Gall’s Law

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: a complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a simple system.”

John Gall, Systems Theorist 1975


I dont blog on here much about my job and experience in software engineering but I think it’s time that I start. A couple years ago I was asked to manage and develop our own in house software engineering team. At the time my company had always outsourced development and infrastructure management for it’s first 3 years. As we grew and learned, it was obvious that we were repeating the same cycles over and over again and it wasn’t working. I guess you could say it was time to do it right.

Myself, being an eager go-get-er accepted the position and jump in head first to a world of software engineering that I really didnt fully understand yet and my Leo Type A personality started making waves. My first few weeks we’re rough, I did everything wrong and made all of the wrong decisions. At the time we had a small Scrum team that was quite young and a Scum Master who really was trying to juggle leading software engineering and being the Scrum Master as the same time – really tough to do. Needless to say, it was a bit of a rocky start.

A month or two into my new role I had a break, I finally got on the same playing field and communication plane as our Scrum Master. I look back on this moment or course of a few weeks where we started working together that I think it changed me on a personal level and was the beginning of a new chapter in my career. Looking back, up until that point in time I had been a really poor communicator to my team, and this was my biggest weakness as a manager. I did everything wrong in terms of communication. If you asked me the biggest thing I changed, I stopped sending emails to my team. OK, I still send some emails now and then for updates on things, but important communication and things that people need to know or give input on I started talking.

In the coming months and year, I found a whole new side of building relationships and trust with my team. I dont think that I could do justice to all of the things that this change did for me, all I can say is that it totally changed the game. It was tough in the beginning for sure but over time its paid off and I think made me more effective as a leader of my team.