Xuxo Garcia

An infra developer • A father • A dude

Our Anti-Sigma approach (Part 1)

Some months ago I returned to the passionate and exciting environment of a smaller, entrepreneurial software shop here in Denver. My new role includes being a manager for a small team, provide some direction, and help spread a culture that continues the growth of our products and services.

After being in large corporations and even a global entity for a bit, I started asking myself: How am I going to do this? What have I learned that can be provided as advise? What worked and didn’t work in my previous programs? I had been an unconventional lead for a while, how will I do here?

Within weeks it started to become clear to me: I had learned a ton of what worked and didn’t work on the subjects of team dynamics and abstracted management. Now it was down to how to apply it! Then, the “how am I going to do this?” piece showed up! I was going to Ctl+Alt+Del, “sudo shutdown -r now” most of it!

Each team structure is different. Each individual component of that team is different. Each team member contribution is built on a unique personality and set of experiences…so why bother re-shaping a group? Why not create your own communal experience? That’s exactly what we did and it has been AWESOME!

Some of us on this team came from common backgrounds and that served as a foundational piece, or zócalo, so I admit it makes a structure easier to form. With that in mind, a bit of relief arrived, and a smile was displayed in my office when we pronounced: “We’re free of Six Sigma!”…We quickly wrote that down!!! A bit later: “Do we have to sit through borderline offensive training videos?”..No!!! We wrote that down also! And finally: “Can we write stuff how we want it?”..Yes!!!

Now we had formed a conspiracy to show how it could be done….The Anti-Sigma Force!

Our team’s Anti-Sigma approach has these basic principles we adopted:

  • You are an adult and know how to be responsible
  • Common sense is an essential tool at your disposal
  • Be elegant, minimal, and check for errors
  • Assume my cat has to be able to run our dev work (without supervision!)
  • Share and collaborate
  • Credit is owned by the team

That’s it! Those 6 items are all we need to be a happy, productive, efficient team with a high success rate. Furthermore, it saves the enterprise financial resources as well as technology-related ones. (Maybe the supply of Megan’s sinful double chocolate chip cookies might also have a little to contribute to our joy, but we’ll never know since we’ll keep eating them!)

Now we had a team philosophy! We threw in a bunch of Invader Zim references, an Archer poster, music sharing, and a Jodorowsky mention on our team blender and six months later the results are amazing. First we have….

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