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  • Meditations on high-quality, high-bandwidth interactions

    Within a single squad where there might be only a handful of individuals, the number of interpersonal relationships is minimal. Because of the relative intimacy of those relationships, and the quality of the interactions, context is shared seamlessly and in a (mostly) lossless way between team members. Team members who are in the same vicinity, are often thinking about, and solving related problems. They are "on the same page", so to say.

    Zooming out from the team you can start to see a myriad of fleeting, sporadic, low-quality and low-bandwidth interactions (water-cooler talk, tickets requesting system access, code-review comments, Slack tirades, outdated documentation) where communication is one-dimensional — tonality is implied, meaning is inferred, and intent is assumed. We're essentially applying our own organic upscaling to a chaotic stream of information and I don't know about you, but I'm not particularly good at it!

    I'm sure you can immediately see the problem. The highest quality interactions are those that are between closely operating individuals. These are high-bandwidth, high-fidelity interactions. But they are costly and take significant time and investment — building and maintaining that mental and interpersonal infrastructure is expensive!

    So, how do we: a) have high-quality interactions, b) to socialise change, c) across a broad set of individuals, d) in a fast-paced and growing organisation? (I'm going to continue to indulge in some tech-lingo here)

    Just like an API: We agree on what we are communicating, the format for that communication, and how we are communicating it

    This allows us to mentally prepare to serialise and deserialise the information that we are sharing or consuming respectively. If we are receiving new information in a way (or format) that we have learned to recieve then we can better prepare ourselves to ingest said information.