Issue #204, 21st October 2016

This Week's Favorite


The Essential Guide to Building Balanced Development Teams
12 minutes read.

"Do your team members feel like they have a trustworthy guide and mentor who continually pushes them to improve their craft? [...] Mentorship is the most realistic way to make a 10x contribution" -- brilliant post by Eric Elliott on the importance of strong mentorship within your team.

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Culture


Literally Every "Big Data" Project Out There
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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What Would You Do if You Had Full Authority Over DevOps at Your Company?
11 minutes read.

Adam Hawkins answers a very complex question within the context of his own team & organization. An incredible take on the problems and solutions Adam suggests pushing his organization forward. Practicing such deep thought and putting it in writing must have taken him a lot of time and effort. It is sincere, it is pragmatic as his good intentions are clear. Change is hard but companies, just like any human, have to evolve over time to achieve real greatness.

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Opening Our Guidelines to the World
10 minutes read.

Another excellent "open source culture" example by Inaka. Highly recommend going into their github repo to see how they build their companies, e.g. check "Roles and Responsibilities (a.k.a. Career Path)". The goal is not to copy their style (although taking specific parts might be useful) but rather to learn from their process and values and they way they approach it.

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Memo to Jeff Bezos: Stack-Ranking Is a Destructive Employee Practice
8 minutes read.

"As the number of selfish players increases, so does the likelihood for the others to adopt the selfish behaviors" -- great post on why you should build your team to play together as a team, instead of only putting an extreme focus on the individual. Learning to work together, to foster strong relationships between engineers is one of the hardest challenges leaders in the organization have to deal with.

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Peopleware


What to Remember When You’re the Boss
2 minutes read.

These observations by Claire Lew are really important to remember when you're talking with your teammates: "whether you like it or not, there’s an inherent power dynamic in every interaction you have with your employees... Your off-hand suggestion, which feels so casual to you, can be interpreted as a mandate. Your critique, while well-intentioned, can feel like a death blow to an employee."

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The Myth of Low-Hanging Fruit
3 minutes read.

So much depth and truth in this sentence: "In my mind, declaring that an unfamiliar task will yield low-hanging fruit is almost always an admission that you have little insight about what you’re setting out to do. And any estimate of how much work it’ll take to do something you’ve never tried before is likely to be off by degrees of magnitude."

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Stop Writing Bad Tests. Write Only the Tests That You Can Do Great.
2 minutes read.

I've seen so many cases where poorly written tests caused the team to lose all of their tests, and with them - gone the confidence in making a change or movign fast. Treat tests like production code, and avoid low ROI tests just for the sake of completeness, or as Eric Gunnerson writes: "we should lighten up on the “you should write tests for everything”, because these expensive complex tests aren’t doing anybody any good."

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Inspiring Tweets


@danslimmon: YOU: Why Don’t You Run Linux on Your Personal Machine? ME: Do Coal Miners Keep Their Homes Pitch Dark and Wear Head Lamps All the Time?

@captainsafia: The Only Requirement for Being a Programmer Is Being Comfortable With Constantly Learning, Especially When It Feels Overwhelming.

- 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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