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 […]

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 […]

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 [1]. 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 […]