Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cogent Values and Goals

Cogent recently had an off-site meeting that we used for a wide-ranging discussion, including a session on what we considered our values and goals as an organisation. We had a fairly spirited exchange on both these topics, constrained by finding at most five points in each area that captured our business. There were many things on the margins that people thought were important, so it was difficult to hone the lists to a concise consensus. In the end we had this:

Cogent Values

  • Openness

  • Integrity

  • Respect

  • Craftsmanship

  • Collaboration

Cogent Goals

  • Make more money than we can from consulting

  • Build some kick-ass software

  • Work with good people

  • Have flexibility in lifestyle and the amount of time I want to work

I was going to add some commentary, but on reflection I think these speak for themselves (but I'm interested in your comments).

For your interest, here are the next group of goals - things that influence us, but that aren't core and didn't make it into the definitive list:

  • Prove that you can run a company humanely for both customers and employees

  • Learn new things, learn proven things from experienced folk

  • Grow as practitioners

  • Change the way people develop software

  • Inspire one another and others

  • To have some fun

So while we would like to change the world and have some fun, we're realistic enough to understand that for us, for the people we are and the stage of life that most of us are in, there are some selfish things (money and flexibility) that are actually more important. That doesn't really make me feel great about myself, but I think it's the right decision and I think it's good that we've been clear and articulated this.

I'd be interested to know the outcomes from any other small firms that do some exercise like this.

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