Human DevOps

Friday 16th June - Quality is Hard, Measurement is Important

Published 10 months ago • 2 min read

​Firstly some news - you might have noticed that the frequency of this newsletter is no longer actually weekly. Due to my current workload, I have less time to write and record things and this newsletter has also suffered. Apologies to my recent subscribers for this but life gets in the way sometimes, and I do hope you stick around.

While it's nice to spend a lot of time reading books and writing thoughts - practice is invaluable. I'm in a busy period where I'm putting into practice a lot of the things I've been talking about over the last year, and this takes a lot of energy.

So what am I practising currently?

  1. Improving a software project where over-specification of features hurts its ability to deliver.
  2. Effective automation of testing in a microservices architecture.

No matter how far we get with architecture and frameworks, the human ability to overcomplicate software delivery invariably comes to the surface. Simplicity takes effort. It's easier to copy/paste and keep appearing to be productive without stopping to think, refactor, redesign and come away with a better solution which will actually enable you to move faster. When I engage with a client, I ask hard questions about the software delivery process (lots of "Whys?") to ensure that we are not kidding ourselves about how productive we are. It's somehow easy to ask "Why?" though - what we then need to do is show improvement and this is where a quality measure is so important.

I would rather spend more time firstly deciding on a fair measure of quality and then improving it (both quality of tests and coverage) than I would any amount of end-to-end testing. Often this means focusing on the "base" of the testing pyramid - unit testing. By paying close attention to what we are building and validating it as we go.

The message here is often difficult when there are established processes in place. The good news is that by measuring what we are doing we should be able to show improvement quite quickly. From the linked blog article:

Think about how you measure success and look at long-term trends rather than short-term spikes. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says:

“Just because improvements aren’t visible, it doesn’t mean they’re not happening”

I hope you have a great weekend and that you are having the same nice weather that we're currently enjoying in the Netherlands. Until the next time, which I hope will be in a couple of weeks...

In the meantime, please check out the blog archives on my website and the newsletter archives too. Additionally, the Lovin' Legacy podcast is not dead, it's just sleeping (in the words of Monty Python).


-- Richard

Have You Ever Tried to Make Software Without Using Humans?

Published on June 10, 2023

Could we have been persuaded by the recent AI hype that humans are no longer important in writing software? So much of what we do in ‘software delivery’ comes across as being robotic or by-the-numbers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was possible. Creating software is however not as simple as setting up some… Read More »Have You Ever Tried to Make Software Without Using Humans?


Human DevOps

by Richard Bown

Join my newsletter for regular views and news about doing effective, essential human DevOps engineering. I dive into the human factors that make successful DevOps organizations and the teams and platforms at the heart of your socio-technical systems. From leadership to team setup, maximizing performance, tools and techniques.

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