Building Your Executive Network

- Will Larson tl;dr: Will outlines several tactic for engineers to do this. “Your network is a collection of relationships, and relationships always work best when they’re built before you need them. Set a small goal, like meeting one new person each month, and slowly build your network up over time. Don’t make it your top priority, but don’t forget it either.”

featured in #394

Move Past Incident Response To Reliability

tl;dr: In this guide you will learn: (1) About the current standard for incident response and analysis. (2) Where some teams get themselves in trouble with the current standard. (3) How to find your own path through the innovation and dogma of leading a company’s approach to reliability.

featured in #394

Let It Fail

- Max Countryman tl;dr: Max discusses the implications of letting things go sideways, as opposed to stepping in and creating a short-term fix, and the longer term positive impact this strategy can have on the business as a whole. “It represented an important learning opportunity for the broader business which would generate broader buy in and allow us to dramatically improve process.”

featured in #393

Reducing IT Costs With Observability

tl;dr: Learn about the top five ways engineering leaders can use monitoring and observability solutions to reduce, control, and optimize costs.

featured in #393

Removing Uncertainty: The Tip Of The Iceberg

- James Stanier tl;dr:  “When you’re staring a huge, challenging project in the face, don’t align your team around just getting it done. Instead, align your team around continually reducing uncertainty…” James advises us to prioritize the most uncertain parts of the project and focus efforts on getting answers. Answers fall into two broad categories: that it is possible, as proved by code, or that it’s not possible, but yields another avenue to try. You repeat this process until you’re done, or until you think it’s best to stop. “Focussing on reducing uncertainty builds momentum and trust both inside and outside of the team.”

featured in #392

Retrospectives Antipatterns

- Aino Corry tl;dr: If you use retrospectives, or any kind of meeting where people are supposed to discuss and learn from their discussions, you will have experienced less efficient sessions from time to time. There is no wonder in that, and it happens to most people. This article offers solutions to three common, unfortunate situations: (1) Skipping generating insights. (2) Getting lost in things you can't change. (3) Being dominated by a loudmouth.

featured in #391

How We Manage Incident Response At Honeycomb

- Fred Herbert tl;dr: This article is broken down into five sections that provide a coherent view of incident response: (1) Dealing with the unknown. (2) Managing limited cognitive bandwidth. (3) Coordination patterns. (4) Maintaining psychological safety. (5) Feeding information back into the organization.

featured in #391

Build Internal Tools, Remarkably Fast

tl;dr: Build business software 10x faster with Retool. Companies like Amazon and DoorDash use Retool to build apps and workflows that help teams work faster. Retool is free for teams of up to 5, and startups can get $25,000 in free credits for paid plans.

featured in #391

Against Overwhelm

- Paulo André tl;dr: “Throughout my entire engineering management career, what percentage of the time did I spend in a state of overwhelm?” Paolo provides the tools to prevent you to become intentional with how you spend your time and energy: (1) Clarify what goals, and how they align with your team and company, so you have a framework to decide how to not spend your time. (2) Use the Energy Audit to create visibility on where your time, attention and energy are going. (3) Given your goals, focus on leverage instead of productivity. Use the modified Eisenhower Matrix to define what’s truly important and a multiplier of your input. (4) With all of the above, design your ideal week and overlay each actual week on top of it. Push yourself to reduce the gap, and use the two as a means to reflect and improve weekly. (5) Whatever you do, focus on that thing only.

featured in #390

Writing An Engineering Strategy

- Will Larson tl;dr: Will discusses: (1) An example of an engineering strategy. (2) Richard Rumelt’s definition of strategy: diagnosis, guiding policies, and coherent actions. (3) How and when to write your engineering strategy. (4) Dealing with undocumented strategies in other functions. (5) Structuring your guiding policies around resource allocation, fundamental rules, how decision are made. (6) Maintaining the right altitude in your strategy by ensuring guiding principles are applicable, enforced, and create leverage. (7) The most common kinds of coherent actions in engineering strategies. (8) Whether strategy should be executive-lead.

featured in #389