We're in the new Garage: it's in the heart of Berlin. FC Garage is a simple, essential and flexible workplace. It's not minimalist, it's essential: a small room full of books, whiteboards and every sort of post-it and marker.
I'm applying a lot what I'm writing in my new Kondor Engine, my new engine and book, in the Garage. I'm looking for an organization that's ready to change direction at any moment. In the Garage we are building new productivity engines - techniques, tools, methods - applying all of our best techniques and developing new ones.
Berlin is Europe's hottest startup hub. In the red brick building we see from our window, there are at least twenty, some of which have achieved incredible results in a short period of time.
Tradeoffs & Shortcuts in Digital/Software Product Development
The growth of software products constantly introduces compromise on the quality. It is natural that any startupper, to achieve incredible results in a short amount of time, can give in to those compromises. You can yield to one of those compromises in order to be able to attract new investors or skilled developers. Or sometimes, to quickly finish up a boring feature so you can switch to something more fun or more valuable, or because of the accumulated stress from nights spent adding lines of code without reasonable organization.
Wouldn't we, too, be ready to undergo some organization and design dysfunctionalities in order to see the software product in which we have always believe win in the marketplace or to be bought out by an international company that guarantees a Porsche and a pension for our grandchildren?
No. I would not want to make this compromise.
For many years I've worked as a mentor on how to improve productivity in organizations and teams that, through time, had discovered dysfunctional organization and software systems that were difficult to manage and grow because of bad design. This happened to me, with teams of the 90s, armed with traditional designs and anticipatory processes, as well as with teams of 2000, armed with agile principles and practices. And not only with teams from other companies, but also with my own team. Inevitably, someone who does a job like mine can't help but wonder how and why quality teams, that are prepared, can get to such dysfunctionalities, even with many principles and techniques at their disposal.
The Next Step
Over the years, I have learned a lot about how to correct and improve the development process and productivity of teams. Now I need the Garage to work on a new challenge: how to make an organization grow in an efficient and effective manner, without having to go through the above-mentioned dysfunctions and without one day having to look through changes for an illusory solution to real problems.
Faced with this compromises, I would like to know what to do to be able to refuse accepting it and be successful at the same time. I would like to identify from any compromise an opportunity that allows me to grow my product with both quality and efficiency. And in any case, I would always be able to recognize a compromise, remaining conscious, aware and clear-minded during the moment in which I make the decision to accept or reject it.
This is why I'm in my garage here in Berlin.
Berlin and its startups are under an enormous amount of pressure to grow rapidly and show value to investors, which is the ideal environment in which to produce new, effective productivity engines - new techniques, new tools - in an organized and efficient context.
The new engines will be effective in situations characterised by high uncertainty and violent change, but will also guarantee sustainability at the same time. This is an element that is missing right now in the startup world, which we are currently dealing with and understand well. Sustainability makes continuous growth possible, without rising costs.
Most of the Kondor Engine revolves around issues of growth under conditions of uncertainty and change. And as usual, we are going to apply our research to our daily activities, to what is really dear to us: the Pomodoro Technique and the Anti-IF Campaign: our productivity engines. We, ourselves, are one of those startups. As usual, we test our ideas on that which is most important to us.