A curated collection on the missing aspect of managed time in programming.
A look at how Skyscanner support their people’s transition from individual contributer to managers.
Lovingly craft those commits, friends.
Bezos considers 70% certainty to be the cut-off point where it is appropriate to make a decision. That means acting once we have 70% of the required information, instead of waiting longer. Making a decision at 70% certainty and then course-correcting is a lot more effective than waiting for 90% certainty.
Reversible decisions can be made fast and without obsessing over finding complete information. We can be prepared to extract wisdom from the experience with little cost if the decision doesn’t work out. Frequently, it’s not worth the time and energy required to gather more information and look for flawless answers. Although your research might make your decision 5% better, you might miss an opportunity.
Eradication of all latent failures is limited primarily by economic cost but also because it is difficult before the fact to see how such failures might contribute to an accident. The failures change constantly because of changing technology, work organization, and efforts to eradicate failures.
Indeed, it is the linking of these causes together that creates the circumstances required for the accident. Thus, no isolation of the ‘root cause’ of an accident is possible. The evaluations based on such reasoning as ‘root cause’ do not reflect a technical understanding of the nature of failure but rather the social, cultural need to blame specific, localized forces or events for outcomes.
Hindsight bias remains the primary obstacle to accident investigation, especially when expert human performance is involved.
So many more nuggets of wisdom in there.
I pretty much highlighted the lot.
The general idea of an “Islands” architecture is deceptively simple: render HTML pages on the server, and inject placeholders or slots around highly dynamic regions. These placeholders/slots contain the server-rendered HTML output from their corresponding widget. They denote regions that can then be “hydrated” on the client into small self-contained widgets, reusing their server-rendered initial HTML.
Loads of fantastic advice.
Being right was something that we were taught was the ultimate pinnacle of knowledge, and there’s a reason, culturally, that so many of us care so deeply about being right. But it’s time to get rid of that. It’s no longer the currency that separates who does the really great work in life from who doesn’t.
Ensemble programming vs pull requests.
Rolling up your sleeves is magic.
At HashiCorp, we’ve grown from a few hundred to over a thousand people, so the goal is to build scalable systems that enable employees to do their best work and contribute to the outcomes of the company. For us, that’s shaped up into three specific systems: strategic planning, knowledge management, and communications.”
They also run a simluation to give their leaders a chance to practice.
“Using a firm called BTS, we run a business simulation where leaders get to ‘run’ the business for three years. Taking a simplified view of the company, we essentially build a game board based on our five-year financial model and this year’s three executive focus areas,” says Fishner.
Stephen Covey explained that “trust is a function of two things: competence and character. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, and your track record. Character includes your integrity, your motive and your intent with people. Both are vital.”
Great teams are comprised of ordinary people that are empowered and inspired.
Truly empowered teams that produce extraordinary results don’t require exceptional hires. They do require people that are competent and not assholes, so they can establish the necessary trust with their teammates and with the rest of the company.
Truly empowered teams also need the business context that comes from the leadership – especially the product vision – and the support of their management, especially ongoing coaching, and then given the opportunity to figure out the best way to solve the problems they have been assigned.
The fourth role is by far the most important. It’s the role the vast majority of engineers will follow in their careers, and I’m going to call it “This. Forever.” The role you have right now is the thing you are going to do be doing forever.
A depressing thought? Not when you remember you’re on a quest.
To sum up: Variance is the enemy of performance and the source of much of the latency we encounter when using software.
To keep latency to a minimum:
- As a rule of thumb, target utilization below 75%,
- Steer slower workloads to paths with lower utilization,
- Limit variance as much as possible when utilization is high,
- Implement backpressure in systems where it is not built-in,
- Use throttling and load shedding to reduce pressure on downstream queues.
Pat has collected a list of resources for learning about product management.
Most explanations of organizational success or failure are crap.
an organization doing work is just an incredibly complex, dynamic, distributed, parallel process.
As with writing highly-concurrent applications, building high-performing organizations requires a careful and continuous search for shared resources, and developing explicit strategies for mitigating their impact on performance.
The only scalable strategy for containing coherence costs is to limit the number of people an individual needs to talk to in order to do their job to a constant factor.
There are so many quotable sections in this piece.
Go and have a read if you think about organisations, how they work, and how to improve them.
Anyway, Zuckerberg is in the news along with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, in a heartwarming generational fight between billionaires for who gets to say: “Bitch, I’m not IN the news, I OWN the news.”
I don’t need areas or projects to do my work effectively. I don’t need complex chaining rules and sequences. I don’t need start dates or tags. In late November I realized that while Things still worked fine for me, I was using it not for task management any longer — but instead I was using it as a reminder engine.
I think all I need is a Reminder engine, I am pretty good at getting my tasks done once I am reminded of them.
I’ve been thinking about how working as a manager differs from working as an individual contributor. One thing I’ve noticed is that my day to day work as a manager has become more asynchronous.
Projects tend to be composed of a series of pings and responses with the odd timeout when I haven’t heard back from someone.
This post from Ben resonates with me because I feel that my productivity system is more useful when it reminds me to do things rather than helps me break down the steps of a particular task.
Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.
In every conversation you’re part of, create clarity and reduce chaos.
With more advice on how to do that in the linked thread.
A series of posts from Hillel Wayne resulting from interviews with people who have worked as both traditional engineers and software engineers.
I appreciate that this is based upon the views of folks who’ve actually worked on both sides of the fence.
The word “scalable” has a mystical and stupefying power over the mind of the software engineer. Its mere utterance can whip them into a depraved frenzy. Grim actions have been justified using this word.
An inspection of how values affect software through the lens of text editors.
Because I was burned out and didn’t want to think about working any more than I needed to, I instituted a no-meeting, no-deadline culture.
For me, it was no longer about growth at all costs, but “freedom at all costs.”
At some point, it clicked: Creators make money so they can make stuff, instead of the other way around. Why not adopt this framing at Gumroad, too?
This is what working in the creator economy should feel like.
A look at the unorthodox way Gumroad operates.
No. 26 (Montemerlo’s Law) Don’t do nuthin’ dumb.
A Campaign is a long-running effort to enact global change safely within a sociotechnical system.
Campaigns work well to address:
- Technical changes with large social components.
- Technical changes that require everyone to do a little bit of work.
- High-value or inevitable future worlds
Clarity enables patterns of coherent action across the organization. Contextual understanding supports initiative–people don’t have to wait to be told what to do. It speeds decision-making as people closer to the work have the information to make more decisions in a reasonable way. Clarity reduces the need for supervision.
Smoothing the flow of work, organizing work and teams to reduce dependencies and handoffs, is management work.
Sadly, or perhaps luckily, most experimentation isn’t all that dramatic. It mainly means trying something new and using the results to decide a further course of action. You can experiment with a more efficient route to the office, with a new dinner recipe, or a new vacation destination. The element that distinguishes an experiment from serendipity is that you have a hypothesis that you are looking to verify or falsify based on data that you glean from running the experiment.
But the point is, in just a few short weeks on the job, I had already realized that because every tough decision came down to a probability, then certainty was an impossibility — which could leave me encumbered by the sense that I could never get it quite right. So rather than let myself get paralyzed in the quest for a perfect solution, or succumb to the temptation to just go with my gut every time, I created a sound decision-making process — one where I really listened to the experts, followed the facts, considered my goals and weighed all of that against my principles. Then, no matter how things turned out, I would at least know I had done my level best with the information in front of me.