Pragmatism and Business Acumen

The other week, I was having lunch with our CTO at PageUp Tal Rotbart, and we were discussing various issues in the industry, where he posed a question to me that got me thinking  – “Isn’t pragmatism just business acumen?”

I’ve been pondering the question for some time now… Let me first start with defining the two.

Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Business acumen: is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome.

Given those terms, both seem to speak to similar traits in terms of software development, but the problem is, both can be very relative. Also, business acumen seems to be higher level concept, which can encapsulate pragmatism.

Pragmatism without business acumen can be just as deadly to a company as not having pragmatic approaches to start with.

Which drove me to start thinking about seniority levels within a development team.

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Microservice Scars

I have the pleasure to be presenting at the next Alt.Net meet up (in Melbourne) with Joshua Toth. We will be discussing the lessons we have learnt from our first Microservice at PageUp.

It has been in production for over 9 months (158 no downtime deployments), and it is worth sharing our experiences, and thoughts.

If you have any areas you would like us to discuss, feel free to drop me a line, tweet or just leave a comment below.

Continuous Delivery

Recently, I’m hearing a lot about continuous delivery, and even continuous deployment. Both are fantastic, and I’ve seen many places reap the benefits of such models.

Continuous delivery is when the practices used by the team enable the software to be reliably released at anytime. Every change has the confidence to go straight out to production.

Continuous Deployment is the next step, where the software is not only ready to be released, but is released out to users. Every commit out to production.

I see software which is released less often, because it is risky, and often, a scary proposition. The objective of both practices is to make deployment a “non-issue”.

If it hurts, do it more often

Left out of the conversations is the value it provides. Not from a technical perspective, but from the business. After all, that is the reason we do anything. For provide value / benefit to the business.

Our objective is to minimise our time to market, which is a another topic in its own right due to the many factors that impact that metric.

We need to ensure our software development keeps its agility, and enables quickly responding to feedback.

The main reason why these models are so beneficial is because packaging, regression testing, deploying, waiting and so on, are non-value adding activities. These activities can be mundane, tedious, and should be automated if possible.

Business should not be waiting for Technology, Technology should be waiting for the Business.

As we all strive for that goal, these two models take great strides in getting closer to the mark.

If we find resistance for these two approaches, you will most likely be dealing with software which has lost its agility, or struggling for quality, and we all know what happens in that case…

How important is UX?

User Experience has been gaining momentum and importance within companies, but have leaders really connected with what it means?

It is hard to argue, that user experience is paramount, in engaging and retaining users / customers. I’m sure most would agree that it is simply common sense.

But we are still in an age where good UX can be a market differentiator. How many companies are driving UX as a high priority?

Even more importantly, which companies have its leaders (C – Level, ie – CEO) pushing for, and driving UX?

Companies need to stop focusing on revenue, and thinking about UX. Revenue is a by-product of UX.

When we think about the metrics that top level management focus on, I assure you revenue would be very high on the list, if not top. Rightly so, but perhaps a shift in thinking, to focus on building raving fans (aka UX), will enable the revenue growth simply as a by-product, and perhaps a few other metrics such as staff satisfaction and engagement.

Food for thought…