Irreducibility: the micro-foundations

I’ve written about what I call irreducibility at least twice before. Then along comes this nice article in the excellent new publication The Mandarin on the “19 reasons why agencies find it hard to hire technologists“. It’s a classic case of how top down systems don’t manage the irreducibility of work at the coalface. Anyway, I’ll leave the list below, though the further explanation of each point is in the original via the link. I also haven’t included all the reasons as they require explanation – which you can get from the original.

  1. You force developers to use tools designed for lawyers
  2. You distrust your employees
  3. You tether developers to their desk
  4. You prefer government-specific service providers
  5. You still see waterfall as a viable option 1
  6. You don’t place process on a pedestal
  7. You erect a moat between developers and servers
  8. New technologies are guilty until proven innocent
  9. You use open source as a verb
  10. Working in the open is a novelty, not a best practice
  11. Speaking at conferences is tightly controlled
  12. Geeks are the bottom of your food chain
  13. Culture only happens outside of your working hours
  14. You measure your hiring process in months
  15. Onboarding is an afterthought
  16. Recruitment is unheard of
  17. You block half the internet


  1. rather than agile development[]
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Moz in Oz
Moz in Oz
9 years ago

You measure your hiring process in months

So much this. I stupidly applied for a job with a federal government department in Melbourne a few years ago. By the time they replied to say they’d received my application and I could be asked in for an interview I’d been in my new job for over a month. Note that they did not ask me for an interview, they simply notified me that at some point in the future they might invite me for one.

IT is not like that. Smart companies set the process up so that they can make you an offer the day they interview you, and that interview is within a few days of the application. I have once been hired the same day I first saw the ad :)

That said, my experience with NAB covered more than half the above points.