In the dynamic landscape of software engineering, there's a pervasive allure to what I call "Generic Goodstuff™" - universally lauded practices that seem like silver bullets to team improvement.

Yet, reality often falls short of expectations. This talk delves into the pitfalls of advocating for Generic Goodstuff without consideration for the context we're working in. First, let’s talk about what Generic Goodstuff is and isn’t. There are plenty of great tools in software: Testing, documentation, process improvements, type systems (and more) all are good stuff - when applied to the right problems! The trouble arises when we stop thinking about the context we’re working in and apply these tools as generic, one-size-fits-all solutions to our software woes. Eager software engineers at every level want to improve things, but, lacking context, end up falling into the Generic Goodstuff trap. They end up driving initiatives that fizzle out without impact because great tools are applied in the wrong situation. It’s up to us Staff+ engineers to fuel that enthusiasm with context around the mission of the organization and the specific challenges our organizations are facing. We’ll address strategies for navigating Generic Goodstuff conversations, keeping the focus on the desired outcome, bringing valuable context to the table, and gaining a deeper understanding of what decisions brought us to our current situation.