The incomparable Jessica Kerr is back with another grab-bag of amazing topics. We talk about her journey to Honeycomb, devs getting satisfaction from the code they write, why step one for her is “get that new project into production” and step two is observe it, her angst for the context switching around pull requests, some awesome book recommendations, how game theory and design can translate to how we skill up and level up our teams, and so much more.
Jessica Kerr, TL;DR’ing herself for you:
When different parts of an organization need to coordinate, it seems like a good idea to help them coordinate smoothly and frequently. Don’t. Help them coordinate less — more explicitly, less often.
I think she may be on to something here…
Jessica Kerr talking productivity:
What makes a software engineer productive? You can list attributes like experience with the language, scientific mindset, intelligence, focus, a personally crafted IDE setup. Yet, in my experience, far and away the biggest factor is: familiarity with the codebase they’re changing.
This echoes some of our conversation with Jessica last year. She goes on to explain how the purple developer (pictured below) is 10x more productive than the others, not because they are inheritently better than them in some way, but because they are the ones who built the system in the first place.
Are you craving more of that wisdom you heard from Jessica Kerr on The Changelog #398: The ONE thing every dev should know? Yea me too…here we go…
Software feels more like assembly than craft. What if software used to be a craft? What if the standardization of common tasks in libraries and frameworks means craftsmanship isn’t such a big deal anymore? What matters now is knowledge of all those different materials. Understanding the libraries and frameworks and ecosystems and tools and infrastructure and automation. The implications, considerations, and conglomeration of their use.
What it sounds like Jessica is getting at, is that craftsmanship doesn’t seem to be required for entry anymore in order to thrive as a software developer. But I do believe there is still a place for craftsmanship in software, it’s just not as required as it used to be with the proliferation of standards. What do you think?
The incomparable Jessica Kerr drops by with a grab-bag of amazing topics. Understanding software systems, transferring knowledge between devs, building relationships, using VS Code & Docker to code together, observability as a logical extension of TDD, and a whole lot more.