Tuesday 7 July 2015

Joy Inc is really Joyful

I heard closing keynote talk by Richard-Sheridan at agile singapore conference where he shared how he build joyful company.

Richard has published book Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love to share his experience of building amazing organization.

I got copy of book few days back and started reading it, it is very difficult to put it down once you pick it up.
I have read few chapters in last 2 days and want to share few things that i liked .

Book starts with "Let's try something new, let't run an experiment", this is very good approach to plant seed for change.

Tangible Joy
Book define tangible joy as "delivering a product or service to world that's so enjoyed , in fact , that people stop you on the street and say,"really, you did that ? i love it"

By reading this i realized that how crappy product i have build :-(

Stupid Users
It has section on stupid user and context it that software industry think users are stupid and they need Dummies book to help them successfully use our beautifully designed technology because they are dump and don't understand our master piece.

Joy will lift you and your team
He gives reason why Wright brothers were able to fly and Samuel Pierpont Langley was not

Langley was trying to build an airplan. The Wright brothers wanted to fly.

This is so much applicable to our industry, we are so much after bleeding edge technology that we forget the real problem that is supposed to be solved by technology

Lots of experiment
This book is full of experiment he did to build Joy Inc.

Pair Programming
Everybody knows benefit of pairing but still many organization are reluctant to try

Wide Open space
Wide open space with no office,cubes is very good for collaborative work, but organization has Cube culture and with every promotion individual moves away from team and get locked in private office.

Rewards System
With culture change rewards system should also change , but most of the organization never change rewards system.
I think this is one of the main topic of book, few things mention in book are.

 Now you have fair idea about what rewards system should look like

Risk of staying same
This was eye opening "The risk of staying the same had been far greater than the risk of change"

Big-Dog Discussion
Big dogs in organization are special people and by looking at them voice echos in your ear
"You don't matter as much as I do"
@menlo big decision are not made in close door conference room so that people don't feel that they are not important.

Tower of knowledge
Book as very nice section about "Mr Dave" - person on team who has vast technical knowledge that no one else have.
This is such a common problem and most of the organization falls in this trap and it is very common in Banks.
Dave is bottleneck of entire organization or department and he can't go on vacation!
Pair programming is the recommended solution for Dave and organization

Books has lots of practical advise, i highly recommend this book.

Some talks/podcast by Richard
Joy, Inc. | Rich Sheridan


  1. "Wide office space" - I am working in a wide office space environment. Downside is, that its hard to focus on non-trivial programming tasks as there is permanent distraction, talking etc. going on.

    1. Book has section about this and as per that they say that is noise of work and once your brain has adjusted to this type of culture it will start applying filters. They do meeting also in open area, so I think it is to do something with overall culture, but I agree that this is not silver bullet.

  2. Good to Read. Specifically Big Dog discussion and Risk of staying same.
    Thinking, if org as well as Individual started to follow these simple rules, hopefully they can bring lot many changes in a positive way.

    1. Thanks. Who gets involved in "Big Dog" discussion gives good indication of who are important to organization.