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Bringing Your Personal Values to Work

Alan Parry CTO

In this blog, Director of Engineering, Alan discusses some of the values and practices that matter most to him, and how he infuses these into his role at YellowDog.

I’d consider myself a technology strategist and engineering leader. I’ve worked on transformative technology projects at the intersection of information, collaboration, and creativity around the globe since 2000. In my time doing this I’ve been up close to some fantastic successes, and some spectacularly dismal failures.

As we are currently in the exciting process of recruiting, it has made me sit back and digest these outcomes and distil the lessons I’ve learnt into a set of core values and practices I can take forward. Things I can look to replicate, learn, and mentor in others.

Full disclosure: it’s still a work in progress.

My Top 10 – Values and Practices

  1. You will do something you love doing 100x better than something you hate. Lean towards that but be realistic.
  2. Technology is easy, people are far more important. Put your team and your users first, everything else will flow from that.
  3. Be honest with yourself, and everyone around you. It will help move things in the right direction more quickly.
  4. Always be learning. Never stop. Do it just for the sake of it – good things will happen.
  5. Creativity will get you through a lot of situations. Make space for it.
  6. Take risks. Everything truly creative is new by definition – and therefore, a risk. Accept that some will be successful, and others will be opportunities to learn.
  7. The answer was usually right there, sat quietly at the far edge of the table. Blame won’t bring it to the centre next time.
  8. Iterate between modes of ‘Breadth’ and ‘Focus’. Spot when to change perspectives – sometimes you need to look up and assess your options, sometimes you need to pick one and run hard at it.
  9. Be vulnerable. Ask for help and admit your mistakes. Remind yourself that you are great, but you are never going to have all the answers.
  10. The world is chaotic – be clear with yourself on what to prioritise and where your limits are.

I’m lucky to work for a company that celebrates everyone’s unique values and gives space for people to express their individuality. This is something that will remain an important anchor, as we continue to grow the team.

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