/Charity Majors

Twin Anxieties Of The Engineer / Manager Pendulum tl;dr: Leaving management for an IC role creates anxiety that you may not be able to return to management later on. Charity doesn't think so. If you’re a good manager, you'll improve as an IC and will "spend the rest of your career fending off management opportunities." Moving back to IC also creates anxiety around performing again as an engineer. "After 2 or 3 years of management, it’s pretty easy to go back to engineering. After five years, it gets progressively harder. But it can be done."

featured in #303


How You Can Tell If The Company You're Interviewing With Is Rotten On The Inside? tl;dr: Charity presents strategies, such as backchanneling with contacts, effective D&I practices, and also maintains that how the interview is organized is telling: (1) Was the interview conducted in a timely fashion? Were you given detailed information about what to expect? (2) Were you compensated for your any take-home projects. (3) Did they get back to you swiftly at each step of the way to let you know where you stand and what comes next?

featured in #293


How "Engineering-Drive" Leads To "Engineering-Supremacy" tl;dr: Companies that describe themselves as engineering-driven tend to fall into 2 traps: (1) They alienate the business side showing little interest in other functions, such as sales or marketing. (2) Act like engineering is superior to other roles in the company. Charity hires engineers that show interest in the business, and believes that caring for the business is a "learnable skill" highlighting the tactics used at her company. 

featured in #284


Software Deploys And Cognitive Biases tl;dr: There are real reasons for not deploying on Fridays, and there are others often cited driven by biases, such as: (1) “It is more dangerous to deploy than not to deploy” - prevention bias. (2) “It’s always riskier to do something than to not do something” - omission bias. (3) “Deploys are scary, so we need to slow down and be careful” - slow motion bias, and more.

featured in #250


Engineering Manager Archetypes And Career Paths tl;dr: "If your heart is pulling you in one direction, by all means, follow it." Charity explores the following career paths: (1) The junior engineer who became an early manager. (2) The novice manager who wants to go back to engineering, six months in. (3) The manager who wants to go back to engineering, but only temporarily. (4) The manager who was forced into it and wants out... has wanted out for years, and 3 more.

featured in #246


Notes On The Perfidy Of Dashboards tl;dr: "Dashboards aren’t universally awful," but they do encourage sloppy thinking, and "static ones make it impossible to follow the plot of an outage, or validate a hypotheses." Charity believes more vendors need to build for "query ability, explorability, and the ability to follow a trail of breadcrumbs." New dashboards should expire within a month if unused.

featured in #245


Questionable Advice: “What Should I Say In My Exit Interview?” tl;dr: Charity is asked how to handle this by someone reputable leaving due to a toxic management culture. The issue with being candid isn't retribution, it's apathy. The key is to try and be effective. Put it in writing, keep it short and go through the incidents and issues, and tie them to material consequence (people quitting, etc...).

featured in #233


Know Your “One Job” And Do It First tl;dr: If you don’t do the core parts of your job, no matter how many extras you do, eventually your job probably will be in danger. This is a common trap people fall into and it's important to explain to your coworkers that you need to hit the pause button on electives, and not get sucked into them.

featured in #227


Should Engineering Managers Be Technical tl;dr: "If you want to coach a team, you gotta know the game." Charity wouldn't recommend becoming an EM without 5-7 years engineering experience. You don't have to be the best engineer to be a great manager. The key is to have both social and technical skills.

featured in #225


Fulfilling The Promise Of CI/CD tl;dr: "The time elapsed between writing and shipping is the room temp petri dish where pathological symptoms breed." Focus relentlessly on the length of time between when a line of code is written and deployed to production. Fixate on shrinking this interval as it forces us to do the right things - write small diffs, review code quickly, etc.

featured in #222