Skip to main content

Software Development Pods

One of the key responsibilities of Director of Engineering or any sort of software manager is ensuring the continuity of business.   It just so happens that no matter what you do your engineers will need to move around inside and outside the company. When people leave you are stuck with a piece of software that is not supported for bug fixes and escalated configuration questions.

As a manager your internal and external customers generally come to you for answers, but with a sizable portfolio of say 10-12 products even a reasonably technical manager can’t possibly maintain the products that lose the engineering ownership.  More importantly when you are pulled into bug fixing you lose your ability to unblock and facilitate the team’s workflow.

Recently I decided to try forming “software pods”. Pods consist of two developers and a tester.  This ensures that I have three people who know how the product works and two people who can fix bugs or deal with hot escalations.

There has been another good side effect of a pod.  It seems like folks have also started forming friendships and joint ownership of code. While these guys don’t have to do pair programming, they constantly have to merge code and talk about their respective design.

There is also a question on what kind of skill set you have in a pod.  Is it two mid-level engineers?  Is it senior and a junior?  It seems like two junior folks don’t really work.

What do you do to ensure continuity? What kind of effects have those methods have? Feel free to share via comments or over twitter @mikebz.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SDET / QA Engineer Interview Checklist

After interviewing and hiring hundreds of engineers over the past 12+  years I have come up with a few checklists.  I wanted to share one of those with you so you could conduct comprehensive interviews of QA Engineers for your team.

I use this checklist when I review incoming resumes and during the interview.  It keeps me from missing areas that ensure a good team and technology fit.  I hope you make good use of them.  If you think there are good questions or topics that I have missed - get in touch with me!


SDE/T or QA Engineer interview checklist from Mike Borozdin
If you like this checklist you might want to check out these posts:
Emotional Intelligence in Software Teams  and Good-bye manual tester, hello crowdsourcing!

Hire Fast, Fire Fast? Not so Fast.

Silicon Valley is full of advice and it frequently comes from people who have little experience on the subject matter.  A popular topic surrounds hiring and terminations with the king catch phrase being: “Hire Fast, Fire Fast.”  To me, what that usually means is lack of diligence, thought, communication and courage.

When hiring people love going with their gut feel, often with disastrous results.  There is an obvious subject of diversity of thought, appearance and background.  When thinking “fast” you are probably hiring people like yourself because humans quickly react to people who they believe are in their tribe.

A startup that lacks the resources of a big company often becomes so desperate to get technical staff that when a decent candidate comes along, excitement ensues and the employer doesn't slow down to put them through a more rigorous hiring process.

I highly encourage technical founders and engineering executives to write out their precise hiring process.  Of course, y…

Pull Requests and Code Reviews

Software development involves a great deal of collaboration.  One of the most basic blocks of collaboration on a software development team is a code review.  There have been many different ways of doing code reviews over time, some of this has been dictated by the tools available.  Git and online source collaboration tools created a set of best practices that are worthwhile of adopting on any team.

About a month ago I have looked at various articles about how to best create a Pull Request (PR) and do a code review and the attached presentation is the result of this research.  The presentation can help you guide your team and develop a set of collaboration practices that works for your particular situation.

It’s good to start out with why to seek a code review.  Having clarity about your intentions helps you guide the person helping you with code reviews and also to manage your expectations about you can get out of the code review.  The reasons for seeking a code review are generally …