The Extremely Negative Senior Engineer

A cliche of technology projects is the presence of an overly negative senior engineer who will not hesitate to communicate their disapproval, often accompanied by an extremely negative opinion on the realisability of a given project. I have seen managers finding it difficult to deal with such a situation. In this article, I want to... Continue Reading →

Meetings: A Curious Status Symbol

The fact that individuals that are considered high status in an organization often spend a frightening amount of time in meetings has apparently caused some people to draw the opposite conclusion: In some circles, having a lot of meetings seems to have become a status symbol, a sign that one’s input is valued. This observation... Continue Reading →

On Referring to your Colleagues as Customers

I have observed a pattern that companies large enough to develop internal tooling institutionalize a vocabulary that evokes the impression of a supplier-customer relationship between the teams building these internal tools and the teams using them. I would argue that saying “the customers request a feature” when talking about internal users does more harm than... Continue Reading →

On U-Boot Projects

Projects that are executed against the will and without the knowledge of the management are a particularly fascinating artifact of the software engineering world. The English term I heard used for these is “Skunkworks”. However, I particularly like the German expression for such stealth missions: U-Boot (submarine). Nobody is aware of the U-Boot until it... Continue Reading →

The Management Proliferation Cycle

I think that most practitioners in the technology space will have come across a project with an incredibly skewed managers-to-doers ratio. Symptoms are typically long discussions that are detached from the on-the-ground reality, difficulties to build consensus about the right approach because of the number of opinions involved, and a way too long wish lists... Continue Reading →

The Reorganization Pendulum

Let us talk about everyone’s favorite pastime: Reorgs! There are many reasons why they happen, some very valid (like economic necessity or making sure the right people end up in the right position) some a bit less (e.g. a new manager wanting to leave a scent mark or sidelining an underperformer without stepping on anyone's... Continue Reading →

On Referring to People as Resources

I would like to address a pet peeve of mine: The unfortunate habit in some circles to refer to people as “resources“ in staffing-related discussions. In the past, I have heard phrases like “We will need more Java resources“ or “Can we find more DevOps resources”. In this piece, I want to argue that, more... Continue Reading →

Problem Space and Solution Space

An extremely fundamental concept that is influencing most of my thinking around software projects is the distinction between the problem space and the solution space. It is one of the best models that I have found so far to think about the software development process on an abstract level. In this article, I would like... Continue Reading →

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