Every team has values that guide their work. Of course, I like to write down some aspirational values, preferably in a charter.
Here are some of my favorites over the years:
Be exemplary: Our work, process, and demeanor should serve as an example to our coworkers, and to the industry in general. We aim to move the organization forward.
Blameless self-reflection: No one naturally likes talking about their failures, delays, or lack of understanding. Yet doing so is safe, healthy, and necessary to do better tomorrow. Strive to only make new mistakes.
Be approachable: Work collaboratively with other teams. Share responsibility and model a generative culture. Embrace and guide others scratching their own itch to do so in a way that benefits the whole team.
Explain why, and ensure it’s safe to ask why: Be transparent and explicit about how we prioritize, scope, and implement projects. Documenting the reasons and context for these decisions lets us easily adapt when we encounter new circumstances, and quickly onboard new team members.
Embrace experimentation with limits to avoid tech debt: Balance the virtues of consistent, familiar tools with innovative experiments. Experiments are the engine of innovation and continuous improvement.
And especially for platform/SRE teams serving internal customers:
Pave the common path: Common tasks should be easy (or automated!) and well-supported.
Empower our colleagues: Build simple, reliable processes and tools. Avoid being a bottleneck with self-service tools so others may help themselves.