Picture this: It's just another day at AssuranceLab - Slack huddles, focus time blocks, calendars with check-ins, client commitments and hard work.
Mat Camp, our Head of Product & Technology, pops up with a request in our weekly check-in that I wasn’t expecting. "Can we get rubber ducks?.…..like, the ones from childhood bubble baths, but make them AssuranceLab branded?" he asks. Yes, you heard right. Rubber ducks. The kind that used to share your tub, are set to share a spot on our team’s work-from-home desk set-up.
No stranger to a challenge, I dive into the sea of online shopping, with visions of a minimum order of 500 cheeky ducks, my curiosity gets the better of me. "Why rubber ducks, Mat?" I ask, unsure of what he’s set to say.
Mat then shares with me the concept of rubber duck debugging. It's a tale of programmers, talking through their problems, and a cute yellow rubber duck the confidant. Now this unconventional method of problem solving, through courageous and candid conversations is something not unusual to us at AssuranceLab. Thinking through this request and the context around it, I discovered that it had real alignment with the values we hold close in our scaling global team.
The Quirkiness factor
Now, let’s waddle into the world of these ducks. Imagine a software engineer, fingers paused over a keyboard, a code complexity staring them down. Who do they turn to? A rubber duck perched patiently on the desk. They start narrating their code, line by line, to this silent listener. It's not your everyday office companion, but in this tale, the duck plays the hero. This simple act of "teaching" the duck often leads to an 'Aha!' moment. Normal? Not so much. Quirky? Absolutely. Effective? Surprisingly so.
It's the essence of what we at AssuranceLab stand for - challenging the status quo and speaking up with honesty and transparency. Learning of this concept made me realise this probably happens quite organically in our day-to-day lives - sometimes a walk around the block, to get some fresh air, and think through a particular issue, gives me so much clarity. This act of "teaching" the inanimate duck would often too, lead to an “aha” moment instead of staring at a screen, willing the answer to pop up.
Courageous and Candid Conversations
Just as an engineer must be honest about their code's flaws when explaining it to the duck, we value courage and transparency in every conversation across our team. This openness is vital in a remote-first environment, where clear communication is key to overcoming the lack of physical presence. It encourages us to take calculated risks, challenging the audit industry's norms, and driving us to innovate continuously.
Our monthly All-Hands Co-Founder’s Ask Me Anything segment is just another vehicle for living out this value, along with our recent welcomed addition of an Anonymous Bot we have loaded into our #ask-me-anything Slack Channel for opportunities for our team to ask our leadership team questions to gain clarity on any particular sensitive topic.
Rubber duck debugging embodies the essence of trailblazing; it's about stepping into the unknown, armed with nothing but your code and a plastic duck. At AssuranceLab, we resonate with this trailblazer spirit, constantly challenging the status quo in the trust and compliance landscape. Our remote-first model amplifies this, allowing us to tap into diverse talents and perspectives, no matter where you are in the world.
Vulnerability: Our Collective Strength
Admitting to a rubber duck that you're stuck might seem silly, but it's a powerful act of vulnerability. It's a reminder that it's okay not to have all the answers. In our remote-first culture, where face-to-face reassurances are less frequent, being open and supportive online is so important. It strengthens our bonds and fosters a trusting environment where everyone feels valued and understood.
We care about our Impact
Rubber duck debugging, in its essence, is about achieving more with less. This mindful approach to problem-solving reflects our commitment to making a positive impact, not just within the audit industry but also in the wider world. Our remote model reduces our carbon footprint and supports a better work-life balance, underpinning our dedication to positive environmental and social outcomes.
While the AssuranceLab team gears up to add Rubber Ducks to our onboarding swag, the principles behind Rubber Duck debugging are a fun yet powerful reminder of the importance of simplicity, the strength in vulnerability, and the value of each individual perspective.
Taking a moment to explain your challenges to a "duck" can lead to unexpected insights and solutions.
Have you heard of the rubber duck method of problem-solving?
If you’d love to join the AssuranceLab team, and hopefully land yourself a soon-to-be-branded Rubber Duck of your own, check out our careers page for the open roles in our wonderful team.