This article is part of a series on remote working.

OK, a quick recap…

In the last article we looked at the spectrum of permanence, which showed that:

  • Permanence can be determined by how relevant, accurate, or useful a particular artifact is with time.
  • Shifting to be more asynchronous means that you should leave an audit trail, maintain indexes of important information, and ensure that you regularly mark, file, tidy and delete your artifacts.

In this article we’re going to look at what it means to feel connected to…

OK, a quick recap…

In the last article we looked at the spectrum of synchronousness, which showed how there exists:

  • Implicit expectations with that communication depending on the medium and format you choose to communicate with.
  • A need to shift right along this spectrum in order to better support remote and distributed working.

In this article we’re going to look at permanence.


Whenever you communicate, you create artifacts. These can range from a memory of a conversation in a colleague’s brain through to a detailed written proposal. …

Consider this: what’s one of the most impactful skills that you can improve as an engineer? Is it your programming? Maybe it’s your debugging? I’d like to make the case that it’s your communication.

After all, software isn’t built in solitude. It is imagined, designed and implemented by teams of people. Being a better communicator will make you a better programmer. You write code for other humans. The compiler lets the computer understand it.

Communication skills will make you a better colleague, leader or manager. They will ensure that you are better able to find consensus around your ideas, designs…

Ah, a new year is upon us. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, we have been able to increment that damned zero to a one.

Without a doubt, 2020 was one of the most challenging years in recent memory for people from all walks of life, regardless of their location or socioeconomic situation. We were all affected. Even if the virus missed us and our loved ones, it was impossible to evade the side-effects that it had on society and the economy.

Companies that previously seemed so integrated in our daily lives to ever fail made unprecedented job cuts

Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

Yes, yes it has. The last post on this site was on 21st June 2019 and it announced that I had a book deal. Here we are, six months later.

This post is to tell you that the beta release of the book is now available for you to purchase. It’s called Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager, because that’s precisely what it’s about.

The cover of the book.

What beta means is that you get early DRM-free access to the first 240 pages. That’s 13 chapters in total. More chapters, content and edits will follow as they…

So I might be quiet for a while.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash.

Hello, there.

It’s been a number of weeks since I published an article on this site. Don’t worry though; nothing untoward has happened. In fact, something — erm — toward has happened instead.

Last week I signed a contract to turn The Engineering Manager into a book! A while back, I asked those on my mailing list what they would like to see in the future direction of this website. Should I be focussing on management, current affairs, technology, or something else? The answer was predominantly that I should try and turn what I’ve written into a complete tome. …

Should that change go out on Friday afternoon or not?

“But it was just two lines of code!” Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Just a fun tweet, right?

Well, maybe not.

Should there be times when production deploys are forbidden? Or in fact is #NoDeployFriday a relic of a time before comprehensive integration tests and continuous deployment?

You may face a similar dilemma in your team. Is not deploying on a Friday a sensible risk-averse strategy or is it a harmful culture that prevents us from building better and more resilient systems?

Ring, ring

Most engineers who have had the pleasure of being on call have had their weekend ruined by a Friday change that has blown up — I’ve been there too…

Will our children all learn online?

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash.

Education is big business.

It is projected that over 20 million students will be enrolled in degree-granting institutions in the US in fall 2020. That’s 20 million people willing to invest multiple years of their lives and to incur an average of nearly $30,000 of debt in order to earn a degree, typically to maximize their chances of starting a career in the discipline of their choice. This brings high pressure for the hope of a stable future.

The barrier to entry for our top institutions isn’t just financial. Getting a place is hard work. It is a journey that…

A lack of diverse staff is creating racist, sexist and classist intelligence

Pepper, a white robot developed by Softbank Robotics. Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash.

Our technology industry has a diversity problem. This in itself is not a new issue. But the subset of our industry working on artificial intelligence (AI) has a particularly acute diversity problem, and it is having a negative impact on the lives of millions of people, all around the world.

Since 2014, Information is Beautiful have maintained a visualization of the published diversity statistics for some of the world’s largest technology companies. Despite the 2017 US population being 51 percent female, at that time Nvidia only employed 17 percent female staff, Intel and Microsoft 26 percent, Dell 28 percent, and…

Workers will no longer tolerate the punishing schedules of technology giants

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group. Credit: World Economic Forum via flickr/CC BY 2.0


That number means 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, and is shorthand for the punishing schedule Chinese workers are expected to maintain. A 72-hour workweek with little time for anything else: No family time. No time to meet friends. No hobbies. Not even time to cook proper meals. Once you account for sleeping and commuting, one might wonder how ambitious tech workers fit in the rest of their lives. …

James Stanier

VP Engineering @brandwatch. Writing things that interest me. Hopefully they'll interest you as well.

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