Issue #322, 25th January 2019

This Week's Favorite


Metrics for the Unmeasurable
6 minutes read.

"As I've gotten more experienced in defining and using metrics, more and more of my time is spent dealing with areas that defy easy measurement. Areas that I've at times been tempted to describe as unmeasurable." -- Will Larson's post came in the perfect timing for me, as our organization is growing, and figuring out how to measure progress on multiple dimensions is getting harder and harder. Planning to take a few hours this weekend and think of a way to generate synthetic metrics as Will suggested, and then have a session with the group's managers to see how they'd approach it.

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Culture


OKRs, Explained With "Star Wars"
4 minutes read.

These slides by Andrew Cedotal are both hilarious and pretty accurate description of OKRs. This is now what I'll share as a reference when someone asks me about OKRs and how to use them effectively.

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Stop Wasting Money on Team Building
5 minutes read.

"We learned that quality collaboration does not begin with relationships and trust; it starts with a focus on individual motivation." -- Having managers and technical leads sit together and learn about individual's goals is a great first step to deal with potential future conflicts. From there you can set the baseline to discuss team's goals and then figure out ways to get individuals to commit (being accountable), so the team could win together, and optimize for the company's goals.

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On Sizing Your Engineering Organizations
6 minutes read.

"Once you understand that small teams are your unit of concurrency the answer to how large your engineering organization should be becomes: How many concurrent top priorities do you want to be able to work on simultaneously?" -- Kellan Elliott-McCrea covers the aspects you should have in mind when figuring out how (and when) to scale your engineering team.

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Peopleware


Operable Software
11 minutes read.

Once your company reaches a certain size, dealing with the complexity of the organization (after all, software is written by humans) and the code is the challenge. We need to figure out how to structure Observability and Feedback Loops / Empathy as we scale. One of my favorite takeaways: “This means that if you want to make your system operable, you shouldn’t aim to just expose all the innards you can. You shouldn’t ask people to be aware of how you’ve implemented things. Instead, you have to think about who is consulting the data you expose, and why.” — Think about it in the tools, libraries, and products you deliver.

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Dashboard Driven Development (Lightning Talk Video)
5 minutes read.

Guy Israeli with one of the best lighting talks I've seen, delivering real value (you cannot build usable software without proper visibility) while making me laugh so hard I had to stop the video in the middle. Seriously, my laughter was embarrassing.

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The Worst Career Advice I Ever Received
4 minutes read.

Nick Caldwell writes so elegantly: "Chaos isn’t a ladder to climb. It’s unwise to manage your career through the randomness of the universe, decisions made by other people, and org chart Brownian motion. Even when your manager, company, and peers have your best wishes in mind, you still must manage your own career with intent. Owning your career means have a picture in mind of what you want to do and proactively looking for opportunities which fill the canvas." -- Take the front seat in your life (not only at work).

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Inspiring Tweets


@Harris_Bryan: "If You Are Easily Provoked You Are Easily Controlled."

@justinkan: If a Computer Is Like a Bicycle for the Mind, Smartphones Are Like Juul for the Mind.

- 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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