15 December 2023
5 guiding principles for producing quality work
3 min read
Written by: Wouter Knigge
In general, it’s good to live by strong principles, and I’d like to see myself as a person of principle. For some, this may sound a bit rigid. But for me, it works. Principles make my life easier by guiding the choices I have to make. Maybe this is more implicit in the easier decisions, such as which pasta sauce to buy in the supermarket, but it definitely gives handholds for the more difficult ones as well, both in life and work. Indirectly, it also helps other people know what they can expect from me. Once they know me as a person – my style, my principles – they can anticipate my actions and which stance I’ll take, which allows them to better understand, live and work with me.
At SIG, we also try to live by this philosophy of principles. Working together based on a set of principles helps us to be effective and efficient. You know what to expect from others and what they expect from you without having to spell everything out. Rather, you have a framework of what you adhere to. A framework like that doesn’t come into being all on its own. It requires some thought, self reflection and, of course, contributions from multiple people in the organization. Only then can you boil it down to some guiding principles that reflect your company culture and values.
In our company, we’ve iterated through various lists over the years, but the core of the list has always remained fundamentally the same. In this blog series, I’d like to share about the Five Principles we adhere to as a company, which had been formulated from a delivery perspective to guide our work in projects, but are now being embraced more broadly within our organization. These Five Principles help us to standardize our work and guarantee high-quality output, independent of an individual consultant. This enables our business to scale and makes our work less stressful and more focused for our team.
The Five Principles we ask our consultants to adhere to:
- Your engagement is Evidently Valuable
- Your message is Transferable
- Your findings are Fact-based
- Your solution is Tailored
- Your recommendations are Actionable
By following these principles, we’ve found that we can better help our clients steer on their software quality and software engineering processes, doing so in a way that’s based on factual insights as opposed to well-informed opinions. Although they look the part (easy to interpret and follow), there are plenty of distractions and challenges that divert us from applying these principles consistently in our work. They take time and practice to master.
In my posts to follow in this series, I’ll take you through the list to share some of the pitfalls and learning points when applying each of these principles. I hope it will help you in your work to be clear about the value you bring to the table.
Read part 2 in this series: Quality Principle #1: My Work is Evidently Valuable
Read part 3 in this series: Quality Principle #2: My Message is Easily Transferable
Read part 4 in this series: Quality Principle #3: My Findings Are Fact-Based
Read part 5 in this series: Quality Principle #4: My Solution is Tailored
Read part 6 in this series: Quality Principle #5: My Recommendations are Actionable
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