Clear is Kind

I’ve been reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown​ and one of the chapters has this as its title: ​Clear is Kind​. 

The full quote is Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind.

There’s so much here but I’m going to focus on one aspect of this mantra.

What do your team’s ​Architectural Decision Records​ look like?  It doesn’t ​have​ to be your ADRs, it can be any record of a decision, whether it’s minutes, emails, design decisions, etc, but specifically: Are they clear as to why the decision is being made? Is there a hidden subtext to them? A context that only some people will have? A ‘public’ reason and a ‘private’ reason?

It might, and when I first started using ADRs to help our team understand why certain architectural decisions were being made, there was a bit of pushback from above when I included these hidden contexts in the document itself.

But, the contexts helped us as a team. They helped everyone understand the non-technical forces behind the decision, and more importantly, they built trust. By clearly stating the parts that may have been uncomfortable but important to communicate, it helped the team have the full context behind decisions. “We’re doing this because executives want it done, and while we view it as a distraction from <larger goal everyone agreed to>, the people who sign the checks don’t see it as a distraction, so in order to make it happen we need to make changes x, y, and z.” There are other benefits to writing down the reasons that may not seem apparent, but it really all comes down to the quote from Dare to Lead:

Clear is kind. Unclear is Unkind.

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