Goals and alignment

This is the third part in a series of posts on goals, picturing a dreamplace and taking a direction. First part was mainly contemplations around the entire thought of goals and directions. The second part was an attempt to describe my utopia, to better understand why I take the actions I do and where they might lead. This post will mainly focus on where, as in area, to set goals and how I would try to formulate them in order to make them successful tools to work with.

When I started thinking about this whole thing it was a big pile of… undefined thoughts. But as I progressed and saw how for example the swedish party Socialdemokraterna had formulated their goals in the past I got an understanding and ideas of how to break it down. There isn’t just one big goal, there are several that makes up a whole picture. I think that we, within the IT industry have a few that are pretty well defined areas that would benefit greatly if we could picture it and get alignment around trying to achieve those goals.

Take USA for example in the fifties and sixties. They really wanted to win the cold war and the Space Race and went from zero to hero and landed a man on the moon within 10 years. That’s an pretty awesome achievement. So how do we win our own space race?

I think if we could start by identifying the different areas we have at hand that would be a start. In my mind we have technology, architecture, infrastructure, work process, environment (the physical space around us) and organization. Then we must picture what it would be like when it all comes together in perfect harmony. If we can’t picture it, who will believe in us? And how do we know what it will be like? And does it seem to match?

The reason I think we need all of these are because they are entangled and dependent on eachother. If one weighs too heavily it will tip over.

I would not formulate rules and guidelines about how to achieve any of these, because in a sense it’s all about the journey. Not the actual goal. Imposing too many rules, or creating a step-by-step guide will take away the fun of discovering. Then you would never know what you are missing out on. Remember, these are just goals, which are tools for improving and pointing out a direction.

What more to keep in mind is that you are not in this alone. There is probably a team and a whole organization behind you as well. This means that part of the goal with these goals, are to create something to gather around and gain momentum from the entire collective working together. This should suggest that you can’t set any of the goals on your own, you need to do it together. Would you buy someone elses dream? You can always describe your utopia, if it’s good and something that many agree on you should go. On the other hand, if there are worlds between dreams that might indicate that not everyone is meant for eachother.

I intentionally left economy and finance out of the goals, but not because it’s not important but rather because it should be part of everything you do. No money in, no money out to you. Simple. At the same time I can easily see that if you have passion and execute what you are doing extremely well I think there is money to be made.

So what about those goals? From where we are right now, I’d set a technology goal around webservices and moving towards RESTful API:s, mostly for their ability to express relations and inherent meaning as well as being technology agnostic for the consumer which opens up for flexibility. Architectural wise I’d aim for small (micro?) services deployed independently and communicating internally via some kind of bus which everything flows through. The teams would be more or less autonomous, and they’d decide between their members how many they see fit and what capabilities they need. The work process and environment are also up to the teams to decide. But when it comes to work processes, remember there are different types of work to be done and they might need different processes. On the topic of environment I’d love to see each employee be able to customize their work station, so just hand over a pile of cash and make them do their priorities of what is important. Same goes with each team, but what do I know? They might choose to work remotely?

All of this said and done. What if you reach the goal? Good job! But sorry to say, the goal should already have moved. You’re on a race to the stars…

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