Over the last few years I’ve collated a few simple values that help steer me when I begin work with a new team or product.
They’re values I’ve learned through work, sometimes the hard way, through reading and conversation with smarter people than I. I’ve learned that applying them has helped build both great products and shape really high performing teams.
I’ve also, most importantly, had a lot of fun learning these values and using them each day.
I by no means take credit for coming up with all of them, there’s a mixture here from large companies (e.g. Amazon) and various little ones from other startups and firms I’ve come into contact with.
Hope this one pager is useful and let me know if you agree!
Keep things simple
Complex things are generally slow, difficult to use, hard to understand and rejected by users. The most beautiful solutions to complex problems generally have their roots in brutal simplicity.
Think big and invent
Whether it’s a new product or feature or way of working for the team, always be ready to pivot your thoughts and aim for the ‘10x’ opportunity.
Teams and individuals thrive on ownership, seek it and share it. We build better products when our hearts and minds are invested in them.
Test and Learn
Building prototypes, functional code and designs, then testing them iteratively means hypothesis can be constantly refined and solutions adapted.
Steer our decisions with evidence
Use every piece of analytics data, every insight, usability feedback, casual feedback, research or white papers you can get hold of to shape our approach at every stage.
Bias for action
Speed matters, calculated risk taking beats hesitation. Doing nothing has less value than trying, failing and learning.
User centered design
The success of our products will be based on their adoption by our users. We should thoroughly understand them and drive our designs based on their values and needs.
Short cycle feedback
We need to learn quickly and apply that learning quickly. Testing small scope in short cycles will give us valuable learnings rapidly.
We will build and release our products frequently, maximising our opportunity to learn and refine new features. Minimising the risk of regression of quality/reliability.
Conversations over Documentation
Agile teams can build product quickly because they remove the barriers to communication and collaboration. Conversations drive requirements and solutions. They are more valuable than schemas or rigid plans.
It’s ok to copy
The sincerest form of flattery as they say. If there’s a great way of doing something already out there that will work for us, use it as a pattern, emulate it and refine it. Many global companies have succeeded doing just this.
Don’t reinvent for the sake of it
Lean growth is about spending the least effort to learn and achieve the most. If there’s a way to save your effort and spend it in a more valuable way – seek it.
It’s ok to disagree and challenge
Great teams have strong players with distinct views, experiences and skills. It’s ok to disagree and shape a consensus. The diversity of a team is it’s key strength, everyone is there for a reason. Debate is the process for quality. Regular Retrospectives are a key part of our process.
Collaboration at every stage
Building the right thing is about listening, sharing and working together. Share insights, approach and techniques to build stronger products.
Regularly review our processes
Agile teams frequently change approach and this flexibility is their key strength. Nothing is rigid.