Team equals Product

If you happen to never heard the phrase "TEAM == PRODUCT," I suggest looking at the video with Michelle and Jim McCarthy.

The idea behind it is pretty simple: the product reflects the team. Simply put, a product will never be better than the team that built it.

For example, Not-My-Problem Driven Development (NMPDD) and other similar diseases result in ridiculous stability issues in the product. The same is true if you look the other way around; if you see a dumb UX, that likely means the team never considered UX a priority or doesn't have UX folks. Such issues are difficult to address because they are more cultural than technical.

And I believe that culture is not something you have as a motto for your company. It's not what you see in weekly posts from your CEO. It's not a channel in your Slack. It's not what you say you will or will not do. Instead, culture is what you do. It is your and your team's behavior. And good culture is when you and your team cares.

So how do you improve culture? That's a great question!

KPIs? Engineering metrics? Performance reviews? New CTO? Cheaper developers? Expensive developers? More Agile training sessions? More Scrum Masters?... None of that will help your team care more, and none of that will make your product delightful.

How then?

Maybe by showing an example? Maybe with your learning how to listen to your peers when they have a difficult day? Maybe by caring so, your team knows that you give a damn?

Yes, it takes effort to embrace this reality. You don't need to be a senior dev to show an example. You don't need to be a Scrum Master to say that your team meeting is a waterfall process disguised as an agile one. You don't need to be a CEO to discuss the cultural issues of your team. You don't need to be a team lead to ask tough questions.

It takes courage, empathy, kindness, and emotional labor to get there. And eventually, you will have an incredible team that will make a fantastic product.