Let a 1000 flowers bloom, then rip 999 of them out by the roots - Engineering Effectiveness in large Engineering Orgs

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eng-effectiveness

#1

http://www.gigamonkeys.com/flowers/

A great talk on Engineering Effectiveness, especially at larger organizations:

The tl;dr is the same however: as an industry we mostly don’t know how to do it and consequently massively under-invest in making our engineering orgs actually effective.

Most especially relevant for open source communities is that tooling will make your entire community more effective, with some specific charts and formulas that you should investing in engineering effectiveness early as dedicated roles and that it only pays off more as the organization grows:

If these parameters are right, for a thousand person engineering org we should devote over a quarter of our engineers—255—to engineering effectiveness, yielding a total effectiveness equivalent to 1,465 engineers for the price of 1,000.

I’ll quote another bit from the very end:

Your goal should be to pick the set of tools and processes you will support and support the heck out of them. Invest more than you probably think you need to and focus relentlessly on making the tools and processes you do support awesome. Get senior engineers involved from early on so they can make good choices for your engineering org and get buy in to make them a reality. If you get behind, as Twitter did, you may need to invest even more to get your garden back in shape. When you’re behind and the “official” ways don’t really work well, you’ll get more flowers blooming because people and teams will need to find their own ways to get their work done.

But once you get to the point where all the flowers you tend are awesome, people will use them. And if they don’t it will be because they have a real reason not to. And when you’re not overwhelmed trying get your existing stuff working, you should have the time to treat a team going their own way as a chance to learn something about how the product you’re offering doesn’t quite meet your customers’ needs.