Remote spelled out is TRUST

2 planes in tandem with people performing stunt on top of them.

Bright and I had a very interesting chat about remote work, because of the COVID-19 lockdown situation in South Africa, they were thrown deep into the weirdness of distributed work.

Our conversation started with a simple question: “How do you know if someone is actually working when you can’t see them ?”. Most in-office manager’s who are used to making the connection between seeing and believing, must be thinking this at some point.

I thought about it for a moment and realised that we do not think about new hires like this at Automattic.

New hires are given full trust. They get access to all the systems, all decisions for the past 15 years, all the user data their role requires and the full faith in their ability to do what’s required to move the business forward.

My very first remote manager, Michael Krapf, had a saying that went something like this: “A good trend means a good worker, and a bad trend means a bad worker”. You could interpret it as; we should not evaluate people on an instance by instance basis, but should rather keep in mind what they do over a period of time and evaluate that.

In a work setting, low trust relationships are normally created when people don’t do what they say they were going to do. This doesn’t mean that we expect someone to be perfect, it’s just means that there is an expectation of progress, and obstacles being communicate in a timely and transparent manner.

When you have a low trust relationship, you will have to shorten the feedback periods considerably. This evaluation period should be well understood by all involved. The aim here should be to grow trust, not to have continuous checkups that puts only one side of the relationship at ease.

When trust grows, so should the evaluation period. In fact, you should expect trust to grow so much that there is no evaluation period. This is the peak of trust, all involved respects each other so much that, no news is good news and transparent communication is the natural outflow of progress.

Trust is also the basis of collaboration and collaboration the basis of a forward moving team. So start with high trust and work forward from there.

Featured Image by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

WooCommerce Payments now in Beta

I’m excited to share that our team has just released the beta version of a Payments service powered by WooCommerce, WooCommerce Payments.

Users of this gateway will be able to manage all payment related tasks, without leaving the the WooCommerce admin interface. We hope to roll out more features and support for more countries in the future, but for now we celebrate this milestone.

It was really great to join an amazing team as we wrapped up the final bits of this product, Kudos to all involved.

Now the real work begins and I’m excited to see the types of businesses that will benefit from this experience,

Take a look at all it can do for you here: https://woocommerce.com/payments/

The plugin is now available on the WordPress.org repository: https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce-payments/

Building Reactive Systems: Conference Talk.

I watched an interesting talk about building high availability systems and thought the simplicity was quite fascinating.

Simple systems are those where the focus is business logic and not compute complexity. Complex business logic should not imply a complex system.

Reactive systems scale very well as they are:

  • Responsive
  • Resilient
  • Elastic
  • Message Driven

In this talk Dave Farley explains how to design these reactive systems. It’s all based around the premise of passing messages and progressing the state of domain models. With this approach components/sub systems can be decoupled, which makes it easier to reason about the system.

Note that this is not about asynchronous processes, as in call backs , but rather asynchronous design where the domain model caries the weight of process state.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/tKRa0O7aepo

33

family photo just before age 33

I’m blessed to have another year added to the tally. On 20 January I turned 33.

I’m grateful for the life I have and I’m truly fortunate to have quality relationships all around me. I love my Wife and Kids and the extended family and all of them add uncountable heaps of joy and fulfillment to my life. In terms of relationships, I realised that it doesn’t actually matter if everything else falls in place, you will fee the emptiness if the quality of your relationships suffers.

During this year I moved to a new team and learned that the only way to grow is to stretch yourself, meaning that you must go after the hard things. They may seem to take longer at first, but as you pursue them you grow and they become more and more attainable.

For the next year I hope to double down on a few things:

  1. Investing in relationships.
  2. Taking more breaks and spending time with loved ones.
  3. Better focus and productivity while choosing to do the hard/important things.
  4. Writing and reading more.
  5. Making time for thinking.

I look forward to another year and I hope that it is full of quality people, quality time and more growing into a better version of myself.

Previous year: 32