Tools

Systems and tools are essential to operating at scale. You can run for a while in an ad hoc fashion at small scale but eventually consistency for repeatability and predictability, purposeful evolution to improve and optimize, and automation to reduce friction and increase velocity will be needed in order to scale.

The problem with tools is it’s easy to become enamoured with them and forget that they are always simply a means to a greater end. It’s also easy to get sucked into buying what you don’t really need, or building or over-engineering something just because you can. In most organizations, there is an incredibly complex portfolio of tools in use whether they are software, hardware, or de facto or documented practices. Purposefully evolving and maintaining this portfolio by making appropriate buy/build/integrate decisions, balancing top-down mandates and organic bottoms-up adoption, and supporting with appropriate culture and change management, is a big, complex job and there’s a huge danger of becoming bogged down with heavyweight and inflexible systems that limit speed and agility as an organization evolves.