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  • penguin 19:03 on 2017-04-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: management   

    The state of things – management 

    Yep, this is the challenge why I converted from a freelancer (which I still prefer as a working model) to a “normal” employed person. I am a “manager” now. Well, I just have team responsibility. And it is crazy. This brings *so* many challenges which are so amazing (cause they’re new) and exhausting (cause I need to deal with them in a completely different way).

    Here they are.

    Challenge one – team spirit. That is something I am most happy with, because our spirit is pretty high I think. And I take this on me, shamelessly, but this is also something which is deeply connected to my “leading persona”, whatever that is. And I think this one is far from perfect.

    Challenge two – training the team. I think I know some stuff, and I keep in contact with things. And I want to learn new things. Now I have to deal with maintenance shit all day, and yet want to try out new toys and stuff. This is quite complicated: On the technical side I have to think now about a way in which people can learn the most, while making sure a fuckup can not break everything. (Which it did – once, and badly). Also I have to ensure that people learn, and have fun doing it. Which is surprisingly hard, but also surprisingly cool if you see it actually working.

    Challenge three – employee interviews. I suck at it, period. I started to ask technical questions now, because before I was under the assumption that every applicant can do the job, and it’s just about how he fits in. Bad mistake. Now I learn that personal markers are also important. Which is the next thing that I need in the team, personality-wise? And am I sure of this? And does the next candidate have it? Cra-zy.

    Challenge four – managing the big picure. Or simply put – how do I make sure that the team is always up-to-date on priorities, talk to people enough, and has a good sense of when something should be “done”? And a good sense of driving it there, btw. Which is pretty much the same as

    challenge five – processes. Which process do we choose? We tried SCRUM, didn’t really work that well, so we changed it after a couple of iterations. Now we try (some sort of) Kanban, and already I am seeing transparency risks, and I need metrics. Also you often read that Kanban needs analogue ticket boards (paper, wall) – not some fancy JIRA tooling shit or so. Now what if the company policy is “log your time in tickets”? And, even most important – how do I self-manage? And the team with it? And prioritize features if they hit me like “oh in two weeks this must be done, and sorry this came in just today”?

    For me all of this is hard. I guess I am getting there, but it is a great challenge, and I love it. But soon I will need a break. And I hope some stuff is done by then.

    Update 2017-04-14: changed challenges 1&2 a bit.

     
  • penguin 18:54 on 2017-04-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: current state, management   

    The state of things – technology 

    It’s been a while. I am currently pretty burned out, and the work keeps getting more. This is bad. But let’s talk about some challenges right now. So this is an overview of our …

    Technical state

    We’re still using Rancher. Rancher is super cool, but has the annoying habit of completely crashing about once every two months, leading to a full cluster outage for anything between 1-3 hours. Usually about 2. I still love it, but we matured in our needs, and maybe Rancher needs time to catch up (cause our needs are sometimes a bit “special”). But the Rancher team is making great progress in the right directions, and I am fully competent that Rancher will take a place in the orchestration space. Still we’re thinking about moving to K8s, simply because so much is already there.

    We’re using Prometheus for monitoring now. Rocks. Period.

    We’re still using AWS. Many of our customers would prefer Azure Germany. If you didn’t know – Azure in Germany advertises a “Data Custodian” mode, or “Data Trustee” model, not sure how to translate this and too lazy to look it up. This means that in Germany the data centers are running the true Azure stuff, but they are actually fully operated by Deutsche Telekom.

    Advantage, you ask? Easy. When the DOJ sends one of those super secure letters to Microsoft for “give me your data”, they simply forward this to Deutsche Telekom. They will probably frame it on a wall somewhere, but I don’t think they will actually give out the data. Problem solved. (We all hope :))

    We are almost done with setting the whole cloud up using Terraform. It became a really mature project over the last year, and we are super happy with the progress it’s making. Also, with Azure in the works for us (some cusomers …) this is a cool way to just manage all with the same tooling. Infrastructure as code, eh.

    We try to migrate away from Teamcity to Jenkins. We didn’t succeed yet. Too little manpower.

    But the more interesting thing is in the next post, for me at least 😉

     
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