People working in tech are always trying to maximise their ability to deliver value. We’ve created philosophies such as scrum, agile and later DevOps. We’ve created a plethora of work practices that are designed to increase efficiency, reduce waste and improve customer and client practices. Importantly, we’re not only interested in better processes that lead to better products, but also in improving the overall world and way of work. Let’s take a look at some of the central principles and how they play out across teams and departments in real-life scenarios:
Change your work practices to deliver value with small, incremental changes
In terms of software, we have realised over the years, that the smaller the better, the more the focus it is, the faster it builds, and the faster it drops. Arun Gupta is a Principal Technologist at Amazon Web Services, he suggests that there are key components critical to successfully delivering those small incremental changes:
- Automated continuous delivery: You need to have automated Continuous Delivery pipelines. Because doing those changes by hand, it’s gonna take a while.
- Tagging, which allows you to tag the versions you need
- Flagging, A/B features where you can say turn this feature on turn this feature off.
- Canary testing, A/B testing, where you can say, “I’m going to release this new feature to one person of my traffic coming at Tuesday, 11am. That is coming from a certain user agent, but maybe a mobile device or a browser. That’s where you start testing it. And then you expand from there based upon your health metrics on how that’s working out.”
Do fewer things at once to avoid context switching
Jake Levine, a staff software engineer at Meetup believes that which might appear lazy by some managers, is actually about increasing efficiency overall. He offers multitasking as an example: “Our non-lazy engineer is always working on tonnes of different things. They’re taking on tonnes of different projects all at once.” However every time we task switch, we have to refocus our attention to the tasks at hand which requires additional effort “we suddenly have to remember all of the contexts that’s related to our new activity, where we left off, what the remaining open items are, etc..” Conversely, if we focus all of our attention on one task at a time, we are likely to have greater concentration and be able to complete the task faster and at a higher quality.
Company culture is a critical component to deliver value
Thiago de Faria is Head of Solutions Engineering, at LINKIT. He contends, “Culture is the biggest problem in every field in every area. technical things and computer are easy. People are hard. And usually, people are hard because they are a reflection of how culture happens inside the company.”
He gives the example of being an on-call worker: “This is something that I passionately defend. Because I think people only write good production code, when they feel the pain to be on-call for receiving a pager duty notification, then you start to do proper testing, proper integration for things because you don’t want that thing to go into production. If it’s gonna harm, you’re weakened.”
Without the first-hand experience of the pain of pager duty, developers are less likely to commit to proper testing and documentation that reduces the painpoint the next time around. However with a pager call, when the dev doesn’t know what to do, if they have a CI/CD pipeline, “They’re just going to roll back to the latest version and open a ticket for you to fix that thing.
Hiring and retaining great people
While we are intent on trying to increase efficiency by methods such as automation of processes that would otherwise be long and arduous, the people we employ are also a critical part of the equation. Companies need to employ great people, provide opportunities for interesting work, useful feedback, and career progression. Without nurturing people and building great teams, people leave companies for somewhere better – and skilled people with experience are often in short supply in tech.
According to Freelance front-end developer Yaprak Ayazoglu, this includes providing support and resources for parents in tech. She suggests that companies need to be aware of the challenges facing parents at work – especially mothers – and that training would be a good option to help employers and employers gain empathy. All developers are affected by challenges throughout their career lifecycle, and emotional intelligence will help them progress.
Yaprak notes that fear of employment rejection facing many pregnant women, especially in tech: “I’m already judged unconsciously because of my gender. But after being pregnant, will I be treated like an idiot?”
Join us for Panel 3 – The secret sauce for delivering value
If you liked this article and are interested in further improving your work practices put on your agenda our next online event, in October! You’re going to love not only because it’s free but for the level of expertise and insights that you will be able to gather.
During the dedicated Panel, we’ll be exploring what truly is value and discuss how we can measure it in an unbiased way. We’ll unpack this tiny word, and we’ll see its different aspects. We’ll hear about the challenges our experienced panellist faced to maximise the produced value, from shaping the development and alignment processes to coaching their teams, choosing the right tools and technologies, and obviously getting the metrics right!
Master of Ceremony:
- Piergiorgio Niero – Head of Engineering at SuperAwesome
- Frank Amankwah – Head of Digital Engineering at Emirates Group
- Renan Gutman – Executive VP Product at Kaltura
- Chris Brooke – VP Engineering at Spirable