What a difficult week it's been, as more of the Western world moves towards self-isolation, remote working and homeschooling as the norm. Tough times for everyone - if we can help you in any way, don't hesitate to reach out. We'll be running some online round-tables and meetups in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the Events page - tickets will be free.
The Mentoring Circles are still proving really popular - there's a third one brewing right now; if you're interested, please do get in touch!
Andy @ CTO Craft
Reads of the Week
In one of the classes I teach at CCA, students were confused by mental models, conceptual models, concept maps, etc. I ended up drawing a taxonomy for models on the whiteboard, and it may help others.
Culture & People
Are you ready to transition to remote work today? With the Coronavirus spreading rapidly, many companies are making the tough, but necessary decision to have their team move to working remotely. The risk is too great with the ease with which this virus is spreading between people.
As many colleges move online, I realize I have a somewhat-unique experience: I shameless ripped off the pedagogy from my small liberal arts professors and have spent the last decade+ applying it at distributed tech companies.
Having diverse viewpoints on a team makes that team better—but only if everyone on the team is willing to communicate those viewpoints. If people are afraid to disagree, then that diversity of perspectives loses much of its value.
A little while back I wrote a post on skills and capability mapping with communities of practice, I have been developing this work further into an organisational-wide approach, under the name of Capability Profile Mapping.
Leadership & Self-management
Kilby: A little bit about me. Since everybody likes to throw icons up about where they were, I figured I got to do that too. On this side here is the professional side. Since about 2001, when the first books and articles came out about Agile, I was all in.
If you have your eye on that role for yourself one day, or you’re looking to hire somebody into that role, I want to explain why the role is broken and suggest some advice. What does a CTO do all day?
Let’s start with a small exercise. Try recalling the time when you were asked to take up the role of a manager. Must have been a proud and overwhelming feeling, both at the same time.
Context: I am a senior principal engineer at Fastly, in the Office of the CTO group, leading API strategy for the company. The management path isn’t the only way to be a technical leader.
I often talk to peoople about their “value statement”—a statement of the value of their programme or project. But how do we make our value statement most effective? From my experiences, both positive and negative, wherever possible it should be…
Agile, Engineering & Product
Jenny Martin discusses what to do when the number of user stories grows large.
Agile has always been about colocation, about direct communication, physical boards, and all the other haptic and analog moments to create value in the digital realm. As a Professional Scrum Trainer, I strive to provide training classes without using PowerPoint or digital devices.
I hear more voices saying there is little point in doing time-based estimations on how long building software will take, and thus we should just stop doing it.
This article is certain to upset many people. I’m sorry for that, but the degree of ongoing noise and confusion surrounding the role of product at tech companies is only getting worse.
‘Autonomy without accountability equals anarchy’ summarizes an essential design element of any agile organization. Without these checks and balances in place any aspiration to transform an organization is likely to fail. (Or at best level out at a mechanistic level.
Early Google employees decided to work with a shared codebase managed through a centralized source control system. This approach has served Google well for more than 16 years, and today the vast majority of Google's software assets continues to be stored in a single, shared repository.
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Have an amazing week!