This week, I spent two days in systems engineering workshops. Systems engineers are concerned with designing products and solutions including mechanical, electronic and software components. Systems engineers and architects address all requirements of a system, including regulatory constraints, such as functional safety, customer-facing functionality, such as the features that the customer uses on a daily … Read moreWho manages your system architecture?
For decades now, I’ve been in workshops with a number of companies that seek to change some aspect of their business. Reflecting on the more recent workshops, however, made me recognize patterns that seem to reappear frequently or typically. As we all know, change is hard. For individuals and even more so for organizations. However, … Read moreDon’t start from where you are
During the last few weeks, I’ve worked with several companies and identified a pattern that, in hindsight, I have seen many times before: a team gets stuck midway a change process and refuses to let go of the old ways while adopting new ways of working. In that way, the organization gets the worst of … Read moreThe worst of both worlds
Many companies that I work with are in the process of adopting continuous deployment of software – or DevOps. As part of that process, the notion of product variability comes up frequently because there often are multiple product variants out in the field. The software for each variant used to be created in a mostly … Read moreVariability and DevOps
Having spent quite a bit of this summer thinking about machine learning and artificial intelligence, it seems to me that there’s a very important transformation ongoing from a focus on the qualitative to a focus on the quantitative. The moment we start with A/B testing, deploying multi-armed bandits or training machine learning models, the very … Read moreQuantify yourself
During the summer, I spent a week at a summer school on deep learning (DL). There were several reasons to attend, but one was to simply learn more about this trending topic. In many ways, it was a wonderful, though humbling, experience as the field is progressing at a rate that’s simply phenomenal. There are … Read moreAI: the fabric of computing
As we’re entering the vacation season, many of us are going to take a step back and reflect on where we are in our professional lives. To what extent is our work aligned with our personal goals, norms and values? Does it help us grow and develop as professionals and as individuals? Is the direction … Read moreIs Your Work Meaningful?
On a regular basis, I run into engineers who refuse to talk about business, monetization, customer value and related topics. All they want is to get a requirement specification, put on their headphones and start building. Their perspective is that business is the responsibility of others and that their job is to build what they’re … Read moreBusiness Starts With Engineers
Over the years (decades by now) that I’ve worked in industry and academia, I noticed a common pattern in organizations that don’t perform well or that have great difficulty delivering on expectations: a culture has taken hold that explains phenomena in and around the organization in terms of factors that are not under the control … Read moreFocus On What You Can Control
As I work with teams in dozens of companies, I’ve noticed an interesting pattern over the years. When I start to work with the team and we go through introductions and the preliminaries, everything looks peachy and wonderful. As we get into the work at hand and I (innocently) start to ask questions, a certain … Read moreThe Illusion of Alignment