26 February 2024
One of the more curious things I've found, both in my time as a consultant and as a software management executive, is the striking differences between what the title "architect" means at different companies. Strangely (or perhaps, not so strangely), the nature of the job changes significantly depending on the size of the company and how "interwoven" the various software development teams are against one another. The larger, more interwoven the company, the more your job as an architect is "referee or facilitator between teams" than it is "decider of technical strategy and direction".
12 February 2024
If you've spent any time on LinkedIn at all the past few years, you've seen the incessant posts about people "looking for their next challenge". Many of these are followed, sometimes weeks or months later, by additional posts (sometimes by the same people) about being really really really desperate to find something. Sandwiched right in between them are posts by LinkedIn "influencers" trying to tell us the right sequence of events, the "magic sauce", to get that next gig. Then, every so often, there's a recruiter in the feed that bemoans the behavior of other recruiters, says, "Do better", and disappears. Yet, nothing ever gets better.
01 February 2024
A colleague pointed out a semi-scientific study about interviewees cheating with ChatGPT hosted by interview.io; the results are not particularly great if you're relying on LeetCode-style problems: "Predictably, the [interviewee group using common LeetCode problems without modification] performed the best, passing 73% of their interviews. Interviewees reported that they got the perfect solution from ChatGPT. ... In our experiment, interviewers were not aware that the interviewees were being asked to cheat. As you recall, after each interview, we had interviewers complete a survey in which they had to describe how confident they were in their assessments of candidates Interviewer confidence in the correctness of their assessments was high, with 72% saying they were confident in their hiring decision."
Whoops! Maybe it's time to unit-test your interview process?
15 January 2024
For many years, people have ranted and railed against the dread managerial "Do you have a second to chat?" opening that has no context around it. Just Google "Can we talk" and you get something in excess of 4 billion responses, many/most of which talk about how to respond to those openings, coupled with a stern shaking finger for those who use them. But what should we use instead?
03 January 2024
A post on LinkedIn got a little close to my heart, showing a picture of Joe Flacco (an almost-retired NFL player, for those who aren't in to sportsball) and asking, "Are you overlooking experienced candidates because of their age? Take a lesson from Joe Flacco, who at 38 was written off by experts as too old and past his prime. Despite sitting at home hoping for a chance, the Cleveland Browns saw potential and gave him a chance to prove himself." And as one who's cough not exactly fresh-out-of-school myself, I thought it was worth a comment.
01 January 2024
It's that time of the year again, when I make predictions for the upcoming year. As has become my tradition now for nigh-on a decade, I will first go back over last years' predictions, to see how well I called it (and keep me honest), then wax prophetic on what I think the new year has to offer us.
04 September 2023
With the enforced hiatus I've been on for the past 18 momths, I've had some opportunities to engage in a few projects that otherwise would've gone undone or unexeplored. One of these projects is actually indulging in a favorite pastime of mine: TableTop Role-Playing Games (or TTRPGs, for short), which I've enjoyed since 1978. As somebody who runs a TTRPG campaign for some of my friends, I find that wading through piles of books, some of which deprecate material found in another, to be really, really ancient and antiquated, and the IT professional in me says, "There's got to be a better way."
04 September 2023
tl;dr While having some conversations with a client, we got to talking about teams, processes, and how to partition work. I realized, as I was talking, that while RACI is a reasonable way of thinking about such things, it's a little complicated, and I prefer a slightly simpler model: OCI.
25 June 2023
tl;dr Recently, while sitting in the speaker ready room at VSLive Nashville, I had a lovely conversation with Angela Dugan and Amber Vanderburg about something I've been saying for a few years now: I don't want to hire passionate people, I want to hire professional people. Turns out, Harvard Business Review agrees with me.
22 March 2023
It's the age-old question of our industry--do we buy something to take care of a need, or do we build the thing ourselves? No matter which way you go, it seems like somebody comes around later and makes it clear you chose wrong. The deep secret, however, is that no matter which way you choose, you're likely to be wrong later, not because you chose wrong, but because the context of the choice changed.
Older posts are available in the archive.