The hidden reason you can’t scale your engineering team

Scaling your team.

How often have you heard someone say: “We’re only hiring senior engineers.”

The concept of only hiring senior engineers has become acceptable in the Valley, but it shouldn’t be. When a team advertises that they only hire senior engineers, what they’re really saying is that their people and technology infrastructure can’t support hiring beginners – a strong indication of fragile tooling and a fragile team. If you’re at all interested in growth, this should serve as a... Read more

Fragile Teams: The Apocalyptic Deployment Freeze

Two people trying to pour beads out of a bottle with too small a neck.

The Apocalyptic Deployment Freeze

A few years ago there were some service outages at Square. For a massive payments company, that is a reasonably apocalyptic scenario. Because we’d had enough deploys go sideways, the director of engineering responded by declaring a “deployment freeze.” We swapped out our continuous deployment habit for careful, safe weekly deploys with everybody present.

…and immediately, tons ... Read more

The Deployment Health Quiz

Stethoscope and health checklist.

We made a short quiz to help you measure the health of your deployment system! The following highly™ scientific® survey lists 6 things that are important for creating a productive, collaborative engineering team. Give your current tools a point for each statement that’s true.

  • We can deploy any app in our system concurrently (i.e. we don’t have to queue each app one at a time)
  • We can deploy any day of the week and any time of day... Read more

Fragile Teams: Us vs. Them

Two identical groups. One is angels, the other is devils.

We are continuing our Fragile Teams series this week by digging deeper into the first consequence of fragile deployments, the “us vs. them” mentality. If you’ve ever watched your company’s productivity slither away in the face of a deadlocked engineering team, you know what we are talking about. But, don’t despair! Solutions below.


How are us vs. them mentalities created?

Humans need little reason to start separating themselves into groups. Social psychology studies on the minimal group paradigm prove that people can separate th... Read more

How fragile deployments create fragile teams

fragile team

Deployment friction is killing your team’s productivity. It is silently eroding your ability to scale your team, retain diverse talent, and make your engineers happy and productive day-to-day. We’ve written a series of blog posts explaining how a broken deploy process creates fragile, unproductive teams – and our own take on how to fix it.


What is a fragile team?

Are you part of an engine... Read more

Opsolutely: Friendly Deployments

stressed woman

I remember the first time I broke production.

It was six in the morning. My phone started ringing. I grabbed for it wildly, worried about what terrible news I was being woken up for – who was sick? Who had gotten into an accident?

It was even worse.*

My CEO was on the line: “Kate, metrics is broken. I’m in New York doing a demo for a sales prospect. I need this fixed now.” I sat up in bed in a panic. I had broken production! And worse, it was impacting the company’s ability to sell.

<... Read more