November 9, 2020

Startup cults & Totalitarian teams

"It looks like a plane but will it fly ?"


Every religion needs a devil. I've been that devil myself on a few dysfunctional teams that were manipulated by political management and leadership. They all failed catastrophically. The successful teams that I have been on at a global scale never had this dynamic.

Weak teams that never take personal responsibility always need a communal scapegoat to divert attention away from their own toxic divisiveness. When the scapegoat,  after exhausting all long-suffering attempts to build the team, leaves, it doesn't take long for it to fall apart.

No number of "productive" and "fun" rules put in place by overpaid contractors and misguided leadership will ever save a company. Culture itself is an emergent property of a group of honest high quality people that can never be artificially created or compensated for by pure process or board games at lunch.

I recall reading the Agile Manifesto almost 20 years ago and thinking it was a great step in the right direction when I read about "People over Process" and "Adaptation over plans".
Doesn't seem like most in the industry have learned anything about software engineering in the past 60 years as they still believe in silver bullets.