Posts Tagged: inclusion

Transparency, diversity, and psychological safety

This hadn’t been the post I planned next, but I’m preoccupied with current political & social upheaval. So: today I’m posting about the leverage companies have to both improve their developer teams and society as a whole.

I’ll just lay out my current mental model — if this is useful to you, excellent. If you see flaws or can offer refinements, even better. Note on context: I’ve only ever worked in smallish companies; some dynamics change in larger orgs.

My basic thesis:

  • By default, most developer teams will tend towards poor diversity & biased people decisions, even with effort to do better — and even if they are (somehow) bias-free, it will still LOOK like there’s a problem. That sabotages the team image for potential hires (plus you simply lose out on the well-studied benefits of a diverse team).
  • Once a startup has grown into a medium-sized company that took the default, not-great path, it’s expensive & difficult to correct the trajectory.
  • But the crucial corrections will make any team more effective; so even if you feel that a startup can’t spare focus to work on diversity, keep reading.

Super-short, skip-to-the-ending version of a better approach:

  1. Convert your processes to be concrete, transparent & data-driven
  2. Share them (internally, then publicly)
  3. Result: you’ll drive both real diversity, equity & inclusion
  4. …and take huge steps to foster team psychological safety

More details & specific guidance: read on.