Posts tagged with "#engineering"

List of article summaries

#developer-experience

How engineers can help deliver software effectively

Delivery managers and team leads have the responsibility to deliver a software system via an engineering team.

Your customer wants every feature to work perfectly and they want it delivered yesterday. Your team wants to learn and grow.

It’s a tough role managing all the stakeholders and creators in a project.

Engineers can help drive great delivery by empathising with and supporting the delivery manager or leads in a project team.

#engineering

Engineering systems for consistency and impact

Your most impactful engineering is done before you write any code.

It’s important to have some systems around how you approach problems to make sure you’re consistent every time.

These are some of the techniques I use to make sure I’m covering as many angles as possible when doing my pre-coding engineering.

#engineering

How software engineers can avoid commoditisation

Engineers spend most of their learning time on technical implementation content. Things like new frameworks, languages or cloud platforms.

But turning solutions into code is a tiny part of what you do and it’s getting less valuable year by year.

As we’ve seen with “no-code” and tools like GitHub Copilot, the implementation part of our role is increasingly becoming commoditised.

You could generalise that the value an engineer brings to a team is their ability to analyse problems and synthesise context. The part of your role as an engineer that will never be replaced by “no-code” or AI is this high level cognition.

The true human aspect of being an engineer is working in a team and considering other people’s ideas, emotions and thoughts while solving these problems.

So shouldn’t you train these meta-cognition skills as much as you train the specific technologies?

Every engineer should spend time learning and applying general tools for thinking. These tools are applicable to almost all problems so the compounded payback on your invested time is huge.

Clearer thinking will amplify all the other skills you have and any frameworks or tools you learn will give you results for the rest of your career.

Like any skill, improving the way you think takes deliberate study and practice.

These are some of the tools and systems for thinking that I refer back to all the time.

#engineering

20 questions for a valuable code review

I recently had an interesting discussion around the value of doing code reviews and the value of mandatory code reviews.

I think code reviews are extremely valuable and should be done by most organisations and teams.

A valuable code review will

  • pass institutional knowledge around the org
  • help all engineers grow their skills
  • maintain quality in the face of all the other time pressures your team faces

But how do you keep a code review valuable?

#engineering

10 Useful product-thinking lessons for engineers

Have you ever struggled to explain the business value of a piece of engineering? Like why a particular piece of tech debt needs to be paid down now?

Engineers can learn from the techniques and rigour that product management practice has created in the past few years to

  1. To show business value in their own engineering work where it’s not easy to articulate
  2. To empathise better with customers of the software their building
  3. To understand the business context you’re in

For example, how can you know that you’re building something useful for your customer? How can you convince others that you’re not ahead of your time with an engineering solution?

For engineers there are some product development lessons that will improve your empathy and communication with non-engineers in your org.

#engineering

Minimum viable discovery and software estimation for engineering work

I recently had to estimate 6 months of work for a new product after just 2 hours of discovery. This is a short deadline for an accurate estimate and I felt uncomfortable providing a number.

I ultimately gave a gut feeling estimate for the work because that’s my job and we needed one by the next day. I did specify it was at least 20-30% wrong and highlighted the major risk I saw - a new third party integration that we had never integrated with before.

The whole scenario got me thinking about what works and doesn’t work for me when estimating larger pieces of work. Here are some of the thoughts, tips, tricks and learnings from 10 years of providing dodgy software estimates!

#engineering

Which http status code to use for no search results found?

I was implementing a search REST API and was thinking about the no results status. There are a couple of options that are somewhat valid. There is no perfectly “right” answer and the discussion exposes care for API design, knowledge of http and care for developers who will be consuming the api.

#management

10 RFP response signals to watch out for

When you’re reviewing RFP (Request for proposal) responses you make sure that the provider has met all your specified requirements. A provider missing a requirement on the proposal is a bad signal. Then you weigh the response details against each other and finally the price gets calculated and you choose.

But here are 10 specific signals outside of the standard stuff above that I look for.

#engineering

Some errors to avoid in JavaScript

I was refactoring some legacy JavaScript recently and saw some things I needed to improve.

Here are the things I noticed with some descriptions.

#engineering

Refactoring conditionals to strategies (in .Net/C#)

I’m doing some work on a legacy code base and there are some common refactorings I do over and over. One of my favourite improvements is making long lists of conditionals easier to read and especially test.

I use the common refactor-to-strategies pattern from Martin Fowler to deal with these.

#management

Deliver 30% more PRs to production by having developers own their own testing

Is testing “slow” in your team? Do tickets pile up in the “ready to test” column every sprint?

If you think that the testers on your team need to fix this you’re wrong!

In a cross-functional product development team balancing the cadence and handover between development and testing is often a pain point. Read on as to why this is team problem and it’s best resolved by getting developers to thoroughly test their own work.

#engineering

Be careful of the JWT hype train

I’ve been researching using Node.js as a back end for a few months now and SO MANY Node.js articles, courses and project “starters” on GitHub suggest using JWT on your client facing API as a session token.

I think there’s way too much hype around it and people are using JWT because it’s shiny!

#engineering

Converting a road bike into an electric bicycle

This is the guide I wish I had when I was researching how to convert a 2013 Giant Defy road bike in to an electric bicycle using a Bafang centre drive kit.

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