Performance Reviews

I had an interesting conversation last night about that old bugbear, the annual performance review. No matter how many well-meaning attempts have been made with SMART targets or peer review systems, every annual review I've had or given during my professional career has gone something like this: Here are a »

Bias for action and agility

What has linked all of the high-performing teams and organisations I've worked for or with? That title is a bit of a clue: it's a bias for action. What this means is they believe the way to solve a problem or to improve things is to do something. A team »

Bad Team Leads and Responsible Adults

Does a team need a team lead? I've been thinking quite a bit about flat team structures over the past couple of weeks. As is often the case, it's recruitment-driven. I'm going to be blunt here: I've been really disappointed by the prospective tech leads I've been interviewing. This is »

What is a Technical Architect anyway?

I spent a fair chunk of my career being a technical architect, most of which I also spent dreading the inevitable, "so what do you do for a living?" question at parties. Mostly I settled on answering, "I don't know" and quietly sobbing in a corner, because at least that »

Firefighting

Firefighting is one of the biggest and most common causes of lost productivity and morale in software development. It usually manifests as developers being pulled off their project to urgently fix something - the live site is spewing 500 errors, there's a button in the wrong place, or a senior »