team autonomy o  Let team own the best way to achieve their goal •  Hold team accountable for *results* o  Responsible for producing business value o  Responsible for the results of their choices @randyshoup
  25. 25. Traditional Organizations Idea Development Quality Operations @randyshoup
  26. 26. Full-Stack Teams Idea Development Quality Operations Idea Development Quality Operations Idea Development Quality Operations
  27. 27. Business / Domain Alignment <Business Domain> •  Aligned around a business problem o  Clear goals and metrics … o  … that matter to customers! •  Well-defined area of responsibility o  Single application / service or set of related applications / services @randyshoup
  28. 28. End-to-End Ownership •  Teams own their roadmap •  Team owns service from design to deployment to retirement •  No separate maintenance or sustaining engineering team @randyshoup
  29. 29. High-Performing Culture • Trust and Collaboration • Autonomy and Accountability • Pragmatism and Progress
  30. 30. What problem are you trying to solve? @randyshoup
  31. 31. “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.” -- Charles Kettering, head of research at GM @randyshoup
  32. 32. Engineering is about solving problems … @randyshoup … Sometimes we solve those problems by writing code.
  33. 33. “Building the wrong thing is the biggest waste in software development.” @randyshoup
  34. 34. Fewer Things, More Done @randyshoup
  35. 35. Feature 1 Feature 2 Feature 3 Feature 4 Feature 5 Traditional Organizations Month 4@randyshoup
  36. 36. Feature 1 Feature 2 Feature 3 Feature 4 Feature 5 Continuous Delivery: Fewer Things, More Done Month 4Month 2@randyshoup
  37. 37. Continuous Delivery: Iterative Development Month 4Month 2 1a 1b 1c 1d 2a 2b 2c 3a 3b 3c 3d 4a 4b 4c 5a 5b @randyshoup
  38. 38. Quality Matters @randyshoup
  39. 39. “Do you have time to do it twice?” “We don’t have time to do it right!” @randyshoup
  40. 40. The more constrained you are on time or resources, the more important it is to build it right the first time. @randyshoup
  41. 41. “Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.” @randyshoup
  42. 42. Vicious Cycle of Technical Debt Technical Debt “No time to do it right” Quick- and-dirty @randyshoup
  43. 43. Virtuous Cycle of Investment Solid Foundation Confidence Faster and Better Quality Investment @randyshoup
  44. 44. 1. Unlearn behaviors and mindsets 2. Relearn new skills, strategies, and innovations 3. Break through old habits and thinking @randyshoup
  45. 45. High-Performing Culture • Trust and Collaboration • Autonomy and Accountability • Pragmatism and Progress
  46. 46. “The culture of an organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” -- Gruenert and Whitaker, School Culture Rewired @randyshoup
  47. 47. “If you can’t change your organization, change your organization.” -- Martin Fowler @randyshoup
  48. 48. We are Hiring! 700 software engineers globally, in •  New York •  Tel Aviv •  San Francisco •  Seattle •  Shanghai •  Singapore @randyshoup
  49. 49. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ autonomy-trust-pragmacy-teams/

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