It’s very common to see discussions or debates about different topics. These discussions can be light or very harsh. We may invest hours discussing trivial things or even days aligning on a RFC.

If we have an idea or opinion that we feel is the right one to follow, how can we make sure that we convince our teammates?

Properly communicate our ideas

It takes practice and training to properly communicate our ideas. Some people will be better doing it in person or in front of an audience, while others may feel that it’s easier to properly structure their thoughts in writing. Different styles…

This past week I was pair programming. We had to implement a service object that deletes a model. We actually did it pretty fast and well. It had tests, linter was pleased and we were ready to push it when we noticed that our coverage was not 100% (and we do like 100%, with all its pros and cons).

But we didn’t understand why, because this module should be fully covered. In fact the code was covered when we ran just the suite for that class, but was not covered when we ran the full suite.

And because we saw…

Having goals is very important to make sure we’re productive and delivering value.

How to know how much value we’re adding?

Having goals means that we can focus and see the road ahead. A nice test we can do the assess the healthiness of our goals is to ask on one-on-ones the following:

What are you goals for the next quarter?

We can have several types of responses:

  • I guess I’ll just follow the backlog and do what’s assigned to me
  • I can’t commit to goals because I don’t know what’s to be done
  • I’ll do the same I’ve been doing

This is the most common I’ve seen…

Having a continuous learning mindset is very important. To reap the most benefits we should make a plan and have goals on what to learn.

Time bound goals

Wanting to learn new things or accomplish something without a deadline may end up being wishful thinking. If we set a date and a goal we have better changes of achieving it. Imagine that we want to learn Japanese. It’s important to time bound that goal. …

Usually we know RFCs from IETF. It’s that document that for example starts to present the HTML spec. But on this article I’m talking about RFCs (request for comments) in a broader sense. Like a tool that can be used by product/engineering teams to better plan and be productive.

A great example of a project that has an open process for receiving RFCs is Rust. It’s very interesting how they have an open and collaborative process to change their language and their tools. Could we also use a similar process on typical engineering teams?

RFC process example

If we’re going to use a…

Getting the best out of my team is one of my responsibilities. For that I need personal time with each teammate. But taking the most out of these sessions can be very hard. So I started to build a framework to help me.

I focus my 1on1s on leveling up my mentees, and also myself in the process. The goal is to make us better and this will be a joint effort. Usually I don’t know what to do or how to do it. …

Being on call can be daunting. Anything can happen in production and we may be all alone and completely out of our comfort zone dealing with a problem we have no clues about, and with the pressure of having the app down and impacting the business.


There is no replacement for actual experience dealing with production issues. We start building our toolbelt and can troubleshoot faster. But we should also try to ramp up new teammates and give then the tools to be autonomous on handling incidents. My proposal here is to gamify this learning experience.

What do we need…

Having a team that is aligned on a set of core values is very important to have a healthy and productive environment.

Our actions define what we value

Let me share a typical parenting concern: parents want their children to be polite. Children should say please and thank you. It would go like this:

Child: Daddy, can you get me some water?

Dad: Ham… what’s the magic word?

Child: Pleaassseeeeee :)

Dad: Here you go sweety.

Child: Thanks.

I started to notice that my daughters would always say thank you, but would rarely say please. At first I was puzzled but then I understood why it…

I see productivity as value added per unit of time. There are many factors that impact our personal productivity and at the end of the day we’re always part of something bigger, like a team and a company.

Productivity challenge

There’s a challenge I like to make to my mentees from time to time. Imagine that we had a deliverable that was estimated in 10 days. I’ll ask for the following:

Can you do it in 8 days?

There are some rules to this challenge. You can’t work extra hours. And the most important isn’t to deliver in 8 days, but actually…

We leave our comfort zone when we get that anxious feeling in our chest and we are conscious that we’re not in control, and that something may go wrong.

Why is this so important?

Leaving our comfort zone makes us grow. It can be about having new responsibilities, doing something we’ve never done before, touching that part of the project we know nothing about, start leading people for the first time.

We may feel imposter syndrome and that we’re not up for the task. It will be worse based on the amount of people we’re communicating to. A typical example is doing a talk at…

Pedro Pereira Santos

Engineering Manager

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