#100 Jeff Glennon, The Man Who Left Technology for Beer

Summary
Jeff Glennon used to be an agile consultant helping companies align their departments to deliver better software, but he left that world behind and is now the Chief Operations Officer at Night Shift Distributing, a distributor of craft beers and other beverages in Massachusetts. Jeff talks to me about his move, the skills he brought with him and what he has learned.

Details
What he used to do, moving to Nightshift Brewing, bringing his skills from the software world. Setting goals, doing it as a team, "commitments", scaling, going beyond the local customers, opening another location. Being the chief operating officer and leading sales at same time. Differences and similarities between agile consulting and role as COO.
An agile approach to beer distribution, partnering with their customers, when to drop a partner.
Scaling problems, logistical challenges, capital investments, big decisions affect many families, how they make big decisions, strategy is a day to day and week to week thing. Three to five year plan. It's not lines of code it's beer, the similarities between the software and beer worlds. What he has learned in two years, "the value of stopping for a second", saying no and letting people challenge you is important. Jeff doesn't plan to go back to tech. "It's just beer"

Links

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#97 Cliff Agius, Decision Making as a Pilot and Engineer

Summary
Cliff Agius, software engineer and pilot of Boeing 787's talks about decision making above the clouds and in the office.

Details
Who he is, what he does, flying and coding. Critical decision making, what it is, an aircraft has thousands of computers, types of decision - impulsive vs considered, caging the chimp. Types of response, chimp (instinctive) , rule based (check list) , human (think your way through); managing the chimp response in others. TDODAR a decision making framework - time/team, diagnosis, options, decision, assign, review. How to hear more from Cliff.

Links
Cliff's Twitter
Cliff's talk at NDC London.

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#81 Doc Norton, Better Agile Metrics

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

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

#75 David Mead, Start With Why & Better Communication

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

Details
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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Links
startwithwhy.com

#53 On Freund, Scaling Development

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

Details
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

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

Details
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

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

Details
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)

Links
DevSecOps
Simon Wardley

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#46 Terrence Ryan, Driving Technical Change

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

Details
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

Summary
John Sonmez and I discuss his book Soft Skills and the non programming skills developers need.
Comment on this post and you might win a free signed copy of John's book.
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Details
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.

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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

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

Details
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

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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