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The importance of ‘Why?’
by Pavel Chunyayev, 30-6-2016
DevOpsDays Amsterdam, Pakhuis de Zwijger
* This is a special web ve...
@PavelChunyayev
‘Why?’ is the most important question
• But not the blaming ‘Why?’
• Not something like:
• Why on Earth wo...
@PavelChunyayev
The higher purpose ‘Why?’
• The belief that drives you.
• The goal of your company, department, tribe, squ...
@PavelChunyayev
not ‘What?’
• You start with ‘What?’ and you are thinking on the level of ideas. But how to
compare differ...
@PavelChunyayev
not ‘How?’
• You start with ‘How?’ and get immediately into tools and implementations.
@PavelChunyayev
Why?
• How are my every day actions going to help my users?
• If we are going to implement idea or start u...
@PavelChunyayev
Don’t tell what to do
and how to do
• As a manager or a more senior team member it’s easy to tell
you team...
@PavelChunyayev
It’s a trap!
• No one likes to receive orders. They will leave
• Or people will stop making their own deci...
@PavelChunyayev
Situation can change
• Situation can change. And what was the best choice today, might
not be the best cho...
@PavelChunyayev
Vision
• What are we doing here? Why are we doing this?
• What will it look like to succeed?
• What motiva...
@PavelChunyayev
Communication
• You need to communicate the vision often.
• Everything is about communication
• Servers
• ...
@PavelChunyayev
We fail to communicate ‘Why?’
• We fail to communicate on ‘Why?’
• Either to ask
• Or to tell ‘Why?’
• We ...
@PavelChunyayev
Improvise
• It’s hard to make right decisions if you don’t know why are you doing
this.
• You need to impr...
@PavelChunyayev
Alignment is needed
• Alignment with you company’s value. Or the purpose.
• Department
• Tribe
• Squad
• T...
@PavelChunyayev
Don’t just copy others
• Without understanding ‘why?’ and alignment you are doomed to
copy others and be j...
@PavelChunyayev
Find your own way
• But you can know why you are doing something. And if you do, you
can find out things th...
@PavelChunyayev
Why? What? How?
@PavelChunyayev
Why?
• Disrupt the world of …
• Make someone’s life simpler and easier.
• Inspire and enable creativity in...
@PavelChunyayev
Why? What?• Implement
• DevOps
• Continuous Delivery
• Lean IT
• Build the right culture
• Automate everyt...
@PavelChunyayev
How?Why? What?
• Up to you :) Looking forward to Open Spaces to have all sorts of
discussions.
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Importance of why? - DevOpsDays - Amsterdam, 30-6-2016

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When working with multiple software development teams it is important to keep the teams motivated and aligned with each other while still allowing teams’ autonomy. Most architects and product managers try to focus on what needs to be done and how. However it’s more important to pay attention to why the change is needed or why the exact architecture is required. When teams know exactly why the change is needed they can find how to start and continue working without having to constantly align with architects and product management. ‘Why?’ is a hard question in software development. It’s even harder for software delivery. We know why should we automate our pipelines or why programmable infrastructure is better than snowflake server. But each one of use needs to be able to answer why we are doing this from the company mission or from the product ideas perspectives. Then we could link our daily work to something that has higher value.

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Importance of why? - DevOpsDays - Amsterdam, 30-6-2016

  1. 1. The importance of ‘Why?’ by Pavel Chunyayev, 30-6-2016 DevOpsDays Amsterdam, Pakhuis de Zwijger * This is a special web version of the ignite talk
  2. 2. @PavelChunyayev ‘Why?’ is the most important question • But not the blaming ‘Why?’ • Not something like: • Why on Earth would you do that? • Why didn’t you try to restore from the backup? • Why don’t you ever read the notifications?
  3. 3. @PavelChunyayev The higher purpose ‘Why?’ • The belief that drives you. • The goal of your company, department, tribe, squad, team. • Your strategy. • Who are you doing it for and why are you doing it?
  4. 4. @PavelChunyayev not ‘What?’ • You start with ‘What?’ and you are thinking on the level of ideas. But how to compare different ideas?
  5. 5. @PavelChunyayev not ‘How?’ • You start with ‘How?’ and get immediately into tools and implementations.
  6. 6. @PavelChunyayev Why? • How are my every day actions going to help my users? • If we are going to implement idea or start using particular tools, does it get us closer to the goal of the company or promise of our product?
  7. 7. @PavelChunyayev Don’t tell what to do and how to do • As a manager or a more senior team member it’s easy to tell you team members what to do and how to do to. • Nobody can do it better than me, so I’ll tell you how to do things! • But it’s a trap.
  8. 8. @PavelChunyayev It’s a trap! • No one likes to receive orders. They will leave • Or people will stop making their own decisions. • And you actually can never control how your fellow engineers can implement things. You need to trust.
  9. 9. @PavelChunyayev Situation can change • Situation can change. And what was the best choice today, might not be the best choice tomorrow. • If you only communicate ‘What?’ and ‘How?’ you will do wrong things. • But you need to share the vision so people could adapt to the situation.
  10. 10. @PavelChunyayev Vision • What are we doing here? Why are we doing this? • What will it look like to succeed? • What motivates you to wake up each morning? • Not exact steps and not the technology to use. The vision.
  11. 11. @PavelChunyayev Communication • You need to communicate the vision often. • Everything is about communication • Servers • OOP • Microservices • People
  12. 12. @PavelChunyayev We fail to communicate ‘Why?’ • We fail to communicate on ‘Why?’ • Either to ask • Or to tell ‘Why?’ • We fail to establish such alignment.
  13. 13. @PavelChunyayev Improvise • It’s hard to make right decisions if you don’t know why are you doing this. • You need to improvise in a lot of cases during your work as an engineer. But how to select the right action? • This is why alignment is needed
  14. 14. @PavelChunyayev Alignment is needed • Alignment with you company’s value. Or the purpose. • Department • Tribe • Squad • Team • You need to be able to validate your actions against something.
  15. 15. @PavelChunyayev Don’t just copy others • Without understanding ‘why?’ and alignment you are doomed to copy others and be just a copycat. • You might have different situation or different needs. What worked for others may not work you. You never know why they were doing something.
  16. 16. @PavelChunyayev Find your own way • But you can know why you are doing something. And if you do, you can find out things that suit you perfectly. • Find what suits your particular situation. • Find your own way.
  17. 17. @PavelChunyayev Why? What? How?
  18. 18. @PavelChunyayev Why? • Disrupt the world of … • Make someone’s life simpler and easier. • Inspire and enable creativity in people. • Provide best-class service. • Be a replacement for brick-and-mortar …
  19. 19. @PavelChunyayev Why? What?• Implement • DevOps • Continuous Delivery • Lean IT • Build the right culture • Automate everything • Measure and monitor everything • Share the knowledge
  20. 20. @PavelChunyayev How?Why? What? • Up to you :) Looking forward to Open Spaces to have all sorts of discussions.

When working with multiple software development teams it is important to keep the teams motivated and aligned with each other while still allowing teams’ autonomy. Most architects and product managers try to focus on what needs to be done and how. However it’s more important to pay attention to why the change is needed or why the exact architecture is required. When teams know exactly why the change is needed they can find how to start and continue working without having to constantly align with architects and product management. ‘Why?’ is a hard question in software development. It’s even harder for software delivery. We know why should we automate our pipelines or why programmable infrastructure is better than snowflake server. But each one of use needs to be able to answer why we are doing this from the company mission or from the product ideas perspectives. Then we could link our daily work to something that has higher value.

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