As software builders, our codebases own us. Because our codebases and various infrastructure are running every second of every day, this presents many unique life challenges for builders. The company owns our codebase. Thus, by extension the company owns our life. The company’s internal processes then, are a declaration of ethics about employee productivity, health and well-being.
Process is about ethics. Who am I? What is my worth? What am I willing to compromise for my employer? What part of my life does my employer own? Do they have a right to ruin my health? Do they own my confidence? Do they own my weekends? Do I owe them my evenings as well?
“We don’t need process, we need progress. We’re a small startup. Everything is slow, there are too many gates.” This lament was recently fast-pitched to me by a CEO client. I tried to explain why process is important, and that lack of process is most often replaced by semi-controlled chaos, the illusion of progress, health crashes, and risk profiles that tend to snowball into future time, only to melt during the most inconvenient season in a company’s life.