Is it okay to…? Yes! It’s okay to…

We really like an idea that the team at Government Digital Service (GDS) wrote about last year in a blogpost: It’s ok to say what’s ok. 🙌

Maybe we just need to say what’s ok. To be explicit about the things that those of us who have been here a few years take for granted. So our team wrote a list of things it’s ok to do at GDS.

Inspired by this most excellent idea and their list — we wrote our own.

It’s okay to…

  • say “I don’t understand”
  • never have heard about something
  • ask questions all the time
  • question everything
  • ask for advice and feedback
  • depend on your team
  • not ask permission
  • wear shorts to the office
  • or a hoodie, skirt, shirt or sari
  • put people before code
  • eat all the bananas when the fruit arrives
  • have no idea what you’re doing and try anyway
  • get lost down rabbit holes
  • use work hours to read and learn
  • experiment
  • give up and try again later (or not)
  • work from home
  • disagree and say so (publicly or privately)
  • make glorious mistakes
  • learn from those mistakes
  • share what your learn
  • skip meetings
  • talk out loud about ideas and problems
  • ask people to lower their voices
  • or to move the discussion out from the landscape
  • need a break
  • be upset and ask for support
  • care more about co-workers than corporations
  • challenge code, ideas and culture
  • change your mind
  • think out loud
  • not read everything on slack
  • have your lunch break in the canteen
  • start lunch train slackbots
  • never take the stairs 1
  • prefer to enjoy lunch in solitude
  • share your ideas (out loud! or in writing!)
  • say no if you are busy
  • log off slack and email
  • put headphones on to focus
  • hide away in a quiet room
  • not work at all when you are sick
  • wait till next week
  • deploy tomorrow instead
  • bring sweets or cake to the office


  1. Except if there is a fire alarm, then please absolutely use the stairs.