Consistency vs discoverability

[Reading time: 1 minute 8 seconds]

Consistency is crucial.

Whether you’re raising puppies or children, managing teams or working out. Whenever you ask for advice, one of the arguments will inevitably be “be consistent”.

Alright. So far, so obvious.

What’s less obvious is how you can even be consistent in a large organisation (to be fair, someone said that as soon as an organisation has more than one member, it will start to be inconsistent. I think that someone was an optimist.).

Inevitably different teams will have different rules, different views, different ways of doing things. From the large to the small, from teams (or even parts of teams) to entire departments or sub-organisations: strive for consistency all you want, you’ll never achieve it.

Does this mean that large organisations are doomed?

Of course not.

Just accept you can never be entirely consistent.

Sure, strive for it – but realise different teams probably do things differently for good reason. And even if there’s no reason: maybe you have better things to do than negotiating and enforcing a consistent solution.

Instead, aim for discoverability.

Make it easy to discover the local rules and how to work with them.

That’s all you can hope for, and indeed all you’ll even need.

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