Category Archives: Professional Thoughts

8 Best Practices to keep the Release Train moving

Continuous delivery which is a goal of DEVOPS relies on automated testing. Too often CD is attempted with half thought through processes that rely on tools that don’t perform to the level of functionality required. Manoja Nara outlines the steps required for CD notice the importance of testing and not just any testing automated testing.

Manoja Nara's Blog

We have moved far from the traditional way of developing and releasing software. All those few weeks-to-months of developed code that gets tested for a few weeks after which it’s packaged for production is no longer exciting for engineering and release teams. A highly iterative and agiltraine development process has evolved as a norm for companies dealing with products of any size and complexity.

Today, we see Facebook built and deployed in less than half an hour; Flickr having 10+ deploys a day and companies thriving for a daily push. All these web companies share some common continuous delivery principles, which drive their passion for short and frequent releases.

Here are 8 best practices adopted by some of the world’s best release engineering teams. While each of these practices alone can be a book of explanation, I tried to capture some “valuable clips”. Jez Humble and David…

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America’s Most Promising Company — Forbes.com

America’s Most Promising Company an Article on Forbes.com

. They are hitting the niche in the market not only with mobile but with the use of unstructured data. The possibilities are very intriguing especially the unstructured comments within the social media. How do you find the relevant comments that could make a difference or be acted upon? In my experience most people only comment on the bad never the good. The old adage one bad experience will be repeated to at least 10 people, while one great experience may never be repeated to anyone! Makes me think whether others are like me and tend to be skeptical of the good comments and focus on the negatives. I’ve somehow drawn the conclusions that the awesome comments are fake. Posted by interested parties. But couldn’t the same be said for the bad reviews and comments? Just a different interested party? The market that the company has landed in looks very promising along with the leadership and management style. If only they were closer to Tampa.

Physical Versus Virtual Presence

Telecommuting has been on the rise.  Technology advances have escorted the virtual office to the forefront.  The old school thought that collaboration only works if all parties are physically located in the office still exist.  Is there real merit in this thought or is it personality based?

Working from home isn’t necessarily for everyone but that doesn’t mean that everyone should be forced to work in the same manner.  It’s quite possible for a hybrid model, which happens today.  Some people are working in the office, others work in different locations.  Technology allows for working at the beach, the coffeehouse, home, or anywhere else with a connection. The caveat, is responsiveness and accountability.

Simply put you work as you would work in the office. Your hours should be posted and you should be available during the posted hours. This provides people with feedback as to when to expect a response and when you are available for contact.  Employees working remotely (not in the office) must still be held accountable for deadlines, meetings and other timely work.

The mindset that people need to be physically located in the same room in order to achieve the end goal of collaboration doesn’t apply to every employee. Personality is a big factor. With the exception of a few individuals, with the right leadership collaboration even in a high crisis time can be achieved virtually with responsive individual.  How can the leadership change the environment?

Set the appropriate expectations.  Working from home isn’t a free day to watch email while attending to personal items. It’s a work day just as if you were sitting at a desk in an office with everyone monitoring you.  You must respond to emails, calls, tasks and deadlines in the same manner.  I have found too often the reasons management is so reluctant to have a work from home policy is simply people misuse it.  Instead of allowing the work from home to substitute for appointments and other personal tasks, appropriately setting the expectations will provide for an atmosphere that will demonstrate a ROI to the company through a higher level productive from their employees.

Management still not convinced.  Fearful that work still won’t get done.  Set the expectation and start a trial.  A leader should know who would be able to work well in this type of environment.  Trust your employees. Surrender to the fact that your employees don’t need to be watched over with a mindful eye and will actually produce more for you while working remotely.

Leadership and Work Place Bullies

I read this article on work place bullies on DBAKEVLAR blog and since this is so common I thought I would share.

We have all been employed where there are workplace bullies. The article addresses those specifically in leadership position, but let’s face it co-workers can have the same damaging effects. I have to agree with DBKEVLAR that they not only pick on stronger people, but those that they feel threatened by. They are bullies because they don’t feel confident with themselves even though they believe they are only doing their jobs. But I often have wondered over the years what has happened to leadership in the workplace.

In my experience, the best managers are the natural leaders. It seems natural leaders often times are overlooked in the promotions or don’t want the added responsibility of people reporting them. Leadership doesn’t happen just because someone is good at their job which is often times the reason people are promoted to management, as well they are good at playing the political game.

Quote

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

— Peter Drucker