#81 Doc Norton, Better Agile Metrics

Doc Norton tells me why measuring agile velocity is a bad idea and what to do instead.

Who he is, what he does. "Escape Velocity", why he wrote a book on agile metrics. What velocity is, rate of delivering value to customer, "it is useless", estimates are "bunk". "The business" pushes velocity based estimates. Lack of trust throughout organization. Can we really reduce a complex problem down to a simple number. Anti patterns: more velocity, cross team velocity comparisons, estimating with time, measuring individual velocity. Side effects of metrics. Variable velocity. What should we measure, cycle time and lead time, fixing bottle necks, code quality, team joy. Where does dev ops come in. How to find Doc's book. Upcoming conferences.

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DSM Agile - St. Louis
dev up - Des Moines
Yow - Australia

#75 David Mead, Start With Why & Better Communication

David Mead of Start With Why talks about improving communication skills, leadership and handling conflict.

David's role in Start With Why, Simon Sinek, David's own background. Starting with why, golden circle. What we do, how we do it, why we do it; without why it is much harder to differentiate ourselves. Most companies start with what, examples of companies that start with why. People like to be around people like them and believe what they believe. Imperfect companies can have a noble higher goal.
How can engineers improve their communication; it's a skill that can be learned; give people tasks and roles that inspire. Better communication across the whole organization, sharing the big picture. Simple tips to improve communication skills, set goals that are attainable with low risk. How to handle conflict, don't take a position against something, stand for something. Conflict as a useful tool to resolve issues. What to do if conflict has become the norm, get back to the why; what to do when "why" is not enough, "we can't fix people, we can provide the environment where they can be inspired to change themselves". Don't promote because of skill; when leading a team you are  responsible for the team not the job, "management is about getting stuff done, leadership is about people". Always keep an eye on the bigger picture.

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#53 On Freund, Scaling Development

On Freund VP of Engineering at WeWork talks to me about how a company scales as it grows.

Who he is, background; WeWork is more than a real estate company; scaling in many ways, scaling ability to manage people is most important, promotion paths; change within the organization as it grows, speed vs agility, very hard for large company to change but it is still very productive; as you reach the growth stage more communication is needed; team structure communication channels and Conway's law; team types - big fat monolith type team, changing team structure to build microservices, MVC type team, infrastructure team; does an engineer have the skills to solve the monolith, fixing feature by feature instead of doing it all in one go, we work is hiring in Manhattan and Tel Aviv.

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#52 Eric Bloom, Productivity

Eric Bloom and I discuss productivity, what it means and how to be more productive in an IT environment.

What is productivity, different kinds of productivity; not viewing IT as a cost centre; knowing what you are good at as a company - The Box book; how to increase your productivity, getting in the zone, picking the right task for your level of energy; culture as an influence on productivity in an organisation, how handle challenges, delegating; dealing with a bad culture, "people are often not against you, just for themselves", diversity of opinion and perspective; bringing about change; Eric's book.

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#47 Alec Lazarescu, DevOps to the Rescue

Alec Lazarescu, CTO of LearnBop tells me how to introduce and expand DevOps inside your organization.

Who he is, what Learnbop does, how tutoring works; how Alec defines DevOps; how to introduce DevOps, lone consultant, re-branded admin team, dedicated team; why is software dev so messy; getting people to accept change, Conway's law, DevOps is about more than just dev; DevOps as facilitators; the role of microservices, harder in a big org; Simon Wardley - pioneers settlers and town planners; Spotify - squads, chapters, guilds, where do all these names/titles come from.

Book Recommendations
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Continuous Delivery

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)

Simon Wardley

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#46 Terrence Ryan, Driving Technical Change

Terrence Ryan author of Driving Technical Change tells me how to initiate change, tackle difficult colleagues and convince the boss.

Who he is, driving technical change, choosing the right change to make, who makes the decision, using authority, gathering allies; skeptics - the uninformed, cynic, burned, irrational; become an expert in the change you propose;  fighting the boss, target costs;  universal and situational solutions, using external pressures like regulations; should you start from scratch, Adobe's transition to subscription; is code really valuable?; immaturity and speed in the software industry; "change is a journey, not a destination", "change your organization, or change your organization."

Book Recommendations

Driving Technical Change

Zen in the Martial Arts

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

How Google Works


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#35 John Sonmez, Soft Skills

John Sonmez and I discuss his book Soft Skills and the non programming skills developers need.
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Who he is and what he does; life skills, skilling up; getting recognized, start a blog, blog frequently; setting career goals, make the steps small and attainable; what soft skills are, people skills, interacting with others, helping others shine; How to Win Friends & Influence People, a "cure" for shyness; we like to work with nice people; finding the right company, working for a software company vs a non-software company; making friends in the target company, getting intelligence, getting the reference; getting promoted, getting a mentor, acting the part of the position you want, social engineering; burnout, suck it up and get past it; physical and mental health, don't work more than 40 hours a week, "pay yourself first", give yourself the best hour, excess loyalty to a company; books, Code Complete 2, The Clean Coder, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Think and Grow Rich, Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life, self-image shapes us.

Book Recommendation
Soft Skills

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Code Complete 2

The Clean Coder

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Think and Grow Rich

Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

#28 Eric Bloom, Getting Promoted and Managing in IT

Eric Bloom of Manger Mechanics and I discussing how to get promoted in IT and what to expect as a manager.

Who he is, new book, a productivity cocktail; getting promoted, what got you here won't get you there, staying or going, accidental managers, management is a skill; what if you don't want to manage; advice on getting promoted, get management experience outside the office, nepotism in companies; what changes when promoted, Manager Mechanics; leading without authority, difficult team members, people are for themselves not against you; common problems new managers face; learning to delegate; politics; professional friends come and go enemies accumulate; dealing with superiors, your manager and your manger's manger; you always have a boss; mangers live in fish bowls

Book Recommendations
Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers

Your IT Career: Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Build Your Professional Brand

52 Great Management Tips

Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

#19 Michael O Church and state of software engineering

Michael O Church and I discuss whether software engineers have become the manual laborers of the 21st century, open allocation, agile development and how companies could be better.

Michael’s background; being an engineer vs a manager; poor perception of engineers, value of engineers, makers vs takers, engineers as a commodity; not everyone with an MBA is a bad person; engineers are the manual laborers of the 21st century, craziness of interview processes; continuing low status after staring a job, getting credit for work done; open allocation solves many problems, better work, better rewards, happier engineers, language choices, learning new code is harder than learning a new language; agile in an open allocation company, agile as micromanagement, scrum masters, lords and knights, sprints; what Michael’s company would be, constrained open allocation, small, profit sharing; how companies can improve, become engineer driven, engineers should engage more with business, understand convexity; understanding company politics; hard to challenge bad ideas, open allocation helps; arrogance is rewarded; engineers are not always the best at communication or accepting criticism, engineers should learn to fight for themselves; reading broadly, book recommendations, Breaking Bad executions and map reduce.

Book recommendations
Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell: Techniques for Multicore and Multithreaded Programming

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming

The Prince

The Art Of War

A Game of Thrones

The John Locke Collection

Other Recommendations
Valve – Handbook for new Employees

Mad Men

Breaking Bad

The Walking Dead

Silicon Valley