The Human DevOps - 7th July 2024 - The Politics


I lived in London in 1997 when the Tony Blair "New Labour" government swept into power. It was a time of great hope and audacity. It felt like "we" could do anything, but then I was 25 years old and living in London, and indeed, anything did, in fact, feel possible because I was at the dawn of my career without responsibilities or the weight of history behind my thoughts and actions.

So perhaps older and wiser, we are here. The UK has been (according to some) bitten down by 14 years of Tory misrule and a disastrous Brexit vote, and the country needs care. It certainly feels like a different country from 2007, when I left it, but then my context has changed. I'm more than double the age I was in 1997. My kids, all born in the UK, have grown up in the Netherlands.

Whether it's the First-Past-The-Post electoral system of the UK and Proportional Representation in Europe, we see that both systems are capable of surprise. Labour winning a landslide in the UK with only 33% of the public vote and only 20% of the population having voted at all for them. In France today the threat of Le Pen's far right is being met by a centrist and left-wing challenge from Macron and Mélenchon.

Politics has undoubtedly changed. Across the board in European elections, voter turnouts are down. People are simultaneously more informed and less interested than ever. Should this mean we should abandon caring about the processes which decide our futures?

This week I discovered the work of Andrew Harmel-Law from Thoughtworks via a talk he gave called Power Structures and their Impact on Software.

While we can aim to build our organisations to take into account social structures, ultimately, people are always going to move faster than policies or frameworks. In our engineering organisations, we need to think of ourselves firstly as humans and engineers and forget trying to see structure where there is none.


Writing Software is a Political Act

Published on July 2, 2024

Do you like a rabbit hole? Everyone likes a rabbit hole. I went from Andrew Harmel-Law’s talk Power Structures and their Impact on Software to the idea that software is inherently political+ and found that Technology is Political in More Ways Than One. To paraphrase that article, which itself paraphrases Langdom Winner’s 1980 paper “Do… Read More »Writing Software is a Political Act

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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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