I understand the desire to copy others. I do it all the time. I read an article about Facebook having no QA department, or see first hand how Spotify delivers projects with no Project Managers, and I can’t help but wonder how if they can do it, why can’t we do it here?
There’s just one problem. Copying others is never that simple.
When we see or admire what one company is doing, we are only seeing it through the lens of the end result. And not the underlying foundations that were setup to get them there.
Facebook can get away with not having a QA department because of the huge level of accountability they place on their engineers. Not to mention the insane level of talent.
Spotify doesn’t have formal Project Managers. But it empowers, and gives a level of autonomy and independence to it’s teams, so that teams are inspired to manage themselves.
For fun, this is the conversation I imagine trying to have with the Oil and Gas executive back home.
“OK. For next year we are going to try something new. No annual budgets. When Toronto asks us how much we are plan on spending, we will simply say we are going to spend whatever the cost is for us to work here this year. Our burn. That’s our budget. And in exchange for that they will empower us to do whatever it takes to meet the goals we have jointly agreed upon and laid out before us.”
Needless to say this wouldn’t fly.
But that’s my point. It wouldn’t fly because most companies won’t give the trust and accountability necessary to get the level of commitment and passion they see and read about in others. For their employees it will always be a job.
So am I saying we should give up, stop looking to others to inspiration, and just accept that we work for companies that will never give us the levels of autonomy, accountability, and independence we crave.
Hell no. Just remember. Not everyone wants this level of accountability. For many people work IS just a job. And trust is something that needs to be earned.
So keep reading. Keep studying. And keep looking to others. Just understand. What works at Apple, or Google, won’t necessarily work out of the gate at yours. Don’t get discouraged, keep trying to make where you work a better place, because at the end of the day, what other choice is there.