Curated Content September 2021

A few pieces of content I thought were worthwhile in the month of September.


Product teams own capabilities, not (only) code.

Product teams own capabilities, not (only) code.
As a software engineer, what is your job? and what is your value? On many teams, the work is “add features to this codebase.” We congratulate teams for moving JIRA tickets from “d…

Another great article from Jessica Kerr (@jessitron) on the purpose of product based software engineering teams. You provide capabilities to your users they wouldn't otherwise have. Only a small portion of that is code, assuming code is needed to deliver that value at all.


Ship / Show / Ask
Ship/Show/Ask is a branching strategy that helps teams wait less and ship more, without losing out on feedback.

I'm still chewing on this one, but I consider it useful to think about if your current PR flow is slowing you down. Especially if you don't feel your organization is ready to pair more frequently. Fowler introduces a shared language. This is safe to ship directly without a PR, I'd like to show what I'm working on via a PR, but feel comfortable merging it anyway, or ask, where you'd like feedback on the changes before merging.

Casual Raiding and Deliberate Learning
GitHub Gist: instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

A homage to my youth. Raids are some of the most difficult content where a group of 10-40 players in game like World of Warcraft must work together to take down a boss. Casual raiding groups have to be able to learn faster and on fewer iterations than "hardcore" groups, in order to keep momentum and continue progressing.

There is some great immediately actionable advice on giving and receiving feedback, as well as analogous notes about how folks can leverage the learnings of the high performing "hardcore" groups, without sacrificing the same number of cycles to get the learnings they've shared.


The Last Graduate - Naomi Novik

Another fun fiction read continuing Naomi Novik's Scholomance trilogy. Not going to level you up in tech, but more fun that a lot of traditional fantasy I've read. And sometimes you need a break. If fantasy is up your alley, I'd recommend this one as we continue 2021 and beyond.

A World Without Email - Cal Newport

While Cal draws inspiration from the tech industry in his latest ultra-clickbait titled work, I think we still have a long way to go on this one. And if you're not working directly in a software engineering team it's even more likely to be worth your time.

No Contest - Alfie Kohn

This is one that you're going to immediately want to write off. I don't blame you, but I'd still recommend picking it up and reading with an open mind. In it Alfie Kohn presents some pretty compelling evidence that competition, even friendly competition, results in worse outcomes than cooperation than we might assume, at work, at school, and in our homes.

Conference Talks

How Terraform Brought our Kubernetes Cluster Back From the Dead, Twice

I have to plug this one because it's delivered by an all-star member of my team, Jace Warren (@JaceWarren). It gives an overview of setting up infrastructure as code using Kubernetes and Terraform.


Though I listened to a number of new podcasts this month, and subscribed to quite a few more series that interest me personally, I don't have anything to share this month in podcasts.


A great thread on creating meaningful SLOs in data products, which has been something on my mind of late.

A useful reminder to ensure we don't all burn out. There's always going to be more work to be done. Set your commitments and give yourself permission to be done.

A great thread by @rands for anyone either currently looking for work, or about to enter the search. These are things you ought to be thinking about, either for you, or because you will be asked them by recruiters and hiring mangers.