Human DevOps

Software Delivery Club Newsletter 2023-02-24

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

"Nobody started programming because they wanted to be an Engineering Manager."

I found this the funniest (and most tragic) line I read this week goes to ​Marijo Glavaš on LinkedIn.

Why do I think this is tragic? Well, it's because I've been there - I've been at that point where you're neither a coder or an actual "doer" - just a talker, counter of beans and organiser of meetings. I've been a facilitator of egos - occasionally a sounding board but more often than not a pain in the ass.

Engineering Managers do get paid a lot - sure - but they have to deal with a lot too. It's not an easy option and it's not for everyone. I know those who have tried and gone back to an Individual Contributor role. I know very few personally who have made a career out of it - because if you are one, you need to be an ambassador for the company you for work. You have to truly believe in the product and that you can build it together, better.

So this week's thought is this - do you love where you work? Do you love the mission?

This week I launched a couple of parts of my mission. Firstly I'm now available as a Fractional CTO. What's that? Put simply it's an engineering boss who does everything for your company without the overhead of a fulltime employee. So whether you need guidance on architecture, technology choice, engineering practice, hiring and growing your capacity, running operations, improving speed and agility of delivery - a fractional CTO does all that and more for you. No long term commitment, just answers and solutions when you need them on tap.

Secondly I've put together the first draft of my new course Modern Software Delivery. This is a 3-day part-time (4 hours per day) online course for tech industry leaders and walks through the challenges and opportunities available to us in software delivery. From understanding what modern software architecture is, how cloud and containers are challenging the nature of delivery, to shaping our ambitions for our legacy systems and making sure that we can engineer effectively for emergent architecture, measure our customer's success more effectively and deliver more business value, faster.

If you're interested in hearing more then just reply to this email - I read every one!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the rest of the articles I put together this week.

- Richard

Is Splunk better than Datadog?

Published on February 23, 2023

Is Splunk better than DataDog? Is Honeycomb better than CloudWatch? Can we even compare these things 1-2-1? Not really, and that’s the point. They all provide a platform for observability, but ultimately it’s going to be down to the implementation in your organisation to get the most out of them. The problem these tools aim… Read More »Is Splunk better than Datadog?


Why Wait to Discover Mistakes?

Published on February 23, 2023

The very best of Continuous Delivery, Agile and Lean tell us that we should iterate quickly in small steps. To iterate quickly, you want to run locally. Install all your packages and build while you go. You’re building a bespoke development environment on your machine. Installing packages and dependencies while you create your solution. This… Read More »Why Wait to Discover Mistakes?


Fear-Driven Development: When You Work Against The Flow

Published on February 21, 2023

No matter how I slice it, I return to three things to remember to build a path to successful software. Testing, Teams, Architecture. Pay attention to those three equally, and you can’t fail from a software perspective. But what happens if your organisation structure won’t allow it? Let me show an example of a cross-functional… Read More »Fear-Driven Development: When You Work Against The Flow


Human DevOps

by Richard Bown

DevOps at is the heart of modern software systems. In my regular newsletter, I dive into the human factors that make successful engineering organizations where teams and platforms thrive at the heart of your socio-technical systems. From leadership to team setup, maximizing performance, tools and techniques.

Read more from Human DevOps

I'm sitting on the sidelines watching another big digital transformation roll into town. Those who have tried this before before know that big digital transformations don't work, so we're better not calling them that. Instead, these days we talk about cultural change. Realistically though this means the same thing. How can you recognise one happening in your firm? Well, suddenly there are a lot of meetings, and workshops looking backwards and training looking forwards. Some people might call...

about 21 hours ago • 1 min read

Software development is mentally and emotionally challenging work. Studies reveal that around 50% of developer time is spent on maintenance or wasted in workplace inefficiency. How can we, as individuals, enjoy our work and stay productive and healthy while positively influencing efficiency, quality and customer value? This question has bothered me throughout my career, and I'm finally on a path to finding some practical answers. As I delve into this topic, I'm struck by the profound...

8 days ago • 1 min read

Sometimes you need to give a little to get a little. Sometimes you need to ask a lot more from your employer than you might think is fair. But what's the alternative? Staying in a job just because you are scared of what's next? Staying in a job that is making you miserable? While we might fear our jobs will be taken over by AI, or we'll be left behind, or we'll never get enough experience to be taken seriously, just remember, everyone else is doubting as much as you are. Keep balanced, keep...

15 days ago • 1 min read
Share this post