Charity Majors+ Your Authors @mipsytipsy cofounder/CTO @honeycombio, co-wrote Database Reliability Engineering, loves whiskey, rainbows, and Friday deploys. I test in production and so do you. 🌈 Dec. 16, 2018 1 min read + Your Authors


Norms and culture do the heavy lifting in a healthy eng team. So this is exactly the way to think about it -- not "what rule do we pass", but "how do we make {blamelessness,instrumentation,oncall} cool and aspirational?"

This is why we spend so much time talking about what it means to be a senior engineer. It's a good proxy for "what behaviors do we want people to aspire to?"

Senior engineers are the people with the most influence, so if you're trying to change a culture, you need them on your side.

Yes, even more than managers. Engineers don't come up admiring and patterning themselves after their managers, or hero worshipping managerial skills.

"Culture" can seem super vague and amorphous (and it gets used as a cop-out a lot) so just consider this: what do people get praised for?

Any behavior that gets praised, you're gonna get lots more of it.

Praise is powerful no matter who it comes from. Everybody has the power to praise and acknowledge.

If you praise people for staying up all night... you're gonna see more of it. If you praise people for *not* getting woken up for a whole week, you get more of that instead.

If what you praise people for is out of alignment with what you promote people for or what you really want them to do, people are going to be confused and frustrated, and may not know why.

"But what if someone did some terrible but heroic piece of work that we don't want repeated?"

There are ways to acknowledge someone's time and sacrifice without glorifying it. Thank them in private. Apologize that it was necessary. Ask for their help preventing it.

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