The practices of defining SLOs in error budgets help to reduce and break down silos in organizations focused on SRE. It's also important to understand and build certain cultural practices in your business to help support these technical practices. Specifically, organizations developing SRE culture should focus on: creating a unified vision, determining what collaboration looks like, and sharing knowledge among teams. Let's take a closer look at each of these. Unified vision, all companies have vision statement that serves as their guide for the work they do. To give a sense of direction, your IT team's vision should support the company's vision. A team's vision is everything about what drives its work and includes: core values, purpose, mission, strategy, and goals. What is your company's vision? How about your team's vision? Does it encompass all of these things? If you're unsure, think about the team's vision statement as you learn about each aspect that should be included in it. First, values refers to how you can achieve your vision and what guides your behaviors. Values can be expressed by: your response to others, your commitment to personal and organizational goals, the way you spend your time, and the way you operate as a team. By developing core values, you could help your team build trust and psychological safety with each other, be more willing to take risks, be more open to learning and growing, and feel a greater sense of inclusion and commitment. A team's purpose refers to why it exists. Internal research by Google has shown that teams that have a purpose and meaning to their work have higher life and work satisfaction, stronger inter-team connections, and less conflict. Team mission articulates a clear and compelling goal that the team strives to achieve. For example, Google's mission statement is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. The Google Cloud change in culture team's mission statement is to bring Google's unique people, culture, and change management expertise to Google Cloud Enterprise customers, helping them to successfully embed new behaviors and new ways of working via adoption of Google Cloud technology. Your team's strategy is how it'll realize its mission. Strategic action takes on many forms. It can be a single initiative designed to meet a specific future goal. It can be leveraged. A single project can mean multiple future goals, or it requires change, a change in investment of resources and people, and the change in habits and how work gets done. Some basic building blocks of strategy are to look outside to identify threats and opportunities, look inside resources, capabilities, and practices, consider strategies for addressing threats and opportunities, and create alignment on communicating and coordinating work processes. Lastly, setting specific goals aligns your team on what they're striving to attain. At Google, we use OKRs, which are Objectives and Key Results, to set ambitious goals and track our progress. In practice, using OKRs is different from other goal-setting techniques. The idea behind OKRs is to set very ambitious goals. When used this way, OKRs can enable teams to focus on big bets and accomplish more than the team thought was possible, even if they don't fully attain their intended goal. OKRs can encourage people to try new things, prioritize work, and learn from both successes and failures. While the team may not reach every OKR, it gives them something to strive for together. Next, let's talk about collaboration and communication. Given the globally distributed nature of SRE teams, effective communication has always been a high priority in SRE. Collaboration between SRE teams has its challenges but has potentially great rewards including common approaches to platforms for solving problems, which lets teams focus on solving more difficult problems. Let's look at some examples of how SRE teams can communicate effectively. One way is through service-oriented meetings. This is a special kind of meeting where an SRE team reviews the state of the service or services in their charge to increase awareness of all stakeholders involved and to improve the operation of the service or services. Service-oriented meetings usually happen weekly for 30-60 minutes and should have a designated lead. Attendance should be compulsory for all team members because this is a major opportunity to interact as a group. Setting a defined agenda is important. For example, your agenda could be to cover upcoming production changes, metrics, outages, paging events, non-paging events, and prior action items. Another way to create effective communication is to have a good team composition. SRE is usually a distributed organization spread across different countries and time zones. Because of this, the definition of team is variable. There can be local teams, the team on the site, the cross-continental team, various virtual teams, and everything else in between. Google recommends a few specific roles in any SRE team. A Tech lead who sets the technical direction of the team. This person comments on everyone's code, holds quarterly direction presentations and builds consensus in the team. A manager who runs performance management and access the first point of contact for the team. A project manager who comments on a design doc and writes code. For all these roles, excellent communication skills are required to effectively collaborate across time zones. In module 6, you will learn more about suggested SRE team composition and skills. Collaboration between SRE teams and other teams is equally as important as communication. Specifically, effective collaboration between product development in SRE teams is vital. This collaboration is at its best when it occurs as early in the design phase as possible that is, before any line of code has been committed. SRE is usually make recommendations about architecture and software behavior. They also use OKR to track progress of their work with other teams. At Google, it's common for cross-functional teams to share an OKR, creating a shared agreement on output. Lastly, let's look at how knowledge sharing helps reduce organizational silos. Well hired and trained SRE teams are adept at performing more than one job function and have the skills to step into another is needed. In order to create this, your organization needs to focus on cultivating knowledge sharing among its team members. There are a few ways to ensure that this happens on your team. The first is to make cross-training a key competency when hiring SREs. This involves training an employee for a flexible response to changing production schedules. In practice, it means teaching an employee who was hired to perform one job function, the skills required to perform other job functions. A well-designed SRE cross training program can help reduce costs, improve employee morale, reduce turnover, and increase productivity. It can also give a company greater scheduling flexibility and may even lead to operational improvements. Perhaps the most important benefit to companies that implement cross-training programs is greater job satisfaction among employees. Cross-training demonstrates that the company has faith in employees' abilities and wants to provide them with opportunities for career growth. Another practice Google recommends is creating an employee to employee network. Employees can develop and grow by teaching others, given that they have firsthand knowledge on a topic. At Google, 80 percent of all track and trainings are run through an employee-to-employee network called g2g or Google to Google. The volunteer teaching network of Google employees dedicate a portion of its time to helping peers learn new skills. Volunteers, known internally as g2gs can participate in a variety of ways, such as teaching courses, providing one-to-one mentoring, and designing learning materials. They come from every department in Google. Thirdly, job shadowing is an effective means of generating knowledge sharing. Some examples of job shadowing benefits in IT teams include; expert knowledge and exposure for new hires to what others in the team do every day, hands-on experience for how the system should be maintained, an opportunity to ask an expert any questions, a good introduction to the concept of gradual change and broader explanation of what it means to the team, a way to spot opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, a great way to understand the nuances of what a particular job entails, a psychologically safe environment where it's normal to ask questions and learn, and a way to pair up your team members that helps to scale and retain knowledge. Lastly, it's worth noting that although we aligned postmortem practice to the accept failure as normal pillar of develops. It also has overlap in reducing organizational silos, specifically with knowledge sharing. Postmortems are SRE practice that helps you learn from your mistakes. But the means of delivering a postmortem helps when fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing. Postmortem workflows include collaboration and knowledge sharing at every stage. It's crucial to use technology such as Google Docs that enables some key features. Real-time collaboration, which enables data and ideas collection. Open commenting annotation system, which makes crowd-sourcing solutions easy and improves coverage. E-mail notifications, which directs collaborators or as used to loop in others to provide input. At Google, we've held numerous customers figuring out ways to employ cultural SRE practices of collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing in their organizations. Take a look at a top provider of online solutions in Germany. This customer formed an SRE team, and through an on-site Google workshop on SRE culture fundamentals, they were able to identify the rules of engagement for this new team. They highlighted the importance of reducing the number of communication channels and clearly describing what channels should be used for what purpose. They invested in technology that help them collaborate in real-time directly in project documents via comments or chat. They also use collaborative tools to create their SRE knowledge repository. You can see how these SRE cultural practices are just as important as the technical practices to help produce silos within IT teams. In the next module, the SRE journey continues with making tomorrow better than today, where you'll learn about SRE practices that align with implementing gradual change in leveraging tooling and automation.