How to Build a High Velocity Development Team

Eliminate the fear, and your velocity will improve by orders of magnitude, and that impact is multiplied by the number of developers on your team.

Any time you have an opportunity for exponential improvements in performance, jump on it!

Architect for Change & Growth

There are several different styles of programming. They’re different at a fundamental & philosophical level, and those differences can set you up for success, or empty your bank account.

As the manager of developers, you need to understand enough of the broad strokes to lead your dev team in the right direction, because the truth is, most developers don’t know or understand the difference.

Most developers just do what they already know, and they’ll resist change, sometimes fiercely. And they’ll resist even the idea that there is a right way and a wrong way, because they think it limits their freedom of choice.

You know what limits their freedom of choice more? Getting laid off because you’ve gone bankrupt.

Some software architectures create rigid structures that are very hard to change safely. Others create fluid structures that are easily adapted when you need to add or rearrange software features. The language features developers choose to use can have an enormous impact on your business metrics. It can mean the difference between simple changes or extremely expensive rewrites. It’s important that your developers understand the differences.

Likewise, some architectures are built with a single machine in mind, and are very hard to scale quick enough to keep up with exponential growth. Other architectures decouple processes so that they can run independently on any number of systems anywhere in the world. Obviously, you want the latter.

Why is this hard for developers to understand?

Developers write code on a single machine — their development workstation — and in that environment, scale is invisible to them. They never see the problem until they’re frantically trying to put out fires in production.

This issue almost killed twitter during their critical early growth phase. When the service got unreliable, a barrage of Twitter clones & alternatives quickly swooped in. Some of them (such as FriendFeed) even gained some traction with the same early influencers who helped Twitter build their early audience.

If Twitter had not fixed their scaling issues in time, they would have been crushed by their own fail whale.

Originally published at

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