The Human DevOps - 30th June 2024 - Release The Pressure

Do you always want more? More opportunities, more recognition for your work, more advancement?

Sometimes, it's just knowing more, solving problems, and being right. What do we do to ourselves as software engineers and programmers that makes us want to do more all the time? We want to know more, write more, read more and perhaps even present more.

I was interacting with someone on LinkedIn this Friday, and it made me reflect on what I am doing now compared to what I did a year ago.

A year ago, I was preparing a talk for the We Are Developers World Conference in Berlin. I'd been asked to present a talk I'd pitched to them, and I was part excited, part nervous. In the end, it went well—as well as it could have done, I think— but in truth I was simply pleased to get it over with.

Despite giving a few talks, I hadn't found that they were getting any easier. Also, I found that I wasn't getting to a point where I wanted to talk about the same subjects again and again every time. My subject was evolving the more I talked about it but I wasn't enjoying the process of presenting these subjects.

So, what should I do? I thought having a focus would help. So with the presenting season continuing apace I applied for a few more conferences with the same talk. And suddenly I found myself accepted and potentially travelling to Greece and Manchester and Ghent to give these talks... but immediately I felt a dread. I felt a deep unhappiness.

And then I read a post by the great Martin Fowler which changed everything. If he could admit that he didn't like presenting, why should I even pretend I did? Plus I have no services I am selling off the back of my presentations. I am doing it only for the insights that delivering it provides. I have no need to be on a stage to do that.

So since earlier this year I've decided to take the pressure off myself to present, and instead I focus on writing. I still meet great people online and at conferences and enjoy debate and discussion, but that's a very different world to presenting.

So, if you're struggling with the challenges that your job throws at you, perhaps even including presenting or representing your company at trade events, perhaps you just need to find another way to express your desire to connect more. It doesn't have to be from a stage necessarily.

And the best part of We Are Developers 2023? It was that I got to meet John Romero.

Have a great Sunday.

How to be a Better Software Engineer

Published on June 23, 2024

So much of what we do as programmers, as software engineers, is social. And most of us, are not the most social people. Programming appeals to the quieter ones. The thoughtful ones. The ones who perhaps don’t want to go out and party but are happier instead looking at the code, or searching for some… Read More »How to be a Better Software Engineer


Human DevOps

DevOps at is the heart of modern software systems. In my regular newsletter, I dive into the human factors that make successful engineering organizations where teams and platforms thrive at the heart of your socio-technical systems. From leadership to team setup, maximizing performance, tools and techniques.

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