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Accountability without Blame


We've been thinking a lot about remote teams and management best practices. One of the most difficult to manage is accountability, or self accountability and making sure everyone knows that mistakes are expected, and self reporting them is a safe thing to do. Searching for someone to blame for an issue just slows us down when we could be searching for a solution.

Often the best way to avoid the blame game, is to be transparent in everything we do. For developers that means checking in code all the time. Everyday, multiple times a day. It shines a light not only on issues you need help with, but how much you can get done in a give day or week. We don't account by lines of code, but by help given, help asked for and solutions presented. If they work great, if someones else's worked and you supported them even better.

The point is that accountability is difficult to track even with the best reports, analytics and data. What matters is the productivity of the team, the overall quality and craftsmanship in the code and how much the user appreciates it, even if they can't see it. Transparency, even radical transparency helps in self accountability as well as quality, but finding solutions rather then seeking who to blame drives the entire team forward.