The No People

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

You know them — I know you do.

In every company, regardless of your role, there’s another team that’s comically (or tragically) referred to as the no people’. This could be legal, privacy, security, architecture, engineering, quality assurance, human resources. It doesn’t matter what their function is, they exist to block you.

And when trying to ship software, the ‘no people’ are the last people you want to talk to — their sole purpose in life is to say ‘no’ to you, isn’t it? To slow you down. To block you. To make your life more complicated. To make you miss ship dates.

It is inevitable however — before your product/software/whatever goes out the door, you will have to engage with them at a point and the obvious thing occurs — you haven’t done something they need, didn’t think about a particular situation or series of circumstances, you forgot to encrypt a piece of important data, etc.

Next come the compromises: meetings, slack messages, texts. And in an effort to make sure the product goes out on time, regardless of the concerns raised by the ‘no people’, it almost always ends with words I can’t stand: ‘the business is willing to accept the risk

Don’t let it kid you — this is code for ‘we know it’s a mess, let’s hide the peas and carrots under the mashed potatoes and pretend it doesn’t exist until we get called out on it’.

Today, I offer you an amazing alternative that few take advantage of: actually reach out and embrace the ‘no people’. Make them part of your tribe.

Talk to them early. Understand their concerns. Alleviate their issues by making their issues the heart of how you build things. Involve them. Shift left.

Be their champion.

Listen. Build Trust. Show actions over words.

There is no easier way for your team to build velocity by tackling the ‘no people’ concerns as foundational bedrocks in how you construct things.

And when you do that, something magical happens. The ‘no people’ become your ultimate champions — they are your biggest advocates.

You’ve solved something for them.

It changes everything.