Software is Complicated, Given Enough Time

this is complicated at some level, but I don't want to look at it that closely

I often say that software these days is complex. But is it? In Cynefin terms, it’s more like an airplane than a family: it’s complicated. Given enough expertise, all the code, lots of data, and enough time, we could analyze the causal structure of any particular system behavior. We can reason about complicated systems. When … Read moreSoftware is Complicated, Given Enough Time

A Developer’s Starting Point for Integrating with LLMs

Here’s what I know so far, from a lay-developer’s perspective (no AI or ML experience). So you’re a coder, and you’ve been asked to integrate with ChatGPT. What do you need to know? ChatGPT is an example of a Large Language Model (LLM). LLMs are a kind of machine learning (call it AI if you … Read moreA Developer’s Starting Point for Integrating with LLMs

Participation without complicity

“I participate in this system, so I’m complicit in it.” All the cruelty, the racism, the poverty, the abuse of power in US capitalist patriarchy–this is my fault too? The guilt can crush us. TL;DR: no, it isn’t our fault. It is ours to do something about, while participating. Participate in the system to fill … Read moreParticipation without complicity

Accountability for Effective Teams

Accountability is about performance and behavior. Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage Accountability for measurable outcomes is “not the most important kind.” It’s the easy kind. The kind [of accountability] that is more fundamental, important, and difficult is about behavior. Lencioni, The Advantage It’s fundamental because behavior is what we can legitimately ask someone to change. Business … Read moreAccountability for Effective Teams

Alignment gets expensive. Don’t skimp on it.

Honeycomb has doubled in size since I joined less than 2 years ago. More people means we can do more things at the same time. Both “more people” and “more things at the same time” lead to increased overhead. There’s coordination overhead to get timings right on work that’s independent. Like, to release a feature … Read moreAlignment gets expensive. Don’t skimp on it.

import { utility} from StackOverflow

When you want a simple utility function that isn’t part of the standard library, what do you do? A. Find a library and use itB. Write the function and add it to an internally shared collectionC. Cut and paste from StackOverflow I’ve done all three in my twenty years of development, and I’m here to … Read moreimport { utility} from StackOverflow

The Viable Systems Model, and where my team fits

A viable system continues to function in a changing environment. We want our companies—and some teams—to be sustainable this way. How does your team contribute? Does your team have all the components of a viable system… and should it? Stafford Beer (1926-2002) coined the Viable Systems Model to describe what it takes. A Viable System … Read moreThe Viable Systems Model, and where my team fits