Monthly Digest — February 📌
Updates from the lockdown, some readings, and three new articles
Hi there! February is almost over and it's time for our monthly digest.
For all new people who joined recently, this is a special issue I write at the end of each month. I use it to recap and comment the recent articles, and to share some personal news.
Let's start with the latter 👇
🏡 Improving our remote life
It's almost one year since Italy, where I live, issued lockdown for the first time. Although we are not 100% locked anymore, I still spend most of my time at home — like many of you, I believe.
During this year, I have been trying to find good surrogates to the many activities I can no longer enjoy due to the pandemic.
Recently, I found two products that are filling a few of these gaps: Lunchclub and the Oculus Quest.
🍽️ Lunch Club
Lunch Club is serendipitous networking. You sign up by connecting your calendar, your Linkedin / Twitter accounts, and adding a few of your interests. Then, it matches you with like-minded peers and automatically schedules 1:1 calls in slots that are free for both of you.
I have done a few of these calls and it's been refreshing to meet new people in a way that is totally disconnected from your existing network, and being able to have good conversations about anything of your life.
🏓 Oculus Quest + Eleven Table Tennis
I am an avid table tennis player. I played every day at the office for more than 6 years, and it's one of the few things I have been really missing by working from home.
The Oculus Quest, which is a stand-alone VR headset, has an incredible table tennis simulator which feels exactly like the real thing. Proof is there are several pro TT players actually playing the game and hanging out online.
Now back to the articles! We had three articles out this month — here they are:
🚚 The Four Measures of Software Delivery Performance
Between 2013 and 2017, Nicole Forsgren, Gene Kim and Jez Humble surveyed more than 2000 tech companies.
They wrote their findings in "Accelerate", a fantastic book about software delivery practices, and how they benefit wider company goals.
They defined four major metrics for measuring software delivery performance, and demonstrated that high performance in these metrics predicts wider business performance.
The article dives into these metrics and why they matter for your team.
➰ Why You Should Measure Cycle Time in your Dev Process
Over the last 2 years, many tools rose to support a data-driven approach to software development.
They connect to your code hosting and create metrics based on commits, PRs, and releases.
Among these, I believe Cycle Time is the most significant KPI you should consider.
This article is a practical primer into Cycle Time — what it is, why you should track it, and how.
📣 The Three Hiring Channels
In the last few weeks I read a ton of resources about how successful companies setup their hiring process.
The idea that stuck the most with me is to consider hiring as a product by itself, with a well-defined funnel, channels and KPIs.
Based on that, I believe there are three main channels we should consider for recruiting, and these can be measured by two simple coordinates: reach and context.
In this article, I describe how these channels work, and provide some simple advice to optimize them.
📚 What I have been reading
Here are a couple of articles I read this month that really made me think, and I believe you would like:
Failed Squad Goals — by Jeremiah Lee. Jeremiah is a former Spotify employee, he tells how the famed "Spotify Model" for Agile was mostly aspirational, and it failed when put in practice. I am not interested in the "fact vs fiction" side of the story, but the article contains fair criticism to the model, and some advice to make it work better. Recommended!
My 2020 Review, Reflection, and Key Lessons — by Nat Eliason. I have read many yearly reviews by other people, but none felt so thoughtful, raw and personal like Nat's. Some insights really resonated with me, like the "productivity advice has made me a worse person" bit.
And that's a wrap up! See you next week. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any question or topic you would like me to cover! 🙏 I read and reply to all emails I receive.