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Human DevOps

Friday 9th February - Realising that the Struggle is Real

Published 20 days ago • 1 min read

If you've followed the story of Maxine Chambers in the Unicorn Project, then you know it's not a simple "10x engineer saves the day" engineering tale of derring-do. It's a struggle; it's hard for Maxine. Her story starts with an effective demotion because she's taken the blame (or been pinned) for an outage. The rest of the book explores the toxic culture at the fictional company Parts Unlimited. We learn about the people, the places, the feelings and that elusive thing 'culture' that the various characters experience as they try to turn around another failing software project.

The Unicorn Project and the Phoenix Project before it are significant books because they don't just focus on the work that the characters are doing but also on their home lives and the impact that stressful software projects have not just on employees but also on their families.

The Unicorn Project probably had the most significant impact of all the books I've read in the last year or two. It made me say, " YES! FINALLY, SOMEONE HAS CALLED OUT TOXIC BEHAVIOUR!" Gene Kim has accurately described the struggle of being a dedicated developer working for a company that probably doesn't fully appreciate their dedication.

I've been so inspired that I'm now writing my own piece of fiction, which examines the strains and stresses placed on families and friendships by tough, demanding jobs in software engineering. If you want to find out more, you can go here. Let me know what you think of the idea!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND: I've been navigating the choppy waters of logging this week. What do you do when someone else thinks their logging is fine, and you think it sucks?

Have a great weekend,

-- Richard


Can Our Decisions Always Work Out for the Best?

Published on February 5, 2024

Do Decisions Always Work Out for the Best?Or “No Correct Solutions: How Engineering Actually Happens” I’m currently training for a marathon, so I’m out at stupid-o-clock in the morning to get in a training run before work. However, this gives me time to listen to some stunning podcasts. This morning, I listened to the CoRecursive podcast with Greg Wilson about his views… Read More »Can Our Decisions Always Work Out for the Best?

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Human DevOps

by Richard Bown

Join my newsletter for regular views and news about doing effective, essential human DevOps engineering. I dive into the human factors that make successful DevOps organizations and the teams and platforms at the heart of your socio-technical systems. From leadership to team setup, maximizing performance, tools and techniques.

Read more from Human DevOps

It's February. So, what's going on with your project? What's happening in your organisation? Are people happy? Are improvements being made? Over the last few weeks, I had a few thoughts about improving from the ground up. I work day-to-day as a DevOps engineer, and from there, I can shape interactions we have as a team with other teams and also what products (or platforms) we offer. I feel lucky to have this role as I get to work with many developers with different challenges in multiple...

27 days ago • 1 min read
Friday 12th January - Leading with Kindness

January can seem like a long month in the Northern Hemisphere. This last week certainly seemed like a very long week! I hope you can start to think about the weekend. I’ve recently explored the subject of happiness in software engineering from an organizational perspective and explored the foundations of how software organizations comes about and why we occasionally find it so difficult to square. Let’s start with the concept of the happy individual building an application. It gets more...

about 2 months ago • 2 min read
Friday 22nd December - It's a Wrap

So what else is there to say at the end of 2023 other than "Phew, we made it!"? What did you learn this year? I learned that microservices architectures can be punishing for inexperienced teams and that monolithic architectures, while simpler, can be similarly perplexing when you mix cloud build cycles and tool integrations. In our modern hybrid-cloud enterprise, we increasingly need network chops to make sense of the connectivity of our solutions and the tooling that supports them. My...

2 months ago • 2 min read
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