On development teams, balancing priorities while keeping focus is hard. Without an intentional approach you can quickly find your team submerged in a lot of different work, hurting progress on your most important goals. But the real world is messy. Prioritization is hard. Work comes in many shapes and sizes. Unplanned work pops up at […]
Category archives: management
What is the risk matrix?
All computer systems have technical risks. It’s impractical to design risk completely out of a system. Since we don’t have unlimited time or resources, it’s important that we be methodical about how we prioritize investments to mitigate that risk. As engineers we go to great lengths to measure many aspects of our systems; latency, error […]
I can’t get started! try an execution-based goal
When it comes to professional development, many engineers struggle to put concrete plans into action to achieve their goals. They know what they want; they just can’t get started. When you think about it, this isn’t surprising. Many professional development goals are intangible. “Improve communication” or “become expert in technology X” have no real endpoint. […]
The middle slump: the power of weekly project goals
There’s a thing writers call the middle slump. It’s that period in the middle of writing something when the author has lost initial momentum, feels stuck and has difficulty making forward progress. A post in the writing subreddit frames it well: “The beginning of your story is so far behind you and yet the end […]
Time management wins for the busy engineering manager
As engineering managers our time is always in short supply. Most managers I know complain about never having enough time. We are busy people! At some point in your management career you realize you just can’t get more accomplished by working more hours. When it comes to time management, there is no panacea; but there […]
Process evolved: the experiment
Is your team scared to change their process? Are they endlessly evaluating or arguing over different options and their pros and cons? As an industry, we practice fast experimentation with new products and technologies; frequently releasing, getting feedback, iterating, and learning. So why do we resist doing this with our processes?
Deadlines are a good thing.
In a previous post, I talked about what makes a good goal. Once you’ve done the hard work of setting the right goal, it’s time to start thinking about execution. A goal without a completion date is a wish . Now if you want to actually accomplish that goal, you are going to need a […]
What makes a good goal?
John Allspaw has a great tweet on problem discovery: Reminder that it takes just as much effort (time, money, staff, etc.) to build the wrong thing as it does the right thing. Problem discovery is under appreciated as a practice in software engineering, especially when compared to problem solving. — John Allspaw (@allspaw) April 27, […]
Estimated time != Calendar time
Does the above sound familiar? If you have worked in an engineering department for any length of time, you have probably had this experience. So what is going on here? The problem is that there is a fundamental disconnect between the two people about what they are actually talking about. The product person thinks […]
Analytics for the Engineering Manager
Analytics are critical to success in business today. Businesses can’t expect to understand their customers or the best path forward without constantly leveraging and gaining insights from their data. Just like business leaders use analytics to be more effective, so too should engineering leaders! Leveraging analytics in your daily work as an engineering manager will […]