Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

A QA Engineer walks into a bar, and orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 9999999999999 beers. Orders an octopus. Orders -1 beers. Orders a fiaofdkalfkw.

The first real customer walks in, and asks where the bathroom is. The bar bursts into flames and explodes.

I’ve heard this question more than a few times: what are other good books similar to The Phoenix Project? Here I listed some other Business Fables that I enjoyed reading.

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

What makes a book like Gene Kim’s The Phoenix Project popular? I think it’s the story and the story telling. It’s the characters whom we can relate to. It’s their challenges that we’ve faced before. It’s the environment that’s all too familiar. It’s the mistakes the protagonists make, the lessons that stare us in the face and the victories they celebrate.

In The Phoenix Project, the authors tell a fictional story, an IT Fable. Using fictional characters in a fictional company called Parts Unlimited, the authors give us real-life lessons. …

I came across this excerpt from a three-letter acronym organization’s historical sabotage manual. It clearly demonstrates that some of our behaviors could be sabotaging our own organizations.

Photo by Sebastian Lengauer on Unsplash

If you’ve been in the business for a while, chances are high you’ve heard things like communication flowing through “the right channels”, or you were forced to work with unnecessarily large committees to design horses that ended up producing camels after long and costly series of meetings.

Where I am going with this? Last week I came across the following document on twitter:

We live in strange times full of fear, uncertainty, doubt, stress and anxiety. We can’t go out of our homes. Our kids are home-schooled. We are worried about our loved ones. There’s a significant slowdown in the economy. We’re feeling lucky if we still have a job… and we’re trying to work from home.

Photo by from Pexels

We don’t have a choice. Many of us are now working from home.

At first it seemed like this was going to be beneficial for the future of remote work. We were hopeful that companies would inadvertently unlock remote work’s potential and realize they should have done this earlier.

Unfortunately this is missing a big point.

Current Situation ≠ Remote Work

What we are experiencing is not simply remote or distributed work. Our environment is missing crucial things that are required for productive remote work.

We got caught unprepared in many ways. The change from days in the office to…

Covid-19 has been forcing many companies to ask their workforce to work from home. Remote work can be as productive if you pay attention to a few important points.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

An increasing number of companies ask their people to work from home in order to flatten the curve. And if you’re in a leadership position, this lays at your feet some decisions to be made. Here are a few important points to consider before you send an email to announce everyone that they are going to WHF (Work From Home) until further notice.


I’m not going to go over the communication basics in remote settings. There are many good articles for that type of basic concepts.

There’s no doubt that your communication patterns are going to change. The main guideline…

The daily stand-up/scrum/huddle is one of the most used and abused practices of many agile methodologies. You need a simple mind-shift to make it more effective.

Photo by Mario Purisic on Unsplash

Stand-ups. Nightmare of some, frustrations of many.

Not that you have to practice scrum to have stand-ups, but here is how the Scrum Guide describes it:

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team… At it, the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours…

Here is an example of what might be used:
• What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
• What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal? …

This is my favorite corporate fable. Its moral is simple, but it is very easy to walk right into it.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

A group of scientists put five monkeys in a room, and in the middle they placed a stepladder that had a delicious banana on its platform. When a monkey climbed the ladder and got to the banana the scientists hosed down the remaining 4 monkeys.

After a while the poor animals understood that they were going to get drenched if one of them attempted to get to the banana, so they lunged at the monkey that fell into temptation and beat it until it changed its mind.

Finally, when the monkeys established a brute-force-controlled environment where no monkey attempted to…

Improving the way that we treat our people has a more sustainable impact on their productivity than their year-end bonus. But is there still room for traditional bonus schemes? And is there a type of bonus that works better than the rest?

Photo by Jimi Filipovski on Unsplash

Chances are you have worked in a company supporting a bonus-based incentive scheme. And chances are you have had your good and bad bonus stories. But have you ever thought if a bonus scheme is a good way (let alone the best way) to motivate and engage your people?

Let’s first get this out of the way for the TL;DR readers. Science tells us that people are better motivated by intrinsic factors, which is bad news for our current corporate bonus schemes. Let’s dive into this a little more.

Two great books that I would recommend on what motivates us…

They say people don’t quit jobs, they quit bad managers… Don’t become one of those managers. Be the reason why they stay.

Photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash

What triggered this post was a question asked on Hacker News about becoming an engineering manager. My relatively short response received a good number of approvals, so I decided to elaborate on my thoughts in this article.

I started my first draft by saying “I’ve been in software development for more than 20 years,” not because I’d like to pretend I know it all, but on the contrary, because I’ve made my share of mistakes, and I’ve witnessed even more blunders done by others. Along the way, I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing people and to try…

Yağız "Yaz" Erkan

Blogger. Engineering Leader in Software Development. Avid reader. Passionate communicator of ideas and experiences. Coach. Mentor. Beekeeper.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store