Shut up and let your devs concentrate

Oct 13, 2016 | Newsletter

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This week: How to improve developer focus, the question you should before implementing change, false assumptions regarding time, reducing the cost of change.   EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT

It’s up to Engineering Managers to Improve Developer Focus

According to Stack Overflow CEO Joel Spolsky, the days of ping pong tables, lounges, and communal workspaces should never have come into existence. In a recent interview, Joel argues that these all too common “work benefits” are in fact distracting and counter productive to the development team. He references Facebook as one of the prime examples of why developers need to be given the space and privacy needed to work effectively. In his words, “developers don’t want to overhear conversations. That’s ideal for a trading floor, but developers need to concentrate, to go to a chat room and ask questions and get the answers later. Facebook is paying 40-50 percent more than other places, which is usually a sign developers don’t want to work there.” In short, engineering managers must recognize that the most effective way for a developer to work is to be given the space and privacy needed to use tried and true agile development methodologies that don’t rely on listening to colleagues shooting pool while they discuss the latest techniques.   IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY

Effectively Implementing Change Starts With Asking The Right Question

O’Reilly explores how and why microservices might be right for one company and completely wrong for another. To determine if changing to microservices is right for a development team, they must first understand that change simply for the sake of change is never a good thing. Next, the organization needs to take a look at their current architecture. Is it a monolithic architecture, if so, is there something about it that isn’t working? By asking “what isn’t working,” rather than “should my team use microservices,” a company is more likely to find the right fit or solution. Depending on the answer to the former question, microservices might be a good fit. However, it is just as easy to realize that microservices could be the wrong fit; as is the case for a small team that is having difficulty building and deploying within their existing technology stack.   DEBUNKING PROGRAMMING MYTHS

The Plague of Assumptions

Noah Sussman discusses the innumerable errors and misconceptions that he finds while debugging other engineers’ test code. While the work might be admittedly equal parts interesting and frustrating, Noah has discovered that there are commonalities between mistakes made in both the test and application code. He believes that these mistakes, misunderstandings, or misconceptions (depending on what nominal is being used) all stem from false assumptions regarding time. To combat these errors, he created an interesting list of common problems with the idea that knowledge would help to mitigate developer metrics mistakes, while also eliminating all too prevalent bugs within test and application code.   INDUSTRY INNOVATION

Reducing the Cost of Change

IIn our latest blog post, I discuss with Jungho Kim, CTO with Architech, how the role of engineering has evolved over the years—from being relegated to basement, to being at the forefront of delivering business value. No longer do executives believe that engineering is purely a cost center. Instead, it is understood that engineering managers are at the heart and soul of a company’s innovation center. There is an industry evolution that is producing change at a reduced cost and at a rapid pace. Now, thanks in part to the cloud, engineers are able to use agile methodologies to deliver changes to the end users at an accelerated pace. Reducing the cost of these changes has helped to transform the way engineers use all available tools, such as BitBucket, GitHub, and GitLab to increase value-driven innovations in an effort to more rapidly produce the products that end users desire. Click here to read the full post.


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Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson is a co-founder at GitPrime where he leads design and customer experience. He is a Y Combinator alumni, with a background in product design, branding, and UX design. Follow @thebent on Twitter.

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