Issue #192, 29th July 2016

This Week's Favorite


How to Get Engineering Teams to Eat Their Vegetables
12 minutes read.

Duretti Hirpa with a great post (look her name up in Vimeo for the video version) on how to foster a great environment for people to do their best work. I'd make it my company's mission to push the notion of "display vulnerabilities open and honestly" -- the strength of the relationship between people is I believe an unfair advantage. It push people to help each other, it is easier to align around goals, it is easier to win and celebrate together.

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Culture


This Is Your New Favorite Video on the Internet (While Waiting for the CI)
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. Now I need to connect it to Slack and our CI system. Waiting just got a bit less boring.

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Resisting the Lure of Unicorn Culture
7 minutes read.

David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH) talks about the unique state of mind and culture they have at Basecamp. These paragraphs made a huge impact on me: "There a plenty of companies like Basecamp out there, but many of them just bow their heads and speak too softly. Partly because they are rocking what they’re doing and don’t need anyone else’s attention, but I think, also partly because shouting against the wind is exhausting for most... Because once you let in the VCs or the private equity folks, there are only three options: Implosion, acquisition, or IPO. That’s a sadly narrow band and I believe the world is poorer for it." -- That feeling of shouting against the wind is something I can relate to. We need such diversity of thought in the way we decide to run our business.

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“Minimum Bar” Diversity
6 minutes read.

Ellen Chisa hits the "Minimum Bar" as, like she writes it: "I am the least diverse person you can hire, but since I’m a woman, I still “count” as diverse". Honest and inspiring post on how to deal with what often feels as a candidates' pipeline problem.

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Don’t Pave the Path Used by the Unhappy Cows
3 minutes read.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea with a short yet precise and wonderful reminder, don't throw tech to solve a deep cultural pain: "If your teams don’t respect each other and can’t communicate, a microservices architecture that decouples deploys isn’t going to solve your problem, it’s going to make it worse. Its going to entrench your dysfunction deep into your code where it is harder to fix."

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Peopleware


A Compendium of Software Architects’ Pathologies
8 minutes read.

While it's hard to put things such as "Software Architect personas" in boxes, I enjoyed reading Marcos Chicote's thoughts. Agreeing with some, laughing about others, I know that you'd enjoy sharing it with your teammates and have a good discussion over lunch.

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How to Put the Right Amount of Pressure on Your Team
6 minutes read.

Applying pressure has a very bad PR out there, but it's mostly due to pointy-haired managers who abuse a powerful tactic to create momentum. Every time I hear people avoid estimations or deadlines, it's a strong sign of mistrust and lack of autonomy. The cycle continues as we're ignoring the problem, blaming stress as the root cause. I found Liane Davey's tips were a good start on how to utilize this tactic better.

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Recalibrate Your Productivity Sensors
6 minutes read.

"So, if a fresh engineering manager says that they feel guilty not coding along with the team when there is time pressure and things get tight, my answer is: You have to learn to deal with it. And if you can’t, you (and your boss) should ask yourself if this is the right role for you." -- Tom Bartel reminds all of us that managers should look at the productivity of the team. Tom's suggestions at the end can be a good checklist for you to calibrate your efforts.

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Inspiring Tweets


@petecordell: Telling a Programmer There's Already a Library to Do X Is Like Telling a Songwriter There's Already a Song About Love

@lindvall: Just Like Site Availability and the Rest of Operations, Usability Should Not Be a Silo. It’s Important to Have Everyone Caring.

- 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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