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Showing posts from November, 2017

Want to be successful in life? Develop an Asynchronous Mindset.

Want to be successful in life? Develop --what I call is-- an Asynchronous Mindset.   BTW, success isn't just more money; success is having those moments when you feel good about your actions & the impact they have on the society, family, friends & co-workers. So, what are the traits of people w/this mindset? #1: Giving back. Most people are takers; very few givers. It's never too late to give back. Give more; take way less. #2: Taking risks; most love status-quo. Most aren't even aware that there is life beyond day-to-day (or they don't know how to step out) #3: You can't win every battle. Sometimes, shut up & just listen. #4: Let go of things that don't matter. Most have a hard time letting go of what's in front of them. #5: Everyone fails; it's what makes us human. Not everyone uses it as a learning opportunity. Be a dreamer; be an optimist. Develop resilience. #6: Inner peace. It helps you stay focused on the problem as opposed to…

Difference between Junior and Senior Engineers/Managers/Leaders

Qualities of junior engineers/managers/leaders or just about anyone in general:  1. Struggle with brevity; struggle with coming to the point.  2. Use hyperbole to get their point across.  3. Complain about not being invited to that important meeting. 4. Jump to broadcasting a problem w/o thinking through consequences-- just to be the first one.  5. Worry more about looking smart. 6. Only state problems. 7. Love status quo or don't know how to get out.  8. Have a myopic view. Don't understand the root cause; don't ensure production defects remain fixed.   How to become senior?   1. Come straight to the point; provide details later (or, if asked).  2. Avoid hyperbole like "single-handed", "must read" (may be OK in some cultures). 3. Ask that you are invited. Simple. Don't complain; act. Be a leader.   4. Think through the problem; craft your message, and only then deliver.  5. Worry less about looking smart; put more energy into learnin…

Leading a transformational change at scale? Follow these ten rules!

Want to lead a successful transformational change at scale? Follow these simple rules (abridged version of one of my recent talks) Rule #1:
Find your allies. They don’t come to you, you must find them and explain your vision and get feedback & alignment.
Rule #2:
Have a strong vision; rally people around your vision. Communicate your vision widely.  Rule #3:
Make sure yourboss is aligned with you. Emphasize what a dramatic change you are making. Get alignment. Rule #4:
Not just your boss, but get alignment with your boss’s bosses and all the way up Rule #5:
Leverage outages. Ask thought-provoking questions; stir emotions; provoke action. Don't be a jerk though.  Rule #6: 
If you are serious about transformational changes at scale, half-assed approaches won’t work. You have to be willing to take a stand Rule #7:
Don't miss the boat. Most go/no-go decisions usually come down to a meeting (or two). Make sure you are prepared. Drive alignment prior to the meeting; not duri…

Leadership: first 30-90 days of inheriting a mess

You are a leader; you got that dream job or given more responsibilities. The problem is you are inheriting (a bit of) a mess; you are inheriting (a bit of) a dysfunctional org. Follow these rules to have a greater chance of success in your new role: Rule #1: 
Don't make any major decisions for a while (1-3 months). You will be so tempted to act; don't. Have your boss remind you this constantly. Rule #2:
Don't talk about your successes, strategies & wins from previous roles/jobs. Just don't. You are going to come across very poorly. You are already the boss; you already have the job. There is nothing left to prove. Rule #3:
Build credibility by being on the front lines. Be on call for a product; use the product; listen to customer feedback; sit in on CS calls. Rule #4:
Listen more; question less. Never ask why the f*** is something done a certain way (yes, I know, things will drive you nuts; be patient). Rule #5:
Be empathetic to the needs of the team. Don't…

"DevOps" is more about Customer Feedback and Quick Learning than Culture/Process/Tools

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Are you really "DevOps"? You have spent years going through an amazing transformation. You claim that you are now officially "DevOps". But, what now? Your customers don't really care if you are a DevOps shop/factory; they care about how your products --built from that shop/factory-- add value to their lives. Common sense stuff, right? Well, unfortunately, no. You'd be surprised as to how many people still quite don't get what the true spirit of DevOps is. You often hear things like:
We are a team of developers doing operations - we are DevOps!We are a Dev team continually deploying to production - we are DevOps!We are a team where Ops and Dev love each other - we are DevOps!We are a Dev team with no QA support; we are responsible for both manual and automated tests (unit, functional, perf, integrations, etc) - we are DevOps! We are a team of operations engineers doing software development - we are DevOps!
Sound familiar? While all the above are not fal…

Production Outages: How Mindset, Soft Skills & Inner Peace Play a Pivotal Role.

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As software engineers, we spend most of our time in making our products and services more operable, reliable, observable, scalable, etc, with one simple goal: make sure the product is highly available and is performing within the SLA. If a defect reaches production, causing an outage, we focus on repair it quickly to lower the TTR (time to resolve). What most of us don't realize is that an outage is more than just keeping the TTR low (yes, TTR is very important); it's also about managing the expectations of the customer. After all, your customers don't expect five-nines reliability from you; they expect five-nines customer service from you. There is a good reason for that. The devices they are using to access your product/service are themselves not very reliable. They are used to downtime and things being a bit flaky. They are fine with it. They will not abandon you for going down; they will leave you though for bad/terrible customer experience. Outages are also about man…