I run a CTO Breakfast every month at the InRhythm offices in NYC. We had 9 CTOs attend our breakfast on September 11th. This is an invite only event where we spend 90 minutes discussing the most relevant issues and advancements when it comes to running a software team.
Two topics we discussed in this Breakfast were Talent Retention and Microservices.
Here are the key takeaways:
Software Engineering Talent Retention:
- The way to retain engineering talent is to increase ownership at the team level. One way to make them feel empowered is to let them pick the tools and technology that they want to use. This is where Microservices and DevOps automation plays an important role.
- It is equally important to make engineers feel their direct impact. If you have engineers who are coding without the big picture they are at a bigger risk of being poached.
- Providing an outlet to try new things and innovating is important. Things like internal hackathons, Meetups, and 20% time are important.
- Provide a clear track for career growth. Make one-on-one’s focused on engineer’s growth and not the project status.
- Promoting and hiring from within incentivizes people to stay.
- Having a personal budget for engineers also helps. Let them choose their standing desks, key boards etc. These are small perks that can go a long way.
Microservices and DevOps:
- All the CTOs in attendance have adopted Microservices at different levels and are increasingly investing in DevOps.
- Services Discovery at an organizational level is still a challenge and an interesting problem to solve.
- I have found that for every 100 people on your team, you need around 4-5 people on DevOps tooling team to get most benefits. Since there is such a shortage of DevOps talent – a lot of companies have their software engineers doing DevOps.
- Common platform to implement Microservices is Scala, Java and Node. Scala’s ramp-up takes time and if it is not done right it can slow you down.
- Most of the teams are also using Docker or evaluating Docker. There are some concerns around Docker but it’s roadmap seems to be addressing those pain points.
- Planning your journey from a monolithic architecture to a more Microservices architecture is important as it takes several months if not years to get to it.
Our next CTO Breakfast is on October 9th. We will be holding further discussion around Microservices and cover two case-studies.
Written by Gunjan Doshi