Moving fast and slow

Im sure this is the title of a book somewhere, but my first week at a new place has made me conscious of how adjusting to a new place also requires a change in pace, understanding and acceptance.

It is nice to challenge the established bias I am used to working with enterprise projects and larger teams – largely as the processes for working at scale + remote were already deeply set within the way we worked.

A few interesting observations so far:

  • Bias: Whether it’s the way we do things, interact or communicate – a new company has developed company norms.
  • Best practices: These are practices that industry and then businesses adapt (or vice versa). The adoption time can differ between the two.
  • Async vs. Sync communication: I’m used to being alone for 4 hours of my work day, and communicating with people 12-24 hours off my time zone. Getting phone calls is almost novel.
  • Having hybrid working practices: Remote first forces you to write everything down by default – a popular parlance in Automattic is “P2 or it didn’t happen” which is to say – if we discussed something on a call and it isn’t written anywhere, it also didn’t happen.
  • Finding the single source of truth: Is it slack, emails, project management tool? Maybe it’s mixed.

I have definitely noticed that I value the working practices I’ve had in at past employers who were remote-first, and take time to map that experience to the current reality.

It’s not a bad thing at all – just a note that all agencies and businesses write policies, establish norms and best practices to suit their current space in the market (or ideally to align with their future ambition and desired market position) … and it’s nice to know both world-views and intricately understand the value and potential for both.

In very real terms

The world of open source engineering means that we can 1-click fork processes and best practices within an instant… but building a culture that embraces and furthers these practices is an opportunity for change which includes everyone involved, and that definitely includes me.

It really is a privilege to be able to join what could be considered a younger team, that is both hyper-passionate and help + push each other to get better daily.

Sometimes ‘slow is fast’ and sometimes, ‘fast is needed’ … the key is balance.