In his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey introduces the concept of P/PC Balance to illustrate the balance between production (P) and production capability (PC), a key principle for achieving effectiveness and long-term success.
Production (P) refers to the results or outcomes we achieve, such as delivering projects, meeting goals, hitting business targets, or accomplishing tasks.
Production Capability (PC) refers to the resources, skills, and abilities that enable us to achieve those results.
True effectiveness lies in the P/PC Balance.
If we focus solely on immediate results (P) without investing in the abilities or resources (PC), we may achieve short-term gains, but our long-term effectiveness will be compromised. On the other hand, if we invest only in our production capability (PC) without using them to produce results (P), we will fail to reach full potential.
The purpose of a factory is to produce goods. But will it run at its full potential without machinery maintenance?
What about a modern organization dependent on the knowledge of its employees? Will it excel in the long run if it does not invest in people’s development?
People development in Tech Companies
Successful tech companies create processes which are intended to invest a considerable amount of time and money in people’s development, experimentation, and learning.
Software Engineering is a field still in constant evolution, and the technologies and practices we are using today may become ineffective or obsolete in just a few years!
To give an example, at VTEX we have many rituals and processes that are intended to develop people, such as:
- Allocate a budget for each individual to invest in training and learning;
- Organize chapters, engineering meetings, design sessions, etc., for engineers to share knowledge across the company;
- Implement learning days, during which the team is released from its work backlog to use a full day (usually every other Friday) for studying, practicing, and experimenting on initiatives for personal development.
That’s how we balance our production (P) and our production capability (PC). It is not a coincidence that I work among so many brilliant people!
In summary, the P/PC Balance concept highlights the importance of finding the right balance between achieving immediate results and nurturing the resources, skills, and relationships that enable us to achieve long-term success and maintain effectiveness.