Facet Engineering is a fully distributed, remote-first team. Being remote offers tremendous flexibility and a literal world of talent, but there are inherent challenges. How do you coordinate plans without crushing productivity with too many meetings? How do you empower for speed, but ensure quality and architecture consistency? How do you stretch a small team across independent initiatives but never leave anyone struggling in isolation? While I don’t believe there is just one right way to solve these problems, below are 3 practices that are working for us.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

A 2020 Harvard Business Review article, What’s Really Holding Women Back?, concludes that very few women ascend to top management ranks because the hours are long and women are taking more accommodations. The article stuck with me, because while I can agree with each of these statements individually, linking them into a causal relationship just doesn’t feel right.

“…the ‘accommodations’ solution, ironically, tends to derail the careers of highly qualified women, leaving companies’ senior ranks depleted of some of their brightest female stars.”

The article spends some time presenting data to debunk the often-cited myth that women are having trouble…

In my previous article, 3 Reasons to Build Monolithic Systems, I recommended starting with a monolithic architecture, for speed and simplicity, if your system is not yet well defined. However, to clarify, starting with a monolith is not a license to start with no architecture and toss the whole thing later!

Monolithic architectures have become nearly synonymous with cobbled, messy code that is difficult to maintain — a “big ball of mud” is a nickname popularized in a talk by Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder way back in 1997. But cobbled and messy is not a requirement. Monolithic typically just…

And yes, I mean on purpose.

Recommending a monolithic architecture these days sounds a bit like prescribing bloodletting for a fever, but hear me out. Long term, to ensure scalability, serviceability, agility, and all the other positive -ities (including sanity) you’ll likely want to develop and deploy your application on a microservices architecture. But if you are building a new application, your company and your development team may not yet be ready for the ironic complexity involved in breaking a system down into simple services. Speed and time to market may trump elegance…and that’s ok!

If not, talk about it or pull them down.

Every company has a culture. Whether it is good or bad, whether it is intentional or unintentional, that’s an entirely different matter. But every company has one. And I’m not talking about the branded wall poster culture that’s plastered about in the company’s cafeteria — I mean the deep in its roots, engrained in the cells, company culture that manifests in actions that are taken on a regular basis.

Taking on a full-scale agile transformation is never easy for any waterfall-based engineering organization. Adopting the agile ceremonies is relatively quick and easy — training is a few days, coaching a few weeks — but the mindset changes needed to make agile truly valuable are usually measured in years. When you add in the complexities and scale of big data, the challenges of an extremely diverse set of technologies and languages, the uncertainties inherent in analytics research, and the conservative, date-obsessed approach favored by traditional telecom customers, you get a perfect storm of difficulty!

This is the challenging landscape we…

Actually we’re not.

There is no shortage of valuable advice on how to embrace change and increase resiliency — numerous articles and even whole books have been written on the subject. But the underlying assumption seems to be that people are afraid of change. This belief is expressed as a universal truth, just accepted on its face as fact. But are humans really afraid of change?

Consider Kane Tanaka of Japan, currently the oldest living person at 115 years of age. She was born on January 2, 1903. …

Natalie Conklin

Fearless and forever curious — a life-long learner, explorer, cat-herder, and engineer, leading software projects for some of the world’s coolest companies.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store