Why limiting work-in-progress works.

February 17, 2019. Filed under management 127systems-thinking 6

Several years ago, my friend Bobby showed me an article about a CEO who used systems thinking to understand their company's bottlenecks, which eventually lead to him buying out his cofounder, who had been leading their sales team. As is the case for most stories about ourselves that we decide to publish widely, this decision turned out to be the right one, and their business flourished.

Binder for hosting Jupyter notebooks.

February 10, 2019. Filed under systems-thinking 6systems 4binder 1

A while ago I wrote about modeling a hiring funnel as an example of creating a system model, but that post doesn't explore how the process of evolving a system model can be helpful. This post does.

Writing a reliability strategy: reason about complex things with system models.

February 9, 2019. Filed under infrastructure 34systems-thinking 6systems 4

A while ago I wrote about modeling a hiring funnel as an example of creating a system model, but that post doesn't explore how the process of evolving a system model can be helpful. This post does.

Notes on Soul of a New Machine, Messy Middle, Crazy at Work, Company of One.

February 2, 2019. Filed under management 127review 13book 12

Every year or two I spend a month or two reading some general business and management books. On average, these are not my favorite books, but they usually have a couple interesting ideas and are imminently skimmable. Recently I've read through The Soul of a New Machine, The Messy Middle, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and Company of One.

Growing with your company's complexity.

January 29, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

When finishing up a difficult project, sometimes I pause to dream about how it'll extend [my career](/career-narratives/). If I bundle this project with a few others, mix in supporting a healthy and impactful team, add a dash of time for the flavor to deepen, and undoubtedly this will get me to the next level.

Meeting people.

January 26, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

In the earliest bits of my career, I spent a lot of time worrying that my lack of pedigree was holding me back. How much easier things would have be for me, I imagined, if only I'd attended a feeder school like Stanford or started out at a prestigious company like Google. Memories of that angst bubbled up when I was chatting with someone at a recent conference, and they asked how I knew so many of the people nearby. My first reaction was that I don't know very many folks, but it's also the case that I know meaningfully more folks today than I did just a few years ago, and that change isn't entirely accidental.

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Eng Management.

January 22, 2019. Filed under management 127writing 31elegant-puzzle 9

I wrote a book, An Elegant Puzzle, which will be available in late May, 2019. This is something I've been working on over the past year, and which I'm extraordinarily excited to share!

Newsletter for Irrational Exuberance.

January 20, 2019. Filed under newsletter 1

I'm a long-time believer in RSS, but I also realize that RSS support is far worse today than it was a decade ago, and have spent some time putting together a weekly newsletter of my posts for folks who'd like to follow my writing in a different way.

Metrics for the unmeasurable.

January 19, 2019. Filed under management 127metrics 5

As organizations grow more complex, the folks running them interface with reality through increasingly incorporeal abstractions. On the smallest teams, leadership might be deep in the code on a daily basis. A bit larger, and you're talking about tasks in sprints. Larger still, and you're talking about collections of tasks, and adopting fancy terminology like 'epics.' At a hundred plus engineers, you're likely talking primarily in themes of work with focus on several key initiatives. Next, you might be talking about the investment frameworks for making prioritization decisions.

Some delightful developer experiences in 2019.

January 7, 2019. Filed under product 5apis 1

I once worked at a company that built most of their functionality on top of Facebook's advertising APIs. GraphQL was not publically a thing at that point, but the API design was more or less equivalent to GraphQL. Properties would appear and disappear without warning, and reacting to changes required frequent fire drills.