SWLW #450: The limits of optimization, Building a Data Team at a mid-stage startup, and more.

A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found around people, culture and leadership in tech. You can also read this issue online and recommend this newsletter to your teammates for a great discussion.

Heya,

As always, below you can read my best findings for the week -
 

This Week's Favorite


​​Concepts I Use Every Day: BAPO
4 minutes read.

Jason Yip with a powerful framework to figure out how to leverage your business needs and strategy to impact architecture and org structure. One element that is often missing is organization size, as some architectures (and structure) require a certain size to execute well.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.

 



Product [sponsored]




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Culture


Bitcoin Conferences Operate at a Different Level
1 minute read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face, even in this difficult time.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



Building a Data Team at a Mid-Stage Startup: A Short Story
14 minutes read.

You'll enjoy Erik Bernhardsson's story as I'm pretty sure you've witnessed it yourself. Share it with people in your organization (tip: not only engineers) and discuss where you see similar situations worth working together to solve them. This is my favorite takeaway: "What I think makes most sense to push for is a centralization the reporting structure, but keeping the work management decentralized."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



The Limits of Optimization
11 minutes read.

"Humanity’s greatest challenge today is the continued rise of a technocratic regime that compulsively seeks to optimise every possible human operation without knowing how to ask what is optimal, or even why optimising is good [...] So as more and more of our lives become subject to regimes of optimization, we should remember the limits of quantification and strive to see what we cannot measure." -- wonderful read for the weekend. What do you think now about measuring the velocity of your team? What cannot be measured that is important to you?

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



Engineering Levels at Carta
12 minutes read.

Reading about leveling frameworks at different companies is always interesting. Take a few implementation details you like and see how to use that to influence your company's career ladder. Even if your company doesn't have one yet, you can use that to set your personal growth plans to increase your impact.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



Jobs [sponsored]


Engineering Director @ Tessian (Remote / London)
We're building the world’s first Human Layer Security platform and we’re looking for an experienced technical Engineering Director to join our team.
 

 Looking to hire for your team? Promote your open positions on SWLW! 



Peopleware


Uncovering Better Ways
6 minutes read.

Benji Weber suggests trying different things to discover improvements: doing something that you believe will be worse to see how it turns out, applying constraints, and more. Discovery is a messy process, and sometimes it's good to break the rules to see if you'd be surprised with the results.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



How Can You Evaluate the Caliber of People at a Company Before Joining It? Here Are 10 Tips (Thread)
4 minutes read.

Use Shreyas Doshi's insights when building your hiring process. Candidates will look for signals to understand what makes you different and stand out from the rest.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



Languaging: The Strategic Use of Language to Change Thinking
8 minutes read.

Copywriting is such a powerful (and undervalued) skill when you want to get a message across. This is important to every leader who wants to promote their vision and get the required buy-in to execute.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



And finally, inspiring tweets...


@matthewpskelton: If your "SRE team" "does the software deployments to Production" on behalf of engineering teams you don't have SRE; you have old-skool IT Ops from pre-2008... with a new name!

@jmj: If you hire a fancy product leader & their first big internal move is to create OKRs run for the hills.



p.s. if you're interested in joining SWLW's Slack channel, simply reply to this email and let me know.

If you're leading a team, consider writing your Manager README (it's free) or getting my e-book and interviews Leading Snowflakes: The New Engineering Manager's Handbook. You can also support me and my work by becoming a SWLW Patron. Thank you ❤️




Keep reading, keep learning.
-- Oren Ellenbogen.

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