I've found that when I switch jobs, some of the biggest, most important adjustments I need to make are things that nobody at the new job talks about, even if asked. The bedrock of how a company or team operates often becomes unconscious, because it becomes hard to imagine working another way.
And I worry that teams self-report the values they aspire to rather than the values they actually hold. I've seen Agile put to great use, and I've seen it twisted into something deeply toxic. In both cases, the company and management felt they'd used Agile methods in a way that was "pretty standard."
How are you avoiding these pitfalls? Does it all simply average out once you collect enough data and compare across companies?
I love love love what you're doing. So much of the decision-making around hiring new devs, or accepting a new job, is done at the gut level. I love the idea of moving toward a more data-driven approach precisely because it could shed some light on the actual differences between company cultures.
Hi Chris! I so sorry that I didn't see this comment sooner –– I'm not even sure how I missed it!
Re: Aspirations vs. reality, this is something that teams who are truly introspective bring up themselves. Typically, teams will say outright whether X is something they're actively working towards or an accurate description of who they currently are. (This usually comes up when talking about diversity and inclusion, or code quality.)
Re: Agile example, this is exactly what I'm trying to get at! Everyone has a different definition of what Agile, work/life balance, or even engineering-driven means. I spend a lot of time "coaching" teams to explicitly write out their definition. Why? Because of exactly what you said above! People forget that how they work/operate/communicate is not how other teams work/operate/communicate.
I can't know how users interpret each value (so their are some unknowns when looking at the data I've collected thus far about user behavior), but the whole point of having profiles is for teams to tell us how they interpret each value. Now, we can all compare how different companies talk about the same values.
Did I answer your question at all? If I didn't, I hope you'll give me a second shot! 😉
No worries! I'm just grateful you spent the time on my silly questions! I'm extra-curious because the worst teams I've worked on are the least introspective, and the most likely to say they're doing things just like everyone else, have good work/life balance, etc. I think if I can avoid those places for the rest of my career, I'll be much happier. ;)
I really want Key Values to bring some sunlight to the problem, both so that motivated job seekers will have a better resource for finding like-minded teams, and so that teams will have a bit of a reality check as to how they compare with the rest of the industry.
I'm really impressed and pleased that it sounds like you're taking time with each team to create a really representative profile. That's immensely valuable for job-seekers, and I think will really help the teams your working with, too!
Best of luck!
They're not silly questions at all! They're actually really important ones.
It might help you to know that I've had 20+ teams email me with their 8 values, saying, "We'd love to create a profile!" and then never following through. They're surprised by how much effort goes into writing a profile and say they don't have time or resources. To me, simply having a profile says something about a team.
Please, let me know if you have other questions/ideas about how I can improve Key Values and help motivated job-seekers to find like-minded teams! While I identify as an ideal user for Key Values, I also recognize that I don't represent the entire population I want to serve.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.