Hello!

Welcome to the blog. The traditional reverse-date-oriented feed of essays and such are below, but I've also started working on some material that kinda wants to be gathered together in a non-blog format--more like collections of written resources brought together. So, before wandering through the blog list, maybe you're looking for patterns reimagined or Speaker Tips? Or check out the "Sections" menu above for a list of some of my favorite blog posts over the years. Of course, the Archive has the complete chronological list, most-recent to oldest (2005!). Thanks for reading; at some point, I'll get comments (Disqus) turned on here again, but that's a TODO for now.

The R-and-D Spy Team

What is an R-and-D spy team?

12 June 2024

There are four different kinds of R&D teams, each with very different actions and goals, and each with very different outcomes. The success of the team often depends on aligning the activities of the team with the intended goals, and it's actually quite reasonable for a company to have two or more teams, each operating independently and towards different ends. In this post, I explore the Spy Team.

The R-and-D Library Team

What is an R-and-D library team?

12 June 2024

There are four different kinds of R&D teams, each with very different actions and goals, and each with very different outcomes. The success of the team often depends on aligning the activities of the team with the intended goals, and it's actually quite reasonable for a company to have two or more teams, each operating independently and towards different ends. In this post, I explore the Library Team.

The R-and-D Research Team

What is an R-and-D research team?

12 June 2024

There are four different kinds of R&D teams, each with very different actions and goals, and each with very different outcomes. The success of the team often depends on aligning the activities of the team with the intended goals, and it's actually quite reasonable for a company to have two or more teams, each operating independently and towards different ends. In this post, I explore the Research Team.

The R-and-D Scout Team

What is an R-and-D scout team?

12 June 2024

There are four different kinds of R&D teams, each with very different actions and goals, and each with very different outcomes. The success of the team often depends on aligning the activities of the team with the intended goals, and it's actually quite reasonable for a company to have two or more teams, each operating independently and towards different ends. In this post, I explore the Scout Team.

The Four Kinds of Research-and-Development Teams

What kind of R-and-D team do you want to build?

01 June 2024

Many developers get really excited when they join an R&D team, because it signals in their minds that they're among an elite group looking to move the needle for a company. We imagine the business suddenly soaring in revenue and profit because of the whatever-thing we just built. We can hear--in the mind's ear--the kudos and praise raining down from the C-Suite as the whatever-thing we just built is rolled out company-wide and maybe, just maybe, industry-wide. We're excited!

Wait, what was it we were trying to do again?

The Problem With Most R-and-D Teams

Why is it so many corporate "R&D" teams fail?

28 May 2024

For many software developers, career success comes when they are placed on the "R&D" (research and development) team. It seems like a golden ticket kind of role: Spend time exploring new technology (which lots of developers enjoy doing), weighing in, offering insights, and just... it's like, all play, and no deadlines! And yet, strangely (or perhaps not), those teams never seem to last long--they go through one, maybe two iterations on something, and then the team is broken up and nothing replaces it for a few years until a new VP comes along and says, "Wait, who's tracking our future direction?" and forms one again.... Only to have it dismember again in a year or two. What gives?

An Engineering Manager Challenge

What would you do if you had to make the choice here?

20 May 2024

My LinkedIn feed recently brought me a question posted about an interview question the original poster faced:

"You're the tech lead and your team is getting stretched thin. You decide to add resources (sic; not my choice of words here) but you can afford 1 senior full-stack developer or 2 junior full-stack devs. Which do you choose and why?"

It's a decent engineering manager question. So....

Software Architecture, In Practice

Software architecture often means different things based solely on the kind of company at which you work; the larger the company, the more likely you are less "architect" and more "referee".

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".


Older posts are available in the archive.