I've always had a hard time taking the whole "agile" movement seriously given that, in my experience, velocity and agility have SO MUCH MORE to do with the software's architecture than how work is planned. [1/7]
"Waterfall" exists to hedge against the risk of making a mistake. We know this isn't very effective though as often the biggest risks are unearthed during the construction process itself. [2/7]
But the capital-A industry pushes the notion that, if we just tighten the loop, then we can move 10X faster. The big assumption they don't like to talk about, however, is that the software *itself* must be highly malleable for agile practices to move the needle AT ALL. [3/7]
In reality most software is quite brittle and dumping agile practices onto a team working in these conditions pushes them further down the path to total gridlock. [4/7]
It's yet-another-cargo-cult. Management sees Facebook shipping every day, and think that they can just decide to do that, but don't understand that AT LEAST a third of Facebook's engineering efforts are invested in making this possible at scale. [5/7]
Microservices is the engineer's equivalent of this bolt-on-velocity cargo cult. They read the first 10% of the thinkpiece and come away believing a network hop will forever eliminate coupling across domains, freeing them to move fast. Oh, sweet summer child. [6/7]
If agility isn't baked into the software's design, it doesn't matter how masterful your Scrum is, it ain't gonna happen. It usually takes a rewrite of some form to get there, and y'all know how those typically go. [7/7]

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More from @rbranson

12 Oct
There are two buried leads in the Segment/Twilio news:

1) This is the biggest YC acquisition by a large margin. Cruise was next at $1B.

2) The company was setup so that everyone on the team shared in this win, including alumni. Let's expand on this...

2/ Point #2 was long-term thinking that started many years ago when they eliminated the post-employment exercise time limit (typically 90 days) from their employee option agreements. This is *KEY*
3/ It means that exiting employees who couldn't afford to exercise their options after they left the company didn't need to, and still very much benefited from this exit. Unfortunately, most startup employees don't exercise when they leave.
Read 12 tweets
24 May 19
Queues are bad, but software developers love them. You'd think they would magically fix any overload or failure problem. But they don't, and bring with them a bunch of their own problems.
First off, queues turn your system into a liar. Convert something to an async operation and your system will always return a success response. But there's no guarantee that the request will actually ever be processed successfully.
They also break consistency. Under normal operations, a queue might drain write operations quick enough to give the impression of read-your-writes consistency. In the concurrent case, a backlog results in reordering, with older data overwriting newer data.
Read 9 tweets
26 Apr 18
"Why won't people listen to me???" cries the engineer who wants more influence, thinking that it's just a matter of getting the right role or title or reporting to the right person. I struggled quite a bit with this for a number of years.
This simplistic thinking is behind promotions at those stodgy, bureaucratic organizations who we all love to hate. Ever have your thoughts or work baselessly steamrolled by someone senior or with "Architect" or "Principal" or "Fellow" in their title? Exactly.
I call it the Dwight Schrute methodology of career development. It's almost as if a career is a role-playing game where it's just a matter of gaining enough XP to get to the next level. This is not how things work in the Real World™.
Read 14 tweets

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