Blogroll for technology leaders #1

blogroll for technology leaders

Blogroll posts like this are here to combine the best content from several our newsletters and make it available for web readers of the blog. Enjoy!

Technology Strategy

  • Back in 2003, Harvard Business Review has published the article which stated that strategically IT doesn’t play a big role within business.
    At the time, most of the companies spent their technology budgets purchasing hardware, software and tools which were accessible to every other company out there.
    Such investments would not offer any competitive advantage against the competition but it was the cost which still had to be paid.
    Times have changed in recent years. Technology become an important competitive value generator for business. What has changed?
  • Detailed review of the pricing between the key public cloud providers shows that indeed Google Cloud Platform is competing with the lower prices than other rivals – AWS or Azure. Its also quite visible that overall, pricing offers from the main 3 public cloud providers are significantly higher than just purchasing cloud instances via other cloud providers.
  • Amazon Web services team has dedicated a significant amount of time and attention towards technology startups during 2017. They have created the list of 33 most promising technology powered businesses (the ones who run their technology on AWS platform of course).
    Very interesting list, having in mind that the innovative digital business model was one of the main selection criteria.
  • Amr Awadallah, founder and CTO of Cloudera is asking the simple question – what does an enterprise CTO do? Its a detailed and reasonable summary of the most important areas of focus chief technology officers have.
    Acting as the chief of long-term technical strategy, inspiring internal technology teams about the technology vision of the company and rallying the engineering organization as the spiritual technical leader are usually the main focus areas.
  • What exactly is technology strategy?
    Who creates and owns it within organization? This post by Nick Tune splits company technology strategy into different categories. Enterprise level technology strategy involves high level definitions of what is the context the whole organization operates in.
    Business unit or department technology strategy is more detailed, and oriented to the group of teams within specific business or department.
    Product and Project level categories are even more detailed and tailored to the specific deliverables.
  • Digital transformation projects are picking up the pace within majority of enterprises out there. Many business verticals are currently being challenged by technology innovation and the new digital economy. This results in the growing investments from companies who were traditionally at the top of the verticals but now find themselves without technology muscle (and the ability to strongly compete).
    The total spending on software, services and hardware is planned to reach $2.1 trillion by 2021.
  • ThoughWorks are maintaining regularly updated technology radar. This radar is a great reference during technology strategy and investment evaluations as it is based on the extensive field experience in large enterprise technology projects. It comes with a summary of the most visible macro trends.
  • What is machine learning?
    It is a popular technology topic now days with many companies planning to start strategically benefiting in 2018. But, if you were asked to describe in a nutshell what machine learning is and what are the key applications, it would be hard to summarise. This post does it.
  • Facebook is reducing ads and business related content in their products. In recently announced tech and product strategy, the social platform aims to move towards “more meaningful social interactions” over the longer term. They admit that doing so might reduce the time visitors spend on site in short term.
    Which means that FB leadership has other monetization models in mind. This also probably means even more technology efforts efforts and investments for extracting value from the large amounts of data Facebook has. More detailed assessment in Stratechery.

Teams and Ways of Working

  • How to split product feature development among your product development teams? Multiple companies say they aligning teams with their business capabilities. But what exactly is the business capability?
    Finding team boundaries should be driven by business and product strategy of the company or organization.
  • OKRs – objectives and key results. Many technology teams are exploring this objective led product development path.
    Dan North summarises his experience and notes from the projects in both small and large organisations.
  • Everybody needs a coach.
    A great coach is somebody who looks at something with another set of eyes, they give you perspective, the one thing you can’t give yourself, and a system to tackle future challenges and succeed.
    Some of us might be ignoring this, but coaching is widely practiced by the top technology leaders out there.
  • Did you know that Basecamp pays Silicon Valley level salaries to all of their remote employees? No matter where they are based, Basecamp maintains the same salary levels for the same type of roles within their 50 remotely based people team.
    Quite an opposite from the approach many traditional enterprise organisations are taking.
    Here is their explanation why.
  • Can new employees in technology teams hit the ground running?
    Is this common requirement, specially mentioned for senior level roles within tech organisations, achievable?
    This post claims that nobody hits the ground running – there are reasons why it takes time to adopt to any new environment.
  • The key element of well performing teams is the ability to take risks and learn from mistakes if they occur. Based on several years research Google was running inside their organization.
    Their goal was to find the main ingredients which would allow to create the blueprint for building best performing teams. The process and insights of this research are very informative.
  • Restructuring of engineering teams is often viewed as the magic bullet to maintain  the performance and productivity while the team sizes are rapidly growing. But can we evaluate if re-org is the right tool for a job? And if yes, what would the potential team restructuring playbook be? Running an engineering reorg.
  • How to grow technical employees within your organization? Great thoughts about why having the right mix of junior and senior developers in technology teams makes your technology organization better. As technology leaders we must create the environment for junior people to grow. And it all starts from the values and environment.
  • How to design technology organisation structures for Agile environments?
    It seams that “doing the Spotify model” became almost the de facto direction multiple companies are taking. This article dives deeper and summarises the different organisation design strategies for building technology team structures.

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