The two things I learned from my PhD

  1. Coordination complexity (the context was software development teams). There is a cost to coordination. Communication is good, but the need to coordinate work shows that your work is designed in a way that makes you dependent on others. Consider designing your team, context and work approach so that you can minimise coordination. Perhaps the alternative is too costly (planning a lot ahead), but you should still consider how to get the balance right. Don’t undervalue efforts that reduce the need to coordinate.
  2. Don’t do a PhD unless you have to. There are far better ways to advance yourself in this “prove yourself” economy. Create, lead, produce. A PhD is a way to get external validation, and you’re gambling a huge amount of life energy on others agreeing that your work deserves their validation. If you’re thinking “Oh, I’d like to go back to college and get a PhD”, is it possible that you’re going down the “safe” (but risky) route of looking for validation from others because you were resonably good academically?

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