Psychological safety is a treasure you need to foster

A visualization of the lack of psychological safety by the amazing Steffen Reimann
  • There were more and more policies that had to be followed. Nobody really understood them, and there was no guidance on how to implement them, or whether they were applicable at all for what you were doing. They became line items in the quality plans that each project had to fill out. With each project manager figuring out if it was relevant for them. And, when in doubt, rather create too many documents than too few. All of those documents of course had to be updated and maintained.
  • Since the company was a hardware manufacturer there were of course many processes and policies, that were focusing on limiting the risk of a recall. A recall is something you definitely don’t want to have in a hardware product. But the story is different in software. Still those processes had to be followed.
  • Quality gates were introduced. The project management processes were inflated. Quality engineers became part of the organization in order to have somebody working on the quality gate checks. Of course they were also there, to be able to assert blame. Doing CI/CD was prohibited. Deploying without doing a quality gate first was not allowed anymore (this changed at a later point in time, see below *).
  • Random managers from other teams/divisions/subsidiary escalating internally with “You can’t do that, since we are doing this”. This perceived feeling that your project, which you might have been hired by a customer to do, transgresses into their territory. Ultimately limiting collaboration and reducing organizational transparency.
  • EU-GDPR happened, with the looming threat of a 4% revenue or 20 Million Euro fines. There was of course a central project that managed the rollout of EU-GDPR corporate wide. But the support for enabling teams was very low. Once again you could hire competing teams, to get your “EU-GDPR insurance”.
  • The looming threat that “the NSA is going to hack us and steal all our data”.



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Christoph Grotz

Christoph Grotz


I’m a technology enthusiast and focusing on Digital Transformation, Internet of Things and Cloud.