One of the important pieces of the culture we foster and I focus on with intent is flexibility. This cultural element is throughout the technology organization. For me, in operations, it is something we talk about and encourage. It is a benefit we can provide that literally takes zero effort. The message is simple: be the paid professional you are and we’ll figure it out. Don’t be, and we’ll figure that out too.

The way I see it: we have high expectations of our engineers to engage and execute when systems break. Of course, we try to automate every last thing. We don’t practice chaos engineering anywhere close to what our aspirations would state but we’re really good at fixing issues when encountered. If it breaks at noon or 2 am, we’re on it.

The lives of our team can also be impacted by the unexpected. Chaos engineering for your personal life isn’t a thing…I hope. I have this image in my head of the home automation taking over the furnace or lighting up the house at 2 am and me trying to create observability and automation patterns to react or prevent.

The point here is when chaos enters a persons life it becomes the most important thing. Teams need to know they can ask for help. Ask for flexibility. More so, they need to get that flexibility when needed and when requested. Like I noted above, it takes zero effort and it is hugely appreciated by people. Personally, I believe it has a direct impact on retention. The market in the twin cities is on fire. I have no illusions about the amount of recruitment calls, pings, mails, etc. of our team on a daily basis.

There are many ways to make work interesting, engaging and fun. Don’t forget about the little chaos factor and being flexible. It might be one of the reasons your team isn’t picking up the phone when opportunity knocks.

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