Os primórdios da gestão participativa

Quem trabalha com desenvolvimento de software e metodologias ágeis pode ter a impressão que gestão participativa é algo novo e que nasceu na indústria de desenvolvimento de software. Na última ProdConf Clóvis Bojikian, ex-diretor de RH da Semco, contou sobre como foi implementar gestão participativa em uma indústria na década de 1980. Vale a pena assistir. É uma palestra sem slides, onde Clóvis conta como um pouco de sua história. Foi a palestra mais bem avaliada do evento.

Como anda o ContaCal?

ContaCal foi o experimento de startup que iniciei em 2011 e que venho tocando até hoje nas minhas horas vagas. Foi um experimento para ver se era possível criar do zero, sem nenhuma marca forte por trás, um produto web que desse algum retorno.

Esse experimento acabou virando um livro, o “Guia da Startup: Como startups e empresas estabelecidas podem criar produtos web rentáveis“, meu primeiro livro, lançado em 2012, que acabou sendo também o primeiro livro da editora Casa do Código, startup criada pelo pessoal da Caelum para edição de livros de tecnologia que hoje conta com mais de 380 títulos.

Hoje, como parte do Apreendedorismo, uma iniciativa muito bacana da Locaweb, voltada aos Pequenos e Médios Empresários, abordando conteúdos de qualidade sobre Empreendedorismo Digital, apresentei minha palestra sobre o livro, onde conto como foi feito o ContaCal e como ele está hoje.


Se você tem curiosidade em saber como anda o ContaCal, a palestra foi gravada e está disponível lá na Eventials. Confere lá!

Collaboration lessons from the marshmallow challenge


  • Groups of 4 people
  • 20 sticks of spaghetti
  • one yard of tape
  • one yard of string
  • a marshmallow

Time constrain: 18 minutes

Objective: tallest freestanding structure


  • Who consistently performs worst? Recent business school graduates
  • Who consistently performs well? Recent kindergarten school graduates. Not only the tallest but the most interesting structures.
  • Why kindergarten school graduates do better than business school graduates? First, none of the kids spent any time trying to be CEO of “Spaghetti Inc.”. Business students are trained to find the single right solution. Kindergarteners build prototypes several times, get instant feedback of what work and what doesn’t and refine.
  • The very best group? Architects and engineers, thankfully!
  • CEOs with an executive admin perform significantly better than just CEOs. Why? Because they have special skills of facilitation. They manage the process.
  • Specialized Skills + Facilitation Skills = Success!
  • Incentives + Low Skills = no success.
  • Incentives + High Skill = Success!
  • Every project has its own marshmallow.
  • Shared Experience + Common Language + Prototyping & Facilitation
  • Sometimes a little prototype is all it takes to transform an Oh-Oh moment into a Ta-Da moment!


4 types of company culture

I just found an interesting presentation by Lloyd Taylor. He was Director of Global Operations for Google for 3 years and after that he was VP Technical of Operations at Linkedin for another 3 years.

His presentation was done during one of the SVDevOps meetup in the beginning of the year, but it has lots of elements of organizational culture, which he based on the book “The Character of a Corporation: How a Company’s Culture Can Make Or Break Your Business“. The presentation is quite short, only 26 slides long and the culture related slides where he talks about the 4 types of company culture are only 13 (from 3 through 16).

For those interested in watching Lloyd’s presentation, there’s an 1 hour video at Vimeo:

Lloyd Taylor: “Hacking Your Organization” from dev2ops.org on Vimeo.

Agile management

When we implemented agile methodologies at Locaweb, the same way that some developers asked to leave because they were not willing to adapt to some of the agile principles that we decided to embrace, some of the existing managers also didn’t adapted well to the changes in their roles and responsibilities and asked to leave.

At the time, I discussed this topic with people from other companies and they mentioned that it’s not unusual to have developers and managers leaving the company when moving to agile. I remember even someone mentioning that in average 10% of developers leave. That was back in 2007 / 2008. I’m not sure if this tendency have lowered lately, since agile is becoming more and more mainstream.

I also read – and continue to read – a lot about the topic. One of the sources I’ve been reading and enjoying is Jurgen Appelo’s posts about agile management. I’ve been reading his posts for a while, since the time he was the CTO of a dutch company. I really like the way he connects agile methodologies and complex adaptive systems theory.

Now he is 100% focused on his agile management coach career. He recently launched a book entitled “Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders“.

He also provides Agile Management courses that seem to be quite interesting:

Checkout also his presentations on slideshare. Checkout this presentation on authority and delegation:

Other posts about the same topic:

Let's use the "reduce, reuse, recycle" motto when writing software

When my 4 years old daughter likes a song, she asks me to repeat the song over and over. I believe this is no news for any parent… 😛

This weekend’s song was “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” by Jack Johnson. Below is a clip of the music where Jack sings the song with some children. I set the video to start at the beginning of the music:

Whenever I hear this music I think about code and how the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto should be applied to writing software:

  • reduce: as written by the 37signals guys in their Getting Real book, “Less software is easier to manage. Less software reduces your codebase and that means less maintenance busywork (and a happier staff). Less software lowers your cost of change so you can adapt quickly. You can change your mind without having to change boatloads of code. Less software results in fewer bugs. Less software means less support.”
  • reuse: as defined in Wikipedia, “is the use of existing software, or software knowledge, to build new software.” and includes the use of libraries, frameworks and design patterns.
  • recycle: in the physical world “recycling involves processing used materials (waste) into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage” (source: Wikipedia). When I read this definition of recycle it immediately reminds me of another R used in software development, refactor. “Code refactoring is the process of changing a computer program’s source code without modifying its external functional behavior in order to improve some of the nonfunctional attributes of the software. Advantages include improved code readability and reduced complexity to improve the maintainability of the source code, as well as a more expressive internal architecture or object model to improve extensibility.” (source: Wikipedia).

Lessons learned

  • So the next time you are writing software, don’t forget to “reduce, reuse, recycle“! 🙂

Reuse, reduce, recycle

Reuse, reduce, recycle

Purpose beyond profit

If you have a small kid who goes to kindergarten you most certainly have used the word purpose during your conversation about her day at school. “She didn’t do it on purpose.” is an answer we get when we ask about stories our kids tell us when some kid got hurt during their school activities. But ask your daughter if she knows what purpose means. She will probably answer with curious explanations like “purpose means bad” since the word purpose is always associated with bad actions.

Purpose is a difficult word for kids, but it shouldn’t be for grownups.

What's the purpose?

What's the purpose?

However, we forget this word, specially in the business world, where we tend to think that the sole purpose of doing business is to earn money and be profitable.

Earning money and being profitable is not the purpose of business. It is one indicator that the business is doing ok. And it is one out of many others such as customer satisfaction, employee motivation, process effectiveness, etc.

Here’s an interesting list of 6 good reasons not to use profit as our primary purpose:

  • Profit is an output and a symptom of success, not the cause.
  • Profit is temporary and can be wiped out in an instant.
  • In tough times, profit can be hard to come by.
  • You need more purpose than profit to make it through.
  • Profit doesn’t motivate the salaried staff who make success happen.
  • Customers don’t appreciate being seen just for their revenue.
  • Consumers are increasingly focusing on values and contribution to society when choosing who to do business with.

Source: Matt Stocker blog

What is the purpose of doing business if it is not being profitable?

Well, that’s a very important question, and if we don’t know the answer, the business may be in serious trouble, even if it looks healthy now because its profitable.

Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies

Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies

According to Nikos Mourkogiannis, author of Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies, there are four main types of purpose and he cites examples of companies that have each type of purpose:

  1. Discovery – rooted in intuition that life is a kind of adventure. Example: Apple and their goal to always come up with the new / most innovative products (esp. in comparison to Microsoft who clearly follows a different path).
  2. Excellence – implies standards and purports the belief that excellent performance in our role in life represents the supreme good. Example: Warren Buffet.
  3. Altruism – a purpose built in serving its customers in a way that is beyond standard obligation. Example: Wal-Mart, Body Shop.
  4. Heroism – demonstrates achievement (often with a charismatic and visionary leader). Example: Ford, Microsoft.

Source: Wendy St Clair Pearson review

Purpose and Mission

Purpose and mission statement seems to go hand in hand with each other. So it is that Wikipedia defines Mission Statement as the written statement of a company’s purpose:

A mission statement is a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.”

Source: Wikipedia

There are two very interesting videos showing how important it is for an organization to have a purpose.

The first one is from Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED talk about “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. I purposely set the video to start at 1m33s so you can view the exact point where Simon explains how important it is to know why a company does what it does. He argues that all companies know what they do, some companies know how they do what they do, but very few companies know why they do what they do:

The second video is an animated version of Daniel Pink’s TED talk about “The Surprising Truth About What Motivate Us”. In this talk he explains that knowledge workers need three things to be motivated – autonomy, mastery and purpose. Again I purposely set the video to start at 8m41s so you can watch the explanation about purpose. If you have the time, I’d recommend watching the full video:

From these two videos it is clear that knowing a company’s purpose can be very beneficial for the company. When the purpose is clear, we will have better chances of attracting employees, customers and complementors aligned with the purpose. Consequently we will have better chances of getting things done on time, on budget and with quality.

Lessons learned

  • Profit is not the purpose of doing business. It’s just one of many success indicators.
  • It is easier to succeed if we know the company’s purpose.
  • When the purpose of a company is clear, we will have better chances of attracting employees, customers and complementors aligned with the purpose.
  • Consequently, when the purpose of a company is clear, we will have better chances of getting things done on time, on budget and with quality.