Guiding principle: cross-pollination over imposed standards

Standards are useful to simplify learning and address variation of performance

Standards are useful to avoid everyone having to learn a new way of doing things every time they interact with a new team.

3 teams with different answers to 2 questions: 1. Where to ask questions; 2. How to make requests. First team: Jira, Jira. Second team: Slack, Email. Third team: Prayer, Owls.
Non-standard team interaction protocols
3 teams reinventing the wheel
Re-inventing the wheel rather than spreading it via a standard

The problem with imposed standards is context

There are problems with imposing a centralised standard.

One team invents a wheel so a central authority imposes a standard for all teams to use wheels. One team says “Wheels! Cool!” while another team says “Uh, we’re on water…”
Imposed standards are not optimal for all contexts

Cross-pollination encourages de facto standardisation while allowing for flexibility

Ensure everyone is aware of defaults but also has the autonomy to choose an alternate approach as appropriate.

One teams invents the wheel. There is cross-pollination across teams. The central authority tries to make it easier to use wheels. One team says “No thanks, we’re on water. We’re trying something we’re calling sails.”
Make defaults easy but leave the option open for alternatives

Cross-boundary protocols generally warrants stronger guidance, even imposition

Communication and interaction protocols across boundaries are where standardisation is important even if it requires more imposition.

“We’ve decided we don’t like how HTTP is defined. Here are the verbs we use and how to interpret our error codes.”
Standardisation are more important for protocols and may warrant imposition



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Jason Yip

Jason Yip


Staff Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl