Issue #121, 20th March 2015

This Week's Favorite


You Don't Need a DevOps Team: You Need a Tools Team
5 minutes read.

Very interesting story by the Rally team and their iterations of scaling their engineering team while thinking of the DevOps role in it. It's interesting because we all go through these cycles, trying to understand what would be best both for the vertical (services) teams and the infrastructure teams. There is no one perfect solution, but use their learning as a way to challenge your assumptions and thoughts. This is something I'm struggling with myself in my company, trying to find a path to scale the engineering team while keeping us laser focused on being effective (i.e. building the right things) first and efficient second (i.e. building it fast).

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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Culture


How It Feels to Watch a User Test Your Product for the First Time.
1 minutes read.

As always, something to start the weekend with a huge smile on your face.

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Hiring Momentum: Underrated Component of Startup Success
3 minutes read.

Hunter Walk with another great post, pointing probably to one of the best indicators of company's strength: "If you want to really figure out the future, you follow the talent. Where do the smartest people want to work? What problems are interesting them? What companies are they joining?" While many companies build a strong brand to attract investors, do you invest enough time in building a brand for your company that will attract the best talent?

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Share it via Twitter or email.


Engineering Culture at Airbnb
6 minutes read.

Mike Curtis, VP Engineering at Airbnb, shares the engineering culture in the company, but also the stories of how it evolved. Breaking teams into verticals that focused about the persona that will use the site (e.g. Guest and Host) is a great way to distribute ownership and business KPI as you scale the team. I highly recommend reading "Cultural standards in the development process" - what are your standards and approach in delivering value? Is there an alignment around in the engineering team?

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How to Build a Happy and Productive Remote Team
41 minutes read.

Poornima Vijayashanker of Femgineer talks with Ben Congleton, Olark's CEO, on building a strong remote culture. As always in this kind of talks, I enjoyed the explicit settings and expectations you need to have in order to get it to work. If you run a remote team or considering working in a distributed company, this one is for you!

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Peopleware


Incuriosity Will Kill Your Infrastructure
3 minutes read.

Please share this post with every software engineering in your team. Worth checking the "game day" concept companies like Etsy and Stripe are doing to keep that curiosity and playfulness high - "Paying attention to “fishy” things lets you get ahead of the game with your infrastructure - instead of reacting to fires all the time, you can detect symptoms before they affect customers."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Technical Debt — it Doesn't Have to Be This Way
4 minutes read.

Having a conversation around Technical Debt is guaranteed to create some heated debate. What worked best for me was to make sure we always abstract those components we knew we had to remove at some point with a very well defined interface and tests, so we'll have a good regression test we can rely on. As I've seen more complex systems at scale, figuring out how to choose the right data structures became important as it's hard and highly expensive to have major technical debt in these areas (data migration, downtime etc.) Still, good read and interesting to share with your team. Have a discussion over lunch for which tradeoffs you should take.

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Share it via Twitter or email.


Post-Mortems at HubSpot: What I Learned From 250 Whys
7 minutes read.

While the post is a bit old, it' still relevant and spot on. If you need some tips on how to run effective post-mortems (I prefer the name we use BetterNext) check it out. If there is one important takeaway which I believe is critical it's "Never Let Slow Down Be The Answer".

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Inspiring Tweets


@patio11: You'd Be Amazed Both How Little Progress and How Much Progress Can Be Made in 5 Years Depending on Whether You're Doing Stuff That Matters.

@johnmaeda: People Who Can Focus, Get Things Done. People Who Can Prioritize, Get the Right Things Done.

- Oren

P.S. Can you share this email? I'd love for more people to experiment and improve their company's culture.

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