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What if Nothing Matters but Communication?

chantastic profile image Michael Chan ・1 min read

Last year I gave talk — Hot Garbage: Clean Code is Dead.
It's about my journey as a programmer and accidental descent into being an asshole.
The practical take away is that uncertainty isn't as bad as we fear.
We don't often have enough information to make right decisions.
That's fine. We make an wrong decision and fix it in time.

It’s good. You should watch it.

That talk spun up a question that I can't shake:
What if nothing matters but communication?
Can a team that's naive — but united — cover more ground than a team that's right but individualized?

That question has changed the way I work.

Instead of seeking an answer, I seek discussion.
Instead of trying to persuade, I try to educate.
For every interaction, the goal isn't an outcome but a continuation of the conversation.
And that conversation is delicate.

My hope is that a strong team, with a healthy process, will make better decisions with time —
Even if we have to burn a few early decisions.

This is new experiment for me.
What's your experience?
Have you been on teams that focus on unity over outcomes?
What was the effect on work and moral?

🤔 chan

Discussion (5)

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chantastic profile image
Michael Chan Author

having successful team mates

This is interesting. How do you define "successful" teammates?
Internal success — dependability?
External success — track-record?
Other?

The only unity needed is, like I said, a respectful environment.

This is good. Thank you

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Jamees Bedford

I agree with this so hard.

I have never considered myself an amazing programmer, but I have excellent skills in communication having come from a managerial career for 5 years before making my way with code.

My career has been a fairly fast climb and I put this down to my communication ability. I can talk to designers, I can talk to product owners, I can talk to clients, I can voice my opinion in meetings, whereas arguably a lot of the "more technically talented" people I have worked alongside can't do those things.

Other individuals will therefore always approach you, rather than the other people. You are the one that is talked about and you are the one that therefore progresses.

I was lucky enough to take a leadership role early last year, and I inherited a team that had its issues. The communication between the team was in a sorry state. Strong characters would overspeak introverts and people wouldn't be happy talking about their frustrations and would rather let them bubble over.

I made it my mission to start conversations and get people to express their feelings. If you didn't like something, then say about it regardless of how high up the food chain you sit. Everyone from each discipline now has a slot to speak in a stand-up rather than the senior speaking for a junior. It was hard to start with and there were some heated arguments, however, the change in the team just through talking to them has been drastic. We are infinitely stronger for it all.

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Michael Chan Author

I love this success story.
Thank you so much for sharing!