VSHN.timer #116: The Future of Company Culture

8. Nov 2021

Welcome to another VSHN.timer! Every Monday, 5 links related to Kubernetes, OpenShift, CI / CD, and DevOps; all stuff coming out of our own chat system, making us think, laugh, or simply work better.

This week we’re going to talk about individuals and companies who challenge the status quo and dare to work differently.

1. In 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (self-introduced as „citoyen de Genève“) published his epic treatise on political philosophy: „Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique“, also known in English as The Social Contract. This hallmark book set the protection of common good as the basis for modern democracy in the following 250 years. But during this same period, most businesses have remained stubbornly middle-aged in their structures and group thinking. Companies of all sizes are today beginning to understand the long-term interest of evolving into more inclusive and participative structures. Although we’re still far away from a social contract solely based on employee sovereignty, the global pandemic has forced many companies to start considering deep internal changes. Such is the case of Polar Signals, whose decisions are explained in detail in their blog: fully asynchronous structures, open salary policies, paid time off, and even menstrual leave.


2. Standup meetings are the most visible aspect of Agile–sadly, the only one for many organizations. The lock-downs used to fight the global pandemic have prompted teams all over the world to revise and redesign their usual daily ceremonies. Some teams adopted asynchronous standup meetings on a chat channel, while others like Honeycomb have created the „meandering team sync“ via Zoom instead.


3. Have you ever heard the term „Learned Helplessness“? It is defined as „a set of behaviors where we give up on escaping a painful situation, because our brain has gradually been taught to assume powerlessness in it.“ This phenomenon is widely credited as one of the leading aspects of the high rates of burnout, churn and turnover in the IT industry. The OKAY team blogged about effective mechanisms to avoid this situation from happening in your own organization.

4. In his worldwide best-selling book, „Start With Why“, British-American author Simon Sinek explains the ways people are inspired to change their environments, the first of which being the understanding of a sense of purpose, or put shorter, the „Why“. On the other side, G. K. Chesterton explained that reforms to a system should not be attempted before the underlying reasons for its existence are well understood. Matt Rickard weaves all of these thoughts together in the context of IT teams.


5. Another thing that started with „_why“ was, undoubtedly, the Ruby programming language. Readers of this blog who were around the 2000s, and who spent some time in the Ruby galaxy surely remember Jonathan Gillette, also known as why the lucky stiff or simply _why (yes, with the leading underscore). His texts, tutorials, and code have left a strong mark in the collective psyche of a whole generation of Ruby programmers, long after the disappearance of his online persona. GitHub’s ReadME Project  dedicated an article to this major figure in the history of the Ruby programming language, raising important questions about privacy, burnout, and mental health in the programming community.


Do you have a company handbook? Does your hierarchy block your teams from performing? How do you make sure your colleagues don’t burnout or leave your company? Would you like to share your own corporate culture stories with the community? Get in touch with us, and see you next week for another edition of VSHN.timer.

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PS3: check out our previous VSHN.timer editions about PeopleOps: #7, #13, #15, #26, #35, #41, #52, #63, #85, and #92.

Adrian Kosmaczewski

Adrian Kosmaczewski ist bei VSHN für den Bereich Developer Relations zuständig. Er ist seit 1996 Software-Entwickler, Trainer und veröffentlichter Autor. Adrian hat einen Master in Informationstechnologie von der Universität Liverpool.

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