Archive | Worklife

Work/Life balance, and career-related posts

Dollar Sign

Considering On-Call Pay

Let’s say you’ve been offered a new job. $70k base salary, with up to $20k per year extra for on-call duties. Great! $90k! That’s $10k more than my salary now! Sign me up! Wait a minute. Not so fast. Years ago I received some good advice: Treat your on-call payment as a separate item. Don’t consider it as […]

Continue Reading
Brocade Logo

The Next Step: Brocade

I am happy to announce that I am now a Product Manager at Brocade. This is a big move for me, and one I am very excited about. I will get to work on the future of networking with a lot of smart people . Why Brocade? It’s simple really: He aha te mea nui o te ao? […]

Continue Reading

Musing: Generalist to Specialist and Back Again

Recently I’ve been musing on IT Generalists vs Specialists. We used to have more generalist roles, covering all parts of the stack. ITIL then pushed us towards greater specialisation. I believe that we’ve gone back to valuing the Generalist, as the person who can glue components together. Will the pendulum swing again? Generalists: Soup-to-Nuts When […]

Continue Reading

Reminder: Solarized for Better Terminals

I have used the “Solarized” colour scheme on my Mac for several years. This is: … a sixteen color palette…designed for use with terminal and gui applications If you spend a lot of time using the Terminal, this makes a huge difference. It gives me the right combination of colours to make sure everything is readable, […]

Continue Reading

What’s In My Bag (Hint: not much)

Recently @BobMcCouch posted a photo of the contents of his bags. He’s got a lot of gear, including a hammer, and a dent-puller. He assures us that it’s for lifting tiles, but I’m not so sure. Sounds to me like he’s worried about a few dings in the supermarket carpark. It all sounded a bit scary. I want […]

Continue Reading

Rolling out Change

We all know that “Change is Hard.” But often we, as engineers, focus on the technical aspects of that change. How do I minimise customer impact while upgrading those routers? How can I migrate customer data safely to the new system? But we can forget about the wider implications of what we’re doing. If we […]

Continue Reading

Headwinds, or Uphill?

As some of my readers know, I’ve done a fair bit of bike touring. Two of the challenges of bike touring are riding uphill, and riding into headwinds. Riding uphill is tough. 2,300m passes in snow, or 3,200m passes in sunshine, it’s tough going. But you put your head down, and keep turning the pedals, […]

Continue Reading

Christmas Change Freeze – Good or Bad?

We’re approaching Christmas, and for many of us, that means we’re about to enter an extended change freeze. This means an extended period when we shouldn’t change anything, hoping to improve stability. ITIL Change Management tells us this is good. I’m not convinced. The Christmas Change Freeze Many businesses impose some form of change freeze across all production systems during […]

Continue Reading

Wipebook – A Portable Whiteboard

It is a stereotype, but engineers really do like whiteboards. Problem is, you can’t carry one around with you. Plus there’s still a few unenlightened employers who don’t provide whiteboards. Enter the Wipebook, a spiral-bound notebook made of whiteboard-like pages: I normally carry a notebook for scratching out notes while talking to customers, sketching diagrams, […]

Continue Reading

Ops Work vs Project Work

There’s a constant tension between delivering new services, and running the existing services well. How do you figure out how to prioritise work between Operations tasks and Project work? Skewing too far either way leads to problems. Maybe the answer is in how we structure Operations tasks? Definitions Operations work: Dealing with outages, trouble tickets, support requests, […]

Continue Reading