So you’re moving to a new organization. You know that what you will be doing will be different, you may even have read up on it.
But there are going to be all kinds of unexpected differences, and they’re likely going to come from the most unexpected directions.
Each organization has its own flows (I’m going to talk about software, as those are the flows I know best).
When an organization is writing software, there is generally some sort of version control-coding-testing-release pipeline. However, there are many different pieces of helper software for each of these steps.
There’s the flow of information as clients are using software. Information supplied by the clients, information supplied by your organization, and these all have to work together smoothly to solve whatever the client’s problem is.
The way that feedback from clients is turned into actionable items can be vastly different between organizations.
On the transition line between flow and structure, the way that teams are divided often reflect historical decisions made in antiquity, often the division of labour of the first few people writing the code for the first iteration of the product.
Information will be flowing through this system while the software is running, effectively handing off from team to team.
There will be structured and unstructured information flows in the organization. Many people are at their most effective when they receive all of their new information before it arrives through official channels.
Even the structured flow of information can be very different, for example in a very flat organization such as Valve.
So, be mindful, and watch for the different flows. You may be surprised at how different each organization is (or how similar).