Issue #361, 25th October 2019

This Week's Favorite


SLOs Are the API for Your Engineering Team
11 minutes read.

The power of SLO, SLI, and SLA is that it creates strong alignment both within the team and with your customers (or users). This alignment will make it clear for the team how to prioritize quality vs. progress, how to treat production (monitoring, alerts, incidents management), and how to iterate on them as the company matures. Charity Majors with another epic post I recommend you to share with your teammates. Do you have clear definitions of SLI and SLO internally? For example, is your CI or CD systems have clear SLO other teams can rely on? Maybe it's time to start a conversation.

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Culture


Is This Docker?
1 minutes read.

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

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Software Quality, Bugs and SLAs
7 minutes read.

I'd embrace Rushabh Doshi's points as the first set of core principles you should agree on and document, so your team could execute on it. You can change and define it as you see fit, but just like it's important to agree on "Definition of Done" (DoD) before starting a task, you want to define how to measure and treat quality.

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Brands With Opinions Are Better Than Brands With Marketing Models
12 minutes read.

We all work for a company that has a brand around it: what is the mission statement (why are we here)? Who are the people working there? What is it about the company that is interesting? I think the examples from Basecamp are great, and I'd recommend following Charity Majors and the way you get to learn about Honeycomb (she's the co-founder) by getting to know her and her views. In a world with an abundance of information, your team and their vision and values are becoming a product differentiator. Are you doing enough to put them in front of the world?

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Yes, You Should Estimate Software Projects
8 minutes read.

Gergely Orosz captures extremely well my thinking regarding time estimation. Being able to provide time estimation is a skill you should practice and improve. It will help you improve your project management skills and your communication skills. It will help you set more explicit expectations early on. It will help you deal with risks and how to mitigate that. It will help you build trust within the organization. The tradeoffs are essential: "Pushing back on estimates also misses the bigger point about engineers staying focused on delivering the largest business value... For every major project, we shipped something different on the launch date, than what we agreed to originally". Like everything that is important, people (Dilbert type of managers) will find ways to abuse it. When that happens, find a better place to work at. Don't sacrifice your ability to learn, grow, and increase your impact.

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Peopleware


The Meta of Meta Learning: How to Get Better at Fortnite (Or Anything)
4 minutes read.

Zack Shapiro is one of my favorite makers. While I don't play Fortnite, the Meta Learning framework steps he shares and the examples from Fortnite (which you can easily replace with things from work, sports or other games you play) makes it easier to remember and understand.

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What Techniques Do You Use to "Retain" Concepts When You're Learning Something New? (Thread)
4 minutes read.

Helpful tips you can experiment with to understand and remember more of what you read or listen to. My methods are using Anki Notes and talking with people during lunch and 1:1s. The real magic though, is when I can use some tips and apply them on my hobby/passion projects like this newsletter, and see their impact.

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How to Become a Magnet for Talent and Assess Talent
7 minutes read.

Delian Asparouhov shares high-value lessons from his time with Keith Rabois. Some of it may be controversial, and some will fit better in your early days as a startup - figure out what works for your company now, and what works for you and your leadership style. One advice that is powerful yet very few are using it is this: "Go out and meet with A+ talent so you know what to look for when interviewing." -- don't write job descriptions based on dreams and shallow expectations. Figure out a way to use your network to meet with people who can tell you what to expect, how to interview for potential and skills, and which pitfalls to pay attention to.

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Inspiring Tweets


@shl: People Have Lifecycles. Products Have Lifecycles. Companies Have Lifecycles. Find the Products and Companies That Fit What You Want Most Out of Your Life at the Moment, Which Will Change Over Time.

@eliast: Spend All Your Energy Learning How to Grasp Principles, Instead of Methods.

- 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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