Sweat The Small Stuff: Resources
Sweat The Small Stuff Resources
I find that the retrospective is often a practice that agile teams skip out on, and I find this unfortunate because the retro really beautifully exemplifies the spirit of Agile since it involves reflecting on what youâ€™ve done as a team and making decisions on how to iterate on your process.
Carbon Five follows a simple process for running retrospectives which is outlined in this blog post:
Carbon Five recipe for running simple Agile retrospectives
If you are a remote team, Carbon Five builds a tool called Stickies.io which is great for retrospectives. Itâ€™s free to use.
Interviewing for behavioral traits
When a team is big you need to make sure youâ€™re hiring engineers who are able to work with people of other disciplines and maintain positive relationships with other teams.
Itâ€™s not enough for a candidate to be talented at programming if people in other teams struggle to work with them.
Behavioral traits to look for
- Can they tell a story of a time they made a mistake?
- If they canâ€™t think of one, or if they tell a story but downplay their own responsibility and/or blame others it might be a red flag
- Do they avoid low-value tangents?
- A quick joke or side note isnâ€™t a problem, but if the person struggles to stay on track in a conversation they might be someone who gets meetings off track or gets in the weeds when programming
- Any sexist behavior?
- Try having a man and a woman interview the candidate together.
- When the woman asks the candidate questions, does the candidate make eye contact with the woman when answering?
- Does the candidate appear to address both interviewers or just the man?
Slack – Three Unconventional Interview Questions
Tips and tricks for successful onboarding
The best way to make sure youâ€™re onboarding successfully is to have the steps somewhat documented and always be iterating on these steps.
Before the first day
- Tell your new hire when youâ€™re expecting them (ProTip: have them come in a bit later on their first day so that you have time to prepare) and make sure they know where to park and where to go when they arrive. If thereâ€™s any security involved make a to-do for yourself to ensure thatâ€™s taken care of before their arrival
- Get their desk set up and cleared out. This can be hectic if youâ€™re rapidly growing and running out of space but do your best to make sure theyâ€™re with the team
- Ask what kind of computer they want! Engineers enjoy having agency over their equipment. Best to give them a big budget and let them decide what to get
- Find out if they have any specific furniture/desk needs. Some people might need a different chair for ergonomics, for instance.
- Introduce to everyone on the team
- Get lunch together as a team. Bonus points if you leave the office for this
- Have a 1 hour 1:1 in which you are telling the new hire specifically about what your team does, what theyâ€™re working on right now, etc.
- Have the new hire spend some time pairing with an engineer on something. Theyâ€™ll probably be mostly observing but itâ€™s a good way to start.
- Pair them with someone on dev environment setup. Have the engineer document any situations where the actual process ended up deviating from whatâ€™s documented, and see if the documentation can be updated.
- Get them access to all systems they need access to
- Have the engineer attending all agile ceremonies (iteration planning, dailies, retro, any backlog grooming)
- Set up 1:1s with other roles so the new hire understands how the greater team collaborates
- SRE/DevOps engineer can talk about deploy procedure, architecture overall, and how the team conducts post mortems
- Designer can discuss how design is collaborating with engineering
- A product manager can talk about product goals
- A project manager can talk about the teamâ€™s process
- At the end of the first week, have a retrospective about their experience with things so that you can learn what worked and what didnâ€™t and apply that to future new hires.
- Set up a regular cadence to have manager 1:1s with new hire and set expectations for how those meetings should go.
On Amazonâ€™s meeting culture: https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/jeff-bezos-knows-how-to-run-a-meeting-here-are-his-three-simple-rules.html
Back To Work Podcast – Invitation to a Blame Party
A great episode that touches on how to have effective meetings
Sample design doc that describes extracting OAuth request serving into its own application: https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/OAuth-Migration-design-doc–ARjgA~twgejUiCLpRB3SkNvKAg-uetMvZEZKeZLKYbtcIznY
Managing Humans by Rands (Michael Lopp)
Postmortems and cultural effects on performance
How Korean culture may have contributed to Korean Airâ€™s abysmal safety record in the â€™90s and how they since turned it around
Etsyâ€™s thoughts on blameless postmortems
Summary of Amazonâ€™s S3 outage
Diverse Teams Feel Less Comfortable – And Thatâ€™s Why They Perform Better
Employee Onboarding at Startups is Broken – Hereâ€™s How to Fix It
How the Other Half Works: an Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers
*Managing Humans, Third Edition* by Michael Lopp