The data suggested that the success of teams had much less to do with experience, education, gender balance, or even personality types; it was closely correlated with a single factor: “Does everybody talk to each other?”
Ideally this talk was in animated short bursts indicating listening, involvement and trust – long speeches generally correlated with unsuccessful outcomes. For creative groups such as drug discovery teams or for traders at financial institutions, say, the other overwhelming factor determining success was: do they also talk to a lot of people outside their group? “What we call ‘engagement’ and ‘exploration’ appeared to be about 40% of the explanation of the difference between a low-performing group and a high-performing group across all the studies,” Pentland says.
It was important that a good deal of engagement happened outside formal meetings. From this data, Pentland extrapolates a series of observations on everything from patterns of home-working (not generally a good idea) to office design (open and collegiate) to leadership. “If you create a highly energetic environment where people want to talk to each other right across the organisation then you have pretty much done your job right there.”
– via, Sunday, 11 May 2014.
Via Peter Sibel, criteria for hiring:
Write a program that does what it’s supposed to do Write idiomatic code Debug a program that you wrote Debug a program someone else wrote Debug the interaction between a system you wrote and one you didn’t File a good bug report Modify a program you didn’t write Test a program you wrote Test a program you didn’t write Learn a new programming language Explain a program you wrote Explain what a program should do Explain your ideas Simplify a piece of code Simplify a design Understand someone’s explanation Disagree fruitfully Teach someone something Clarify the points of a disagreement Make engineering tradeoffs in an appropriate way Ship code Create abstractions Optimize code Come up with ideas Listen Talk Measure things Write clear documentation Write clear emails Write clear design documents Work cooperatively with other people Help other people improve their ideas Help other people explain themselves clearly Apply relevant algorithms to real problems Review other people’s code and help them improve it Divide work into reasonable pieces for other people to work on Find appropriate algorithms to use to solve problems Recognize good ideas from other people Stick with it Know when to give up Hold yourself to a high standard Hold other people to a high standard Focus your efforts on what’s important Recognize what’s important Inspire your teammates Do what needs to be done Lead Follow Diffuse interpersonal tensions Tell people hard truths Identify problems Devise solutions Start things Finish things