Software Engineering at Google Chapter #3 - Knowledge Sharing (1 of 3)

  • Create a culture of learning where people feel safe to fail
  • The main challenges to learning are:
    • Information islands
    • Lack of psychological safety
    • Information fragmentation (each island has an incomplete view)
    • Information skew (each island does things it’s own way)
    • Information duplication
    • All or nothing expertise
    • Single Point of Failure (bus factor of 1)
    • Parroting (mimicking without understanding)
    • Avoiding things due to fear of superstition (“haunted graveyards”)
  • Documented knowledge scales both the team and the organization
  • Tribal knowledge is the gap between what team members know and what is documented
  • Psychological safety is being able to do things and fail It’s ok to fail.
  • Consider having a new hire’s mentor NOT be on the same team in order to teach from a different POV
  • Ensure that newcomers feel comfortable asking questions but also make sure that up and coming experts feel comfortable answering and are not at risk of being embarrassed by a more senior expert.
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