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How GitHub’s developer experience team has evolved | Liz Saling (GitHub)

How GitHub’s developer experience team has evolved | Liz Saling (GitHub)

The Engineering Enablement Podcast 13 April 2022

Episode Description

Liz Saling, Director of Engineering at GitHub, shares the story of how the Developer Experience group was founded and why GitHub paused features for a quarter to focus on making developer experience improvements.

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A masterclass on DORA – research program, common pitfalls, and future direction | Nathen Harvey (Google)

A masterclass on DORA – research program, common pitfalls, and future direction | Nathen Harvey (Google)

Nathen Harvey, who leads DORA at Google, explains what DORA is, how it has evolved in recent years, the common challenges companies face as they adopt DORA metrics, and where the program may be heading in the future. — Discussion points: (1:48) What DORA is today and how it exists within Google (3:37) The vision for Google and DORA coming together (5:20) How the DORA research program works (7:53) Who participates in the DORA survey (9:28) How the industry benchmarks are identified  (11:05) How the reports have evolved over recent years (13:55) How reliability is measured  (15:19) Why the 2022 report didn’t have an Elite category (17:11) The new Slowing, Flowing, and Retiring clusters (19:25) How to think about applying the benchmarks (20:45) Challenges with how DORA metrics are used (24:02) Why comparing teams’ DORA metrics is an antipattern  (26:18) Why ‘industry’ doesn’t matter when comparing organizations to benchmarks  (29:32) Moving beyond DORA metrics to optimize organizational performance  (30:56) Defining different DORA metrics (36:27) Measuring deployment frequency at the team level, not the organizational level (38:29) The capabilities: there’s more to DORA than the four metrics  (43:09) How DORA and SPACE are related (47:58) DORA’s capabilities assessment tool  (49:26) Where DORA is heading — Mentions and links: Follow Nathen on LinkedIn or Twitter Engineering Enablement episode with Dr. Nicole Forsgren 2022 State of DevOps report   Bryan Finster’s How to Use & Abuse DORA Metrics (and Abi’s summary of the paper)  Engineering Enablement episode with Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey Join the DORA community for discussion and events: dora.community

25 January 2023 54m and 45s


An inside look at the SPACE framework | Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey (co-author, SPACE)

An inside look at the SPACE framework | Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey (co-author, SPACE)

This week's guest is Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey, who goes by the name Peggy. Peggy is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Victoria, the Chief Scientist at DX, and co-author of the SPACE Framework, which is the topic of focus in this episode. Today’s conversation discusses what the SPACE framework is and what went into developing the metrics and categories. Peggy also shares where she sees this line of research heading next.   — Discussion points:  (1:29) Peggy’s background  (4:01) What the SPACE framework is  (5:55) Why the researchers came together for this paper (7:27) The process of writing this paper (9:52) How the SPACE categories and acronym emerged  (11:50) The authors’ intention for how this framework would be received (13:26) Finding a definition for what developer productivity is (17:08) The metrics included in the SPACE framework  (24:48) How SPACE is different from DORA (26:17) Why lines of code and number of pull requests were included as example metrics (27:14) What Peggy is thinking about next — Mentions and links: Where to find Peggy: Twitter, Website The SPACE of Developer Productivity: There’s more to it than you think by Nicole Forsgren, Margaret-Anne Storey, Chandra Madilla, Thomas Zimmerman, Brian Houck, and Jenna Butler Abi’s summary of the SPACE paper Peggy’s talk, What Does Productivity Actually Mean for Developers?

18 January 2023 37m and 48s


Spotify’s failed #SquadGoals | Jeremiah Lee (Spotify, Stripe)

Spotify’s failed #SquadGoals | Jeremiah Lee (Spotify, Stripe)

This week’s guest is Jeremiah Lee, who was previously a manager at Stripe and product manager at Spotify. This conversation focuses on org structure, and specifically Jeremiah’s experience with the popular squad model from Spotify. Jeremiah provides the backstory on where the model came from, what parts of the model were a challenge, and advice for leaders either already adopting the model or considering doing so. Discussion points: (1:40) What the Spotify model is (4:39) Jeremiah’s impression of the Spotify model as he joined the company (7:29) Spotify’s progress in adopting the model as Jeremiah joined (9:55) Challenges with matrix management (12:02) The role of engineering managers  (14:40) What the model was designed to solve  (15:54) Good autonomy versus toxic autonomy  (18:51) How Agile coaches were used at Spotify  (21:39) Advice for teams who are struggling to implement the Spotify model (24:50) Advice for leaders who are starting to think about org design (27:30) How Stripe approached org structure  (30:26) How org structure affects a platform team’s work  (33:32) Tracking engineering org structures  (36:02) Why the squad model became so popular (39:37) What the original authors may have felt about the popularity of the model Mentions and links:  Follow Jeremiah on LinkedIn Jeremiah’s Spotify’s Failed #SquadGoals The original whitepaper on the Spotify model: Scaling Agile at Spotify Team Topologies by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais Essential Scrum by Kenneth S. Rubin

11 January 2023 43m and 33s


How much to invest in platform work | Jean-Michel Lemieux (Shopify, Atlassian)

How much to invest in platform work | Jean-Michel Lemieux (Shopify, Atlassian)

Jean-Michel Lemieux, former CTO of Shopify and VP of Engineering at Atlassian, explains how to advocate for investing in platform work, which projects to fund, and what distinguishes a great platform leader.  — Discussion points: (1:38) Jean-Michel’s definition of platform work  (6:44) Why reliability, performance, and stability do fall within platform work  (7:24) The consequences of lacking a product mindset in platform (9:20) Why and how to advocate for investing 50% of R&D spend in platform work  (12:31) How Jean-Michel arrived at 50% as the percentage of R&D spend that should be allocated to platform  (16:09) Jean-Michel’s experiences with different levels of investment in platform work  (21:59) What percentage of platform investment should go towards keep the lights on work (24:01) Whether the allocation changes at different company stages (27:05) Why platform work is consistently underinvested in (29:00) Why having a platform team could be an anti-pattern (32:32) How to advocate for this work to leaders (35:35) What it looks like to over-invest in platform work  (40:03) How to decide which initiatives to invest in (47:41) Making build vs buy decisions in platform work  (49:58) What distinguishes a great platform leader  — Mentions and links: Follow Jean-Michel Lemieux on LinkedIn and Twitter Abi’s post that sourced many of the questions discussed in this conversation Jean-Michel’s book chapter on platform investments Jean-Michel’s definition of what platform work is The podcast episode on what Shopify expects of managers

4 January 2023 52m and 45s


Principles for driving adoption and platform team growth | Jonathan Biddle (Wayfair)

Principles for driving adoption and platform team growth | Jonathan Biddle (Wayfair)

Jonathan Biddle, Director of Engineering Effectiveness at Wayfair, shares the story of how his team found repeat success and subsequently grew in size and scope. He shares lessons they’ve borrowed from startups, including understanding the adoption curve and knowing your core users, and offers advice for other platform teams looking to move to the next stage. — Discussion points: (01:15) How Jonathan moved into his role (05:30) Why Platforms teams are in a position of leverage, but also ambiguity (07:18) The initial work Jonathan’s team focused on (10:07) Creating transactional versus recurring value (11:36) The difference between startups and platform teams  (14:12) Expanding the team’s scope and rebranding to Developer Acceleration (18:20) What drove the platform team’s success (21:05) Three adoption concepts to understand (24:41) Knowing your core customers (27:36) Adoption metrics and feedback gathering mechanisms (33:37) When to mandate adoption or rely on organic adoption (38:38) A story of when adoption fell short (45:35) Advice for how other teams can go from zero to one — Mentions and links: Follow Jonathan on LinkedIn Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers (and the Wikipedia page for the book) Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia

20 December 2022 50m and 5s


Leading infrastructure change at scale | Ian White (DAT)

Leading infrastructure change at scale | Ian White (DAT)

Ian White, Director of Platform Engineering at DAT, joined the company to scale their Kubernetes-based cloud infrastructure, which has come under stress as their business has grown over the past couple years. Here he shares how he partnered with developers to learn about their challenges, how we conveyed a vision for how the company needed to evolve, and how he’s been working with development teams and business stakeholders to successfully drive change. — (01:00) - The challenges DAT was facing as Ian joined  (05:13) - How Ian used customer interviews to understand problems (10:48) - The typical journey companies take as they scale their infrastructure as they grow  (16:20) - How early changes were positioned and received  (20:00) - The four personas Ian identified  (25:14) - How Ian evangelized the vision (28:48) - Areas of pushback Ian foresees as they introduce new changes (33:00) - Handling teams that want to stay on self-managed infrastructure instead of moving to a managed infrastructure  (41:55) - Managing business stakeholders (45:00) - Partnering with finance  — Where to find Ian: Follow Ian on LinkedIn

13 December 2022 50m and 12s


Positioning platform work in a down market | Brian Guthrie (Orgspace, Meetup)

Positioning platform work in a down market | Brian Guthrie (Orgspace, Meetup)

Brian Guthrie, co-founder and CTO at Orgspace and former VP of Engineering at Meetup, has the unique experience of having previously decommissioned his Platform team. In this episode, Brian talks about that story openly, and shares advice for Platform teams to make sure they’re well positioned within their organizations. Discussion points: Brian’s background and story at Meetup - [00:02:20] Brian’s perspective on Platform work, generally - [00:06:40] The conversation around dissolving the Platform group - [00:12:05] Advice for Platform groups positioning their teams - [00:16:55] Making sure Platform groups are focused on the right problems [00:21:21] How Platform groups can think about communicating with the business [00:23:50] Bringing engineering teams into the planning process - [00:25:43] Deciding to build vs buy in a down market - [00:28:40] How developer happiness is part of positioning platform work [00:32:30] Follow Brian:  Brian's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bguthrie/ Mentions and links:  Brian's talk, Is the optimal size of a platform team... zero? The Future of Ops is Platform Engineering by Charity Majors Former Shopify CTO's take on the optimal spend on platform work Research on how developer happiness impacts productivity

7 December 2022 34m and 22s


A deep-dive on real-time feedback and personalized surveys | Max Kanat-Alexander, Or Michael Berlowitz (LinkedIn)

A deep-dive on real-time feedback and personalized surveys | Max Kanat-Alexander, Or Michael Berlowitz (LinkedIn)

Max Kanat-Alexander and Or Michael Berlowitz (Berlo), share how they gather both periodic and real-time feedback from developers. Discussion points: Overview of the listening channels used by Max and Berlo’s team - [00:00:58] Origin story of the Developer Engagement and Insights team - [00:02:49] Perspectives on volume metrics - [00:05:00] How the periodic surveys work - [00:08:51] Investment required to build the periodic surveys and real-time feedback - [00:14:20] How results are handled - [00:15:28] How the real-time feedback tool works - [00:21:40] Where the idea for the real-time feedback tool came from - [00:25:15] Building an MVP for the real-time feedback tool - [00:028:58] Other stakeholders involved in triaging feedback - [00:35:40] The experience developers have when encountering the real-time feedback tool - [00:37:34] How feedback collected via surveys differs from that of the real-time feedback tool - [00:40:44] Advice for other teams considering implementing this approach - [00:41:46]

30 November 2022 46m and 40s


How to define your team's scope and charter  | Mark Côté (Shopify)

How to define your team's scope and charter | Mark Côté (Shopify)

Mark Côté, Director of Engineering of Developer Infrastructure at Shopify, explains an exercise the Infrastructure group went through to define their boundaries of work. He shares their areas of focus, the team’s guiding principles, how they use their developer happiness survey to decide what to prioritize, and more. — Discussion points: (0:48) Mark's background (1:43) How the Developer Acceleration org is structured (4:43) The Infrastructure team's chart (5:35) Three opportunities for impact (7:49) Identifying the opportunities for impact (10:51) Why they created a charter (17:34) Infrastructure's guiding principles (19:32) How they decide what to focus on (21:44) Why they don't have product managers (24:17) Ideas for reducing cognitive load (29:05) Balancing customer requests with strategic roadmap items (32:08) How Shopify's Developer Happiness survey works (35:32) Who is involved in the Dev Happiness survey (36:51) The survey's sampling strategy (37:30) How the survey's results are used (38:32) The survey's participation rate (39:31) Steps they take after the survey (42:52) Advice for others starting a developer acceleration team — Mentions and links: Follow Mark on LinkedIn Read blog posts written by members of Shopify's Developer Acceleration team

26 October 2022 45m and 41s


Dropbox's journey with developer productivity metrics | Utsav Shah (Vanta, Dropbox)

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12 October 2022 44m and 37s


Using customer interviews to inform your roadmap | Michael Galloway (Doma, Netflix)

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5 October 2022 43m and 14s


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28 September 2022 46m and 46s


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13 September 2022 28m and 28s


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1 September 2022 31m and 21s


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Snyk’s journey with developer experience and productivity | Crystal Hirschorn (Snyk)

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4 August 2022 33m and 13s


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28 July 2022 31m and 1s


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13 July 2022 34m and


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6 July 2022 46m and 3s


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29 June 2022 39m and 26s


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23 June 2022 39m and 29s


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17 June 2022 46m and 39s


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26 May 2022 35m and 18s


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