What do you think are the most exciting developments in software product engineering today?- 4 minutes read - 699 words
This is part of my series of interview questions for Agile India 2022.
Thinking about exciting developments in software development as a developer immediately brings magpies to mind. What is the latest technology that can grab our attention. What’s the latest shiny? Could it be some crypto tech? Some no-code development? Or programming in the metaverse maybe?
No, no, and NO! Crypto is a scourge that wastes energy, kills the planet and destroys lives, no-code and low code will mean some actual software engineers will have to pick up the pieces when it inevitably will go wrong and the metaverse (second second life) looks to be a great way to make the web as tedious to use than going to an actual shop where you can’t find anything because the items have moved to another shelf yet again. Terence Eden makes a fab point here: Would you go to the job centre in the metaverse? No!
So what then? I think for exciting new developments, it is worth remembering that we have just undergone a major shift in how we work. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a lot of companies and organisations to remote working. Necessity really is the mother of invention, and a lot of new ways of working and collaborating while not physically in the same location have sprung up. In fact, nowadays it feels like that the people who go to the office and then struggle to dial into meetings because the video conferencing tech doesn’t work as well as sitting in front of their laptop.
I think mass-working from home has the potential to be a game changer for software development for the following reasons:
I do not think that software engineers work best when their output is measured and ranked (how many lines of code have you committed today? I can see your PRs have been left unmerged for more than 24 hours or some other such dystopian control-freakery) and some cartoonish manager walks between cubicles to ensure that workers aren’t lazy.
In today’s knowledge economy, it really pays to foster an environment of collaboration and trust. Who cares whether someone was only logged on for 4 hours on Monday if they are a valued member of a team and contribute.
Even before the pandemic, I have been a big fan of Slack. I really like the easy of creating a new channel and pulling together an adhoc number of people who can then collaborate to solve a problem without having to schedule a meeting that 75% of attendees only listen in but were invited on the off-chance that something comes up that needs their input. How much easier is it to keep track of a slack channel without having to completely lose focus. Equal Experts has put together some Slack tips that I rather like.
Of course, sometimes meetings are better, but if remote working has taught is anything, is that they’re not always necessary. And in my opinion, fewer meetings will increase effective collaboration.
These days a lot of people’s home internet connection is actually faster than in the office. Maybe I’m over-generalising based on my experience which could be quite localised. But I do think that often people’s own equipment is better than what’s provided in the office. I know I prefer my own laptop to a company provided one that is loaded with corporate virus scanners, endpoint protection and 15 other bits of software that run in the background and make an expensive laptop feel rather pedestrian.
Of course, this relies on a level of trust that developers will secure their own equipment. Still, when considering that a lot of work happens in the cloud/via SaaS offerings nowadays, there’s not much to be said about company networks anyway.
Increase diversity and talent
Remote working also means that more people from more parts of the country or globe can collaborate more easily. That does feel like a very big plus. I’m writing these blog posts because I’m going to speak at Agile India 2022. I don’t think I would have had the opportunity if we were all hung up about being in each others faces!Tags conferences agile agile-india agile-india-interview
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