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2023-04-27. Discipline Island
Episode 3827th April 2023 • Reqless • Aboard
00:00:00 00:27:12

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Rich and Paul, the co-founders of Aboard (a software product), discuss shipping software. They give advice to better ship products within time estimates. They also provide tips and tricks for better product management.

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Paul Ford:

hey, rich.

Rich Ziade:

Hey Paul.

Paul Ford:

Are you ready to launch our new software product?

Paul Ford:

On, I know, and we have a date for it all picked out, and

Paul Ford:

we, we have a, we have Scope.

Paul Ford:

We're about to have a big long scoping meeting.

Rich Ziade:

Visit

Rich Ziade:

a board.com.

Rich Ziade:

Sign up for the beta.

Paul Ford:

So related to that, I saw a tweet that.

Paul Ford:

Uh, made me think of you.

Rich Ziade:

Oh,

Paul Ford:

yes.

Paul Ford:

And it's by a, uh, an engineering lead who goes on Twitter

Paul Ford:

as artificial Nicks, n I X.

Paul Ford:

And she wrote the following, and I thought of you immediately After being

Paul Ford:

a manager in tech for like four years.

Paul Ford:

Now, I don't understand what everyone is saying about how, how hard it

Paul Ford:

is to estimate timing for products.

Paul Ford:

That's tweet one.

Paul Ford:

Tweet two is My team always ships on time.

Paul Ford:

Our KRS are always green.

Paul Ford:

People act like we're superheroes, but we just have our shit together.

Paul Ford:

So we should talk about this.

Paul Ford:

. Thank you Nicks Sophie for, um, giving us, uh, a good topic for this podcast.

Paul Ford:

Let's talk estimation, my friend.

Paul Ford:

Do you have any good tips or tricks?

Rich Ziade:

I sure do, but it's not what you think.

Paul Ford:

Okay.

Paul Ford:

All right.

Paul Ford:

Let's do it.

Rich Ziade:

There is something really brutal about not.

Rich Ziade:

Being held accountable to someone outside, if I tell you you can pick up your Super

Rich Ziade:

Mario birthday cake on Saturday for your kid's birthday party Saturday afternoon.

Rich Ziade:

As a bakery owner, I should probably have the cake done.

Paul Ford:

You ruined the birthday.

Rich Ziade:

You ruined the birthday.

Paul Ford:

That's right.

Paul Ford:

Don't ruin the birthday.

Paul Ford:

We should.

Paul Ford:

We should point out, there's a context here and there's a context for that tweet.

Paul Ford:

Software products are notoriously late.

Paul Ford:

Teams deliver, late, consultants deliver late.

Paul Ford:

Nothing ever lands.

Paul Ford:

And so one of the reasons people would come to us is they

Paul Ford:

would finally get their thing.

Paul Ford:

It would be expensive and it might be less of a thing than they were open for.

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford:

But they'd get it.

Rich Ziade:

Yes.

Rich Ziade:

I'm a pilot and for a 7:00 AM J F K New York to Charles Dugal Paris.

Rich Ziade:

Flight.

Rich Ziade:

I have to check in to my airline and be at the airport at 5:00 AM

Rich Ziade:

there's paperwork, there's whatever I have to do.

Paul Ford:

big checklist,

Rich Ziade:

big checklist, and you know the check the checklist

Rich Ziade:

for the plane and all that.

Rich Ziade:

So I gotta be, I gotta, I'm on the plane at six.

Rich Ziade:

We're gonna get outta there at seven.

Rich Ziade:

I gotta be at the airport at five.

Rich Ziade:

Those are, Very clear external commitments that can things happen.

Rich Ziade:

Can I have kidney stones and be doubled over in pain?

Rich Ziade:

Can the oven

Paul Ford:

No, but I need to be up by 3 45 and shaving.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah, look, things can happen.

Rich Ziade:

The oven can break.

Rich Ziade:

in, in, uh, at the bakery.

Rich Ziade:

And maybe that kid will have to take a fudgy, the whale

Paul Ford:

There can be a thunderstorm at the, at the airport or the, the, the

Paul Ford:

flight attendants can all get covid.

Paul Ford:

Like, there's all sorts of things happen.

Rich Ziade:

What's really, really hard about, uh, software,

Rich Ziade:

but also other industries.

Rich Ziade:

We always talk about software, but there are other industries that have this

Paul Ford:

No, there are, there are no other industries.

Rich Ziade:

I have one more, uh, industry that has this challenge.

Rich Ziade:

Um, the book is due,

Paul Ford:

Oh boy.

Paul Ford:

Why'd you do this to me, man?

Paul Ford:

Why'd you have

Rich Ziade:

the article, the article's due and again, course

Paul Ford:

as bad, but, okay.

Paul Ford:

Okay.

Paul Ford:

Well,

Rich Ziade:

the article has an advantage over the book, which is

Paul Ford:

shorter.

Rich Ziade:

we're going to print, we're going,

Paul Ford:

The problem with the book is they'll wait.

Paul Ford:

They'll wait.

Paul Ford:

And the book, actually, when you turn in the book, it's nine months before the

Paul Ford:

book actually goes, goes on the shelves.

Paul Ford:

The article, it might be going up on the web the later that day,

Rich Ziade:

And I think editors have come to understand that you can't pick

Rich Ziade:

up the phone and scream at the writer.

Rich Ziade:

It doesn't work.

Rich Ziade:

Just doesn't

Paul Ford:

Oh no.

Paul Ford:

Editors live.

Paul Ford:

So editors, it's, it's a pure structure of, I, I live this.

Paul Ford:

Right?

Paul Ford:

So it's a pure structure of passive aggressiveness and, and manipulation.

Paul Ford:

So the, first of all, they lie to you about the due date.

Paul Ford:

And then as you get older and more serious in your career, you, you realize when

Paul Ford:

you're being lied to and you're like, oh, well then it, it'll be the Thursday after.

Paul Ford:

That's fine.

Paul Ford:

More time.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rich Ziade:

You start to figure out the game.

Paul Ford:

Then they invoke the managing editor and the other editors.

Paul Ford:

And so that's, it's never them, they never, they're, they

Paul Ford:

understand that you're an artist.

Paul Ford:

But the managing editor just can't, they gotta get it in their

Rich Ziade:

I, I think there's a, I think why it's a challenge.

Rich Ziade:

Read the first part of that tweet again, cuz the, it's a two-part tweet.

Rich Ziade:

It's an observation and then a declaration.

Rich Ziade:

Read the observation again

Paul Ford:

After being a manager in tech for like four years now,

Paul Ford:

I don't understand what everyone is saying about how hard it is

Paul Ford:

to estimate timing for products.

Rich Ziade:

Period.

Rich Ziade:

Stop there.

Rich Ziade:

Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade:

Okay.

Rich Ziade:

What they are really saying is that, uh, the leadership who expect the

Rich Ziade:

product to be done at a certain time.

Rich Ziade:

Refuses to hold everyone accountable to a commitment and tries to simp,

Rich Ziade:

sympathize and empathize with the team and the complexities around it.

Rich Ziade:

And so what you end up with is a really snugly dynamic, but no one knows.

Rich Ziade:

Where success is anymore.

Rich Ziade:

And by success I don't mean

Rich Ziade:

business success.

Paul Ford:

a dynamic where people are all snuggling together.

Rich Ziade:

People assert themselves.

Paul Ford:

Sure.

Rich Ziade:

Engineers say, no, you don't understand.

Rich Ziade:

I once sold a piece of business, um, and I didn't architect it out.

Rich Ziade:

I didn't go looking at libraries and seeing, but.

Rich Ziade:

In my cursory understanding of technology, I sold the piece of

Paul Ford:

That's what a salesperson does.

Rich Ziade:

My head of engineering said I need to talk to you as soon as

Paul Ford:

possible.

Rich Ziade:

Right.

Paul Ford:

Ah,

Rich Ziade:

And he's like, what you, what you sold isn't possible.

Rich Ziade:

I was like, really?

Rich Ziade:

And then I, I, I sat in a very ignorant place.

Rich Ziade:

I was like, and it wasn't a time constraint, what he was doing.

Rich Ziade:

And, and we worked it out and I was like, why don't you just do it this way?

Rich Ziade:

He's like, is it okay to do it that way?

Rich Ziade:

I'm like, when did it become not okay to do it that way?

Rich Ziade:

Of course you could do it that way.

Rich Ziade:

They don't know anything.

Rich Ziade:

They don't know technology.

Rich Ziade:

Go do it that way.

Rich Ziade:

And we did it and we delivered it and we, it was one of the most

Rich Ziade:

profitable projects we ever worked on.

Rich Ziade:

And so what was going on there?

Rich Ziade:

What was going on There was, uh, the head of engineering, asserting

Rich Ziade:

control and wanting to be in the room.

Rich Ziade:

When we arbi arbitrate, what

Paul Ford:

is.

Paul Ford:

You know what, I always think of this as, by the way, the AUR theory of software

Rich Ziade:

development.

Rich Ziade:

There's your title,

Rich Ziade:

title of the podcast.

Paul Ford:

is.

Paul Ford:

It's just like this sort of

Rich Ziade:

explain, that.

Paul Ford:

so there's a, a famous, there are theories of what makes a

Paul Ford:

movie and what, what art is and where it

Rich Ziade:

Sure.

Paul Ford:

And so film in particular is really interesting because

Paul Ford:

there's the concept of the director and is the director the artist

Paul Ford:

of the movie or is the movie.

Paul Ford:

A combination of all the efforts involved manifesting together, prob led by the

Rich Ziade:

director.

Rich Ziade:

Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade:

Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford:

And so the director and software would be the

Paul Ford:

product manager in the,

Rich Ziade:

the mm-hmm.

Paul Ford:

the magazine world would be the, the editor-in-chief,

Paul Ford:

et cetera, et cetera.

Paul Ford:

So the Aura theory is that like the director is the artist and everyone else.

Paul Ford:

Falls, uh, you know, in their wake they are.

Paul Ford:

And, um, there are other theories and other concepts that say that

Paul Ford:

no, it, it's actually much more the sum total and that person just

Paul Ford:

kind of receives all the glory.

Paul Ford:

So when you talk about the art and, you know, French cinema in the sixties

Paul Ford:

was very like, There are con, there are spaces where like the director exercised

Paul Ford:

total control made these little films.

Paul Ford:

People like Godard or, or, or Vees, you know, not French, but um, where

Paul Ford:

they, it was really their vision.

Paul Ford:

And then it's like Steven Spielberg on War of the World has a team of 1500

Paul Ford:

people and you watch the credit troll.

Paul Ford:

Is there an Altura behind Mar, you know, Avengers Endgame?

Rich Ziade:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

Uh, and so there.

Paul Ford:

The Arturo theory of software development, is the engineer going,

Rich Ziade:

Yeah,

Rich Ziade:

this possible.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah,

Paul Ford:

probably French accident.

Paul Ford:

Smoking a, uh, what, what is the oa?

Paul Ford:

The, the cigarettes.

Paul Ford:

How do you pronounce that?

Paul Ford:

Do you know?

Paul Ford:

Oh, there's Like

Rich Ziade:

really long

Paul Ford:

like a French cigarette that's really

Rich Ziade:

It's really long.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah.

Rich Ziade:

I

Paul Ford:

I think it's G A L O I.

Paul Ford:

I

Rich Ziade:

let's just say Virginia Slims and get on with

Paul Ford:

whenever I get, uh, whenever I pronounce anything

Paul Ford:

French, I get yelled at.

Paul Ford:

So there we go.

Paul Ford:

Yell at me.

Paul Ford:

Um, anyway, so yes, here you are.

Paul Ford:

The engineer has said it's not possible.

Paul Ford:

You've said it's possible.

Rich Ziade:

Here's what's counterintuitive today.

Rich Ziade:

What's counterintuitive today.

Rich Ziade:

And today, you know, there's a lot of, um, there's a lot of, um,

Rich Ziade:

sort of pausing before you assert yourself in the workplace and

Rich Ziade:

in a work in a team environment.

Rich Ziade:

There's a lot of like, Don't assert your power, don't be, um, don't

Rich Ziade:

disenfranchise your teammates.

Rich Ziade:

Like there's all that, even if you're the boss, right?

Rich Ziade:

There's like, how do you get people aligned?

Rich Ziade:

How do you inspire people?

Rich Ziade:

Let me, he, let me say something that's gonna sound counter to a lot of

Paul Ford:

well, well hold on.

Paul Ford:

The dominant and, and sort of positive assessment of management

Paul Ford:

is that you should be a servant leader and that you should come in

Paul Ford:

and you should empower your team.

Rich Ziade:

I never heard that phrase before.

Rich Ziade:

I want you to never say it

Paul Ford:

servant

Paul Ford:

leader.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah.

Rich Ziade:

Here's it.

Rich Ziade:

Turns out, it turns out that you will actually have a happier team if you say

Rich Ziade:

to them, when I tell you I want something.

Rich Ziade:

on

Rich Ziade:

a certain date and we can have some dialogue about it.

Rich Ziade:

I need you to take it seriously.

Rich Ziade:

And it's like, okay, wait.

Rich Ziade:

That sounds like a jerk.

Rich Ziade:

You could,

Rich Ziade:

you could see it through that lens.

Rich Ziade:

Uh, you should always be respectful and always have a

Rich Ziade:

dialogue about what's at stake.

Rich Ziade:

But here's the thing, when you do that, There may be a little bit of friction, a

Rich Ziade:

little bit of pushback there, but believe me, down the road, they really want it.

Rich Ziade:

They actually really want it because there is nothing more painful than

Rich Ziade:

spinning and spinning and spinning and trying to do something perfect,

Rich Ziade:

um, and not being able to ship.

Rich Ziade:

People who are great at what they do want leadership.

Rich Ziade:

A, to keep the bullshit out.

Rich Ziade:

That's meaningful.

Rich Ziade:

That's part of being a leader.

Rich Ziade:

And B, clear goals.

Rich Ziade:

That's out of fashion today because that sounds like power or money or

Rich Ziade:

something.

Rich Ziade:

Power Power is out of fashion, but clear goals should not be out of fashion.

Rich Ziade:

Respect your team.

Rich Ziade:

Communicate, have a dialogue.

Paul Ford:

Here's, here's the irony of all this.

Paul Ford:

This is one of the trickiest things, and you learn this from pretty senior

Paul Ford:

execs, is that by being demanding and making hard calls, you are actually

Paul Ford:

advocating and protecting the careers of the people who work for you.

Paul Ford:

More than if you empower them to have control when they're not ready.

Rich Ziade:

Yeah.

Rich Ziade:

I,

Rich Ziade:

I have a terrible tell.

Rich Ziade:

when,

Rich Ziade:

when people, when I'm like, so what do you think?

Rich Ziade:

And you say that because you actually want to hear what people's perspective and, uh,

Rich Ziade:

people

Rich Ziade:

wanna be heard.

Rich Ziade:

People want their 2 cents.

Rich Ziade:

And they're telling you about things that can go wrong and you're hearing them out,

Rich Ziade:

and then there you should hear them out.

Rich Ziade:

But there is a point where that dialogue.

Rich Ziade:

You lose your bearings and it overwhelms everything and you've lost which direction

Rich Ziade:

you should even go or where the ending is, and you've lost control of it.

Rich Ziade:

And I have, one of the things I've, one of the skills I've built over the

Rich Ziade:

years is that when someone seems to be taking me away from that goal, And

Rich Ziade:

is taking me on their own adventure.

Rich Ziade:

On some other adventure.

Rich Ziade:

I literally tune them out.

Rich Ziade:

I will nod my, I've learned to like use my neck muscles to nod, but Karen

Rich Ziade:

Carpenter is singing in my head,

Paul Ford:

why do birds

Paul Ford:

is it that song

Rich Ziade:

and obnoxious, but it, and it isn't me like

Rich Ziade:

giving them the middle finger.

Rich Ziade:

What it is is me like, Man, these are smart people who are making

Rich Ziade:

sense and they're taking me off.

Rich Ziade:

My bearings bad

Rich Ziade:

and I need to come out of it.

Paul Ford:

Uh, you know, one of the things that happened is people

Paul Ford:

are anchored to their disciplines.

Paul Ford:

Their disciplines are their, their sense of power and control.

Paul Ford:

And so they advocate for their disciplines.

Paul Ford:

You're in that meeting and you're running the product and, and sort of

Paul Ford:

people are like, well, I need this because of this and this is how this

Paul Ford:

works and this, what happened that was weird in the last few years is.

Paul Ford:

All the disciplines kind of took their eye off of the product and got into

Paul Ford:

themselves in a really specific way.

Paul Ford:

Like

Rich Ziade:

it's, it's a product of just the demands of a job market,

Rich Ziade:

which is softening now, but it was

Paul Ford:

right.

Paul Ford:

So it's like,

Rich Ziade:

absolutely impossible to get great talent,

Paul Ford:

will only use framework X to program.

Paul Ford:

Oh, well, o.

Paul Ford:

O, okay.

Paul Ford:

I will only design this way.

Rich Ziade:

had this project 10 years ago, like, closure was like hot.

Paul Ford:

Oh yeah.

Paul Ford:

Closure is a language that's based on lisp.

Paul Ford:

For the people out there listening who even understand what that sentence means,

Rich Ziade:

they couldn't get logged in done after like four months.

Rich Ziade:

Like, I couldn't log into And so then, then, and I, I've, I've learned just

Rich Ziade:

enough about tech to understand it.

Rich Ziade:

Right?

Rich Ziade:

So I went into GitHub.

Paul Ford:

Oh, that's not true.

Paul Ford:

You actually, you know the stack pretty

Rich Ziade:

I know the stack

Paul Ford:

can

Rich Ziade:

program.

Rich Ziade:

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Rich Ziade:

So I went into GitHub and I was like, let me see what's going on here.

Rich Ziade:

And I looked at all of it, and then I called you.

Rich Ziade:

I remember I was in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Paul Ford:

was an awkward one.

Rich Ziade:

And I said, Paul, I need you to do me a favor.

Rich Ziade:

I'm looking at this.

Rich Ziade:

I don't think there's anything in here.

Rich Ziade:

And you're like, okay, I'll call you back in an hour.

Rich Ziade:

You called me back and you're like, there's kind of nothing in

Paul Ford:

I remember once I did a project and I was the only programmer,

Paul Ford:

I was the only anything on it.

Paul Ford:

And I was off on my own and I made every decision and every

Paul Ford:

decision I made was wrong.

Paul Ford:

I used the wrong database, the wrong data model, the wrong programming language.

Paul Ford:

Every, everything I did was wrong and I slept on the floor

Paul Ford:

to get it done by myself.

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

And, and I paid the price for, and then later someone came in

Paul Ford:

and replaced me and about two years later, but I shipped working

Paul Ford:

software.

Rich Ziade:

Okay.

Rich Ziade:

but you went astray,

Paul Ford:

I went to Stray, but.

Paul Ford:

I, I would, and I would, I adopted everything cool before it was

Paul Ford:

ready, but I shipped the thing.

Paul Ford:

And what had happened is they had gotten like, oh, you need

Paul Ford:

this kind of logging database.

Paul Ford:

And so, and they architected for a world that didn't yet exist, and then

Paul Ford:

they forgot to build the product.

Paul Ford:

They built everything around the product.

Paul Ford:

See, and I thought I was gonna be like estimation.

Paul Ford:

You'd be like, here's the five estimation points.

Paul Ford:

You went very meta.

Rich Ziade:

Well,

Rich Ziade:

no, I, I estimations that's a, that's a.

Rich Ziade:

That's a straw man.

Paul Ford:

See that's the thing.

Rich Ziade:

a straw

Paul Ford:

so this is the thing you're actually saying, which is that estimation

Paul Ford:

is usually presented as a set of tips and tricks for how to like define scope.

Rich Ziade:

bullshit.

Rich Ziade:

I'll tell you why it's bullshit.

Rich Ziade:

There's gimme a login and then there's industrial strength SSO two factor off

Rich Ziade:

that sends you a set of 10 codes in case you forget your two factor off.

Rich Ziade:

Estimation is useless without leadership, keeping everyone focused through scope.

Rich Ziade:

If you can't help them say, look, I know you know the best way to do it

Rich Ziade:

in the world, but I need it Friday.

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade:

Right.

Rich Ziade:

And that can sound.

Rich Ziade:

That's, that can sting a little.

Paul Ford:

Well, it also people, it, it's not just sting, people feel that

Paul Ford:

they're betraying their discipline.

Rich Ziade:

Yes.

Rich Ziade:

And they feel that you as a leader are minimizing their, their

Paul Ford:

and their value expertise.

Paul Ford:

Yes,

Rich Ziade:

So how do you get around that?

Rich Ziade:

You get around that three ways.

Paul Ford:

Okay.

Paul Ford:

Now we're finally tips and tricks.

Rich Ziade:

Tips and tricks.

Rich Ziade:

First, tell them why.

Rich Ziade:

You're not doing it because you wanna flex.

Rich Ziade:

There's, you are connected to the world.

Rich Ziade:

I hope, unless you're a nonprofit that just makes nonsense software, that

Rich Ziade:

may be, but even then, tell them why.

Rich Ziade:

Sometimes you have an externality, like an event or a presentation

Rich Ziade:

that you've, you're scheduling against, but sometimes you don't.

Rich Ziade:

So first, be transparent about why you're, you're, you're making

Rich Ziade:

them take a shorter filthier path

Paul Ford:

Let me let me make, I'm gonna pause.

Paul Ford:

So that's number one.

Paul Ford:

Number one, there's a thing I wanna say that I, I, it's a hard thing to say,

Paul Ford:

but

Paul Ford:

I am increasingly convinced as I get older and I see people in their careers

Paul Ford:

and I talk to people and I mentor people and so on, most people don't

Paul Ford:

know what business they're they just don't, they, they know their discipline.

Paul Ford:

They know that they have a kind of a job.

Paul Ford:

They know that they get a paycheck and they know that they

Paul Ford:

did okay on the annual review.

Rich Ziade:

you know who, who's like that?

Rich Ziade:

Tax attorneys.

Rich Ziade:

Tax attorneys get like their own wing that looks like a

Rich Ziade:

daycare center at the law firm.

Paul Ford:

Cause they're so valuable.

Rich Ziade:

so valuable, but they're also so weird and they're so awkward.

Rich Ziade:

A lot of the time

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

These are, you're, no one goes into tax tax law because they're like,

Paul Ford:

ah, I'm just having too much sex.

Rich Ziade:

They're not the rainmakers, right?

Rich Ziade:

They're not social.

Rich Ziade:

Some are, I'm not gonna stare, but most are like, they're almost like quant, like

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

So they're sort of famous in the law firm.

Paul Ford:

Like who's that guy that never comes out of his

Rich Ziade:

Someone else is worrying about the p and l of the law firm, the

Rich Ziade:

tax expert that really enjoys the problem.

Rich Ziade:

They're not usually the same person who goes to the cocktail parties to,

Rich Ziade:

to be the rainmaker for, for the firm.

Rich Ziade:

So, number one, be transparent about why you're telling them

Rich Ziade:

to take path B instead of path

Paul Ford:

which might actually mean explaining what business you're in.

Rich Ziade:

Yes, yes.

Paul Ford:

I, I, I know that sounds awful and reductive, but it's literally like we

Paul Ford:

have only this much budget and therefore we must prioritize in order to achieve

Paul Ford:

the goals so we can get more budget.

Paul Ford:

Half your employees have never thought that way.

Rich Ziade:

That's right.

Rich Ziade:

That's right.

Rich Ziade:

We've had employees tell us, why are you making getting more business?

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

Why do you keep growing?

Rich Ziade:

They think it's greed and they don't know it's

Paul Ford:

Well, they they don't realize that all the other business could

Paul Ford:

go away, because once you hit that state, no one assumes that everything

Paul Ford:

will just implode on any given day.

Rich Ziade:

is static.

Rich Ziade:

Right.

Paul Ford:

Well, it, especially with a small startup or an agency.

Paul Ford:

that's two.

Paul Ford:

Okay.

Paul Ford:

One.

Paul Ford:

One.

Paul Ford:

That was one.

Paul Ford:

Let's get the two.

Rich Ziade:

tell 'em why.

Rich Ziade:

Be transparent about why you're putting certain kinds of pressure over our why.

Rich Ziade:

You're saying you need

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Paul Ford:

Are you

Rich Ziade:

that outta thin Air number two, um, is probably the most important

Rich Ziade:

thing and is the hardest thing to pull off, which is if they trust you,

Rich Ziade:

you don't even have to tell them why.

Rich Ziade:

If they trust you and they trust your judgment, And there

Rich Ziade:

is a, a respectful dynamic.

Rich Ziade:

They will get it.

Rich Ziade:

And you don't have to explain it every time,

Paul Ford:

But that's only earned by shipping.

Paul Ford:

So you gotta solve the fundamental problem first.

Rich Ziade:

It's only earned by shipping.

Rich Ziade:

It could be earned by you being a great business development person.

Rich Ziade:

It could be a, it could be earned a lot of different

Paul Ford:

ways.

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

But that's a kind of shipping,

Rich Ziade:

what you're

Paul Ford:

earned by delivering what you're

Rich Ziade:

you're essentially saying is this, what you're essentially saying

Rich Ziade:

is, You are amazing at what you do, and we have an amazing team at a board,

Rich Ziade:

like it is really a world class team.

Rich Ziade:

It's like what?

Rich Ziade:

Probably the best team I've ever worked with.

Rich Ziade:

But what we're also saying is, You are a practitioner and a and and as good

Rich Ziade:

as it gets in your bus, in your craft.

Rich Ziade:

I know you don't think I have a craft.

Rich Ziade:

I know you think I put on a shiny suit, but trust me, I'm gonna

Rich Ziade:

go talk to the world about this.

Rich Ziade:

You're gonna do what you're gonna do.

Rich Ziade:

Now I'm talking about our example, but there is.

Rich Ziade:

If people there, it is the, it is the, the, the heart, the pinnacle of being

Rich Ziade:

a leader is that you don't have to put pressure and stress on people to do it.

Rich Ziade:

They believe in you and they trust you to do, to go in a certain

Paul Ford:

let, let me add one caveat, and this is universal.

Paul Ford:

Everyone thinks that everyone else's discipline is essentially fraudulent.

Rich Ziade:

O what a cynical way to, it's not close out.

Rich Ziade:

This

Paul Ford:

Not not our team, our teams, our team has worked together and so on.

Paul Ford:

But in general, designers are like, ah, engineers and engineers

Paul Ford:

are like, ah, marketing.

Paul Ford:

And everyone is like, ah, managers.

Paul Ford:

And so.

Rich Ziade:

a great way to, I mean, it's a great observation.

Rich Ziade:

It's real,

Paul Ford:

when you're earning that trust, you have to have, I mean,

Paul Ford:

look, I've learned all these lessons.

Paul Ford:

The hard way, trust, building trust with engineers is not like, I understand

Paul Ford:

how hard it is can can be to write code cuz they'll look at you and

Paul Ford:

they'll be like, yeah, it's hard.

Paul Ford:

And that's all they wanna talk about.

Paul Ford:

You actually have to have a little, it's not fear, it's just the sense

Paul Ford:

of like, yeah, I know you can get it.

Paul Ford:

I know you can do it.

Paul Ford:

Yeah, you can ship this.

Paul Ford:

I, I see it, I can see part of it, but you can see the whole thing.

Paul Ford:

And I'm counting on you to take it the rest of the

Rich Ziade:

yes.

Rich Ziade:

It's a, it's a great point.

Rich Ziade:

I'm, I'm oversimplifying it.

Rich Ziade:

You're right.

Rich Ziade:

Everyone is convinced Their own discipline is the most important

Paul Ford:

It, it's the only thing that matters because without you, if

Paul Ford:

you sub, if you subtract any of the disciplines, the whole thing does fall

Rich Ziade:

It does.

Rich Ziade:

We need everybody.

Rich Ziade:

Everybody.

Rich Ziade:

It's a team,

Paul Ford:

It's just, it's humans are very, very funny.

Paul Ford:

Okay, so that's 0.2.

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Rich Ziade:

Uh,

Rich Ziade:

0.3.

Paul Ford:

Did you have a 0.3 or did you just like the number

Rich Ziade:

No, no, I have it

Paul Ford:

have a Okay.

Rich Ziade:

I have a 0.3.

Rich Ziade:

Um, you can't do this all the time.

Rich Ziade:

You can't do it all the time.

Rich Ziade:

You have to exhale.

Rich Ziade:

You have to let them exhale.

Rich Ziade:

Sometimes you'll be like,

Paul Ford:

wait, you mean let the schedule slip?

Rich Ziade:

No.

Rich Ziade:

What you have to do is you gotta, you want your thing by Friday?

Rich Ziade:

Get it by Friday.

Rich Ziade:

But the following week, when you see a practitioner who is just

Rich Ziade:

hangar in a fold out new librarian, you kind of gotta let 'em do it.

Rich Ziade:

You gotta let them.

Paul Ford:

Oh yeah.

Paul Ford:

No little cognitive treats are very important.

Paul Ford:

They are, no, it's like Absolutely try

Rich Ziade:

by way.

Rich Ziade:

It's not just letting them kind of, you gotta give people a sense of autonomy.

Paul Ford:

Yes.

Paul Ford:

And you do that, you

Rich Ziade:

the boot on the neck the whole time.

Paul Ford:

NPM installed dog biscuit is what you just

Rich Ziade:

Look related to that.

Rich Ziade:

Also, even when they come outta the other side, you ask them to do

Rich Ziade:

something, they're, it's not the proudest moment cuz it's the junkies

Rich Ziade:

login they've ever put together.

Rich Ziade:

You say, look, I really appreciate what you guys did here.

Rich Ziade:

It looks great.

Rich Ziade:

Right?

Rich Ziade:

You gotta make them feel good even about the stuff

Paul Ford:

Have an after eight mint.

Rich Ziade:

Um, no, but this is real.

Rich Ziade:

Like if, if a designer says, I need, uh, can I think about it and

Rich Ziade:

come back to you with some ideas?

Rich Ziade:

You can't.

Rich Ziade:

Every, sometimes you're gonna say, I look yes, but tomorrow, like sometimes you're

Rich Ziade:

gonna put the pressure on and be like, look, I, I, you do whatever you want.

Rich Ziade:

I need it by Friday.

Rich Ziade:

Other, you gotta have some other times where you let

Rich Ziade:

the engineer do the refactor.

Rich Ziade:

You let the designer think bigger thoughts.

Rich Ziade:

You gotta let them exhale because.

Rich Ziade:

Especially if they're good, cuz if they're good, it, it's a huge part of who they are

Rich Ziade:

and they are not assembly line workers.

Paul Ford:

know what we're getting to at the end, at the end here, and I.

Paul Ford:

Let me, let me take a breath and articulate this.

Paul Ford:

People are loyal to their disciplines in their careers, and one of the,

Paul Ford:

one of the jobs of shipping a product is actually getting people to come

Paul Ford:

off of Discipline Island and come to Product Island and focus on the

Rich Ziade:

to Pragmatism

Paul Ford:

Yes, but Pragmatism Island, Is actually a dangerous place for people to

Paul Ford:

spend all their time because then they, they lose the, the sort of rootedness

Paul Ford:

and the connection to the things that they care about and the matter to them.

Paul Ford:

And actually they don't charge their batteries up to bring good

Paul Ford:

ideas back to product island.

Rich Ziade:

You gotta let 'em come out and come back

Paul Ford:

so there's an oscillation, and this is

Paul Ford:

interesting.

Paul Ford:

to

Rich Ziade:

I call it exhaling, I call it, it's like breathing.

Paul Ford:

right.

Paul Ford:

It's a sine wave.

Paul Ford:

You're going, sometimes they, we all gotta get on a product island and sometimes

Paul Ford:

we go back to discipline island and do the things that we love and care about

Paul Ford:

and we think are really fun and then we gotta bring those to the other place.

Paul Ford:

It's import export all the time.

Paul Ford:

I learned something on Product Island and I learned that the big

Paul Ford:

idea I thought I had was a bad one.

Rich Ziade:

Nobody liked

Paul Ford:

it.

Paul Ford:

Nobody liked it, the users didn't care.

Paul Ford:

So I'm gonna take that back to Discipline Island and I'm gonna internalize it

Paul Ford:

along with all the other work I do.

Rich Ziade:

Uh, let, let's end it with a bonus tip.

Rich Ziade:

All.

Rich Ziade:

If you're in a Fortune 1000 company and they have absolutely no sense and all

Rich Ziade:

they see is like billions of dollars flowing through the windows, they're

Rich Ziade:

always on discipline island for years.

Paul Ford:

Oh.

Paul Ford:

Discipline Island is where they live.

Paul Ford:

And in fact, you know what they do?

Paul Ford:

What, what you do in a Fortune 1000 is you go shopping for new disciplines.

Paul Ford:

You know?

Paul Ford:

Hey, how about content architecture?

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

Right?

Paul Ford:

Or, or information.

Paul Ford:

Um, I don't know.

Rich Ziade:

talked about this, by the way.

Rich Ziade:

There was a previous podcast, you should listen to all of our podcasts, but

Rich Ziade:

there's a previous one, where're, like why can't big companies ever do anything?

Rich Ziade:

Uh, and that's this, right?

Rich Ziade:

They are only on

Paul Ford:

discipline.

Paul Ford:

They're on discipline island.

Paul Ford:

And when, and to get everyone on a product island is, is a thing of fear.

Paul Ford:

So, uh, alright, rich.

Paul Ford:

Well, if people want to get in touch, what do they do?

Rich Ziade:

They hit us up at hello@zdiford.com.

Rich Ziade:

Uh, we're also on all the popular podcast networks and apps and whatnot.

Rich Ziade:

Um, give us five stars when you can.

Rich Ziade:

We're Zdi Ford on Twitter

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade:

zdi.

Rich Ziade:

Z I a d e f o r d.

Rich Ziade:

I'm Lebanese, that's the ziti part.

Paul Ford:

And who Spon?

Paul Ford:

Yeah.

Paul Ford:

I'm for it.

Paul Ford:

I'm for, it's the Irish part who sponsors

Rich Ziade:

This podcast and probably a lot of the future

Rich Ziade:

ones sponsored by a board.

Rich Ziade:

A board is a killer new tool that's coming out in May of 2023 in case

Rich Ziade:

you're listening to this five years from

Paul Ford:

Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade:

Um, that, uh, lets you organize your passions on

Rich Ziade:

the web, beautiful apps coming, and mobile apps and whatnot.

Rich Ziade:

So check it out@aboard.com.

Paul Ford:

We love it.

Paul Ford:

We love it now.

Paul Ford:

Um, okay, let's get back to work.

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