On Friday, March 13th, 2020, I headed out to the 1029 in Northeast Minneapolis with my coworkers for what would (unknowingly) be our last Friday lunch outing of the year. I sat belly-up to the bar with a secret I had just shared with my manager (@Sonja Peterson) that morning – I was 8 weeks pregnant. As I sipped my water and listened to my friends chat about the coronavirus that was taking hold in the United States, I knew I wouldn’t be returning to work on Monday.
Background During the academic year of 2020-2021, North Hennepin Community College is piloting a new program for women who are ‘one of few’ in the fields of Computer Science, Construction Management, and Pre-Engineering, and Criminal Justice:
Be Bold Break the Mold: NHCC Women Succeed in Nontraditional Career Fields
Be Bold – Break the Mold’s Mission is to support women students who have made a conscious choice to enter a career field that is challenging, engaging, in-demand/high wage, and not typical for their gender.
Liquibase is one of those technologies that I knew the name of at SPS Commerce well before I ever had cause to use it in my day-to-day work. For the unfamiliar, Liquibase is an application that interprets files and converts them to SQL. We use it at SPS Commerce to deploy and rollback changes to our databases. It was a bit of a mystery before I joined the database team, but for my team it is an invaluable tool.
Guilds are a self-organizing group of people with common interests. It is a natural forum for social interactions that build relationships which promote cooperation, cohesion, and productivity. Guilds provide a horizontal communication layer across our Technology teams on a wide variety of topics.
Our analysts, engineers, managers, and other staff use them to learn, share, grow, and to promote education through experiential learning. This collective action benefits the guild members, their craft, and our organization.
Dependabot native has been around for a couple of years now after GitHub officially acquired it in 2019. But if I google “Dependabot” I still generally find myself at the “Dependabot.com” home-page, and up until last week found myself still using the Dependabot-Preview. In general, the difference between preview and native is a little confusing.
We introduced Dependabot-Preview into the mainstream organization at SPS Commerce as part of our standard development processes near the beginning of 2020.
Picture this: it’s 2007. A very wealthy prince desperately wants to gift you a portion of his inheritance. But you (heartless you) ignore him, moving his email to your spam folder. Fast forward a couple of years, and the prince has changed. Our prince goes by a new name now, maybe Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, or perhaps your very own employer. This time our ‘friend’ has no fortune to give, but your data is still on his mind.
When companies recognize the need to scale their team-based agility methodologies it’s easy to forget that the same principles that apply to growing its business apply to how it gets that work done. This may sound obvious but it’s still an easy trap to fall into that an out-of-the-box framework will solve all ways of working challenges. This would be like saying that all a successful startup needs to get off the ground is a great idea.
As a three-time software engineer intern at SPS Commerce, I’ve had the unique opportunity of experiencing three unique relationships with my embodied identity and SPS’s culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion as both have evolved over the past few years. That first summer, I was here navigating the inbetweens of emerging adulthood and a new professional environment at the same time as I was questioning if and how I could occupy this space as a queer person.
Our very own Andre Burgaud recently published an article with Real Python sharing a tutorial on how to leverage Brython for web development (that’s right, Python in your browser!). Check out his article for a very in-depth analysis and tutorial! Brython: Python in Your Browser
Today, I’m going to continue my Growing Your Cultural Awareness in Business series, drawing on learnings from Erin Meyer’s The Culture Map. This post is the fourth in an eight-part series and will focus on the Leadership scale in the Culture Map (egalitarian vs. hierarchical).
Power Distance & Leading In the 1970s Geert Hofstede coined the term “power distance”, which refers to the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.
The organizers of PyCascades put on an amazing remote event for the 2021 edition. Over the last 12 months, conference leaders have adapted to the situation and demonstrated their agility. PyCascades was no exception. The main day event was on Saturday 2/20/2021 and was flawless. The conference plaftorm was conducive to a pleasant remote conference with everything at the attendees’ fingertips: interactive track, recorded track, chat with the speakers and attendees, help, code of conduct, and more.
Yesterday we closed out our 2021 Tech Summit event. As discussed in our last post, the Tech Summit is an event where we intentionally set our ‘day jobs’ aside to learn more about the strategic vision of our entire technology organization for the coming year. Over these past four days, we have covered some serious ground with some major topics. Each day had its own focus, outlined below:
This event included four General (‘Keynote’) Sessions along with nearly 20 Breakout Sessions!
I believe the workplace culture is to SPS what our personalities are to us. It’s what makes us unique. Our unique culture is derived from the operationalization of our values and the people who live them. The Tech teams at SPS and the culture that surrounds us comprises a community for me. We are heterogeneous and inclusive, share common values and beliefs and have common objectives. We are empathetic and desire the best outcomes for one another.
Far too often when issues arise within our teams, we default to blaming the current methodology or tools we are using and propose a new process or tool to use instead. Many times, after another process or tool change, our teams are still dealing with the same issues. This is when, I suggest, that we all take a step back and ask ourselves “why” (_I recommend using the 5 Whys - Root Cause Analysis_).
Consider this: When people all think the same way, they rarely challenge each other to think outside the box. Companies often have programs to encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. It is safe to assume that most companies are looking to innovate, grow in market share and grow in revenue.
To achieve imaginative, creative ideas, companies in the tech industry are more likely to achieve these goals if they are working with people from many different backgrounds.
Tonight 2/17/2021, at 6:00 pm, the GoMN Meetup is welcoming Peter O’Neil who will present Debugging Go Services in Kubernetes with Skaffold and Telepresence.
The event sponsored by SPS Commerce is virtual and everyone is welcome to join.
I’m feeling exhilarated, recharged, and inspired after attending the Scrum Alliance panel sessions last week, observing the #AgileManifesto20thAnniversary. The free virtual conference was an excellent opportunity to learn, connect with the Agile community across the globe, reflect on how much has changed since the Agile Manifesto was written, and dream about what our future holds.
There were 3 panel sessions throughout the day that focused on the past, present, and future of Agile.
I’m here first and foremost in my home. And that’s not just because we’ve all been working from home since mid-March, 2020. First and foremost in life, I’m a husband and a father. I have an almost 7-year-old daughter, a nearly 4-year-old son & a 9-month-old daughter. Like any other parent, I want to see the best possible future for all of my children. It’s not an option for me to continue to propagate privilege solely to other white males like myself.
SPS Comemerce kicked off our Black History month activities today by hosting an event for our global teams. After a compelling presentation from Dr. Yohuru Williams, we broke off into small groups to work through discussion questions.
Many of the small groups were led by our Tech leaders, who helped drive conversation around personal “I will” statements, and the commitment we all are making to dismantling systemic racism. Small groups shared how they will turn their awareness and understanding into action.
AWS Account Granularity The growth of SPS Commerce has continued to be very strong, even amidst the recent global pandemic, as we work to provide an enabler for essential services. The demand for SPS services and products continues to grow and our architectural patterns additionally must continue to mature alongside of that demand growth. Like many organizations that started with a smaller footprint in the cloud that experienced exponential growth, part of our growing pain stems from the boundaries of our AWS Account structure.
In development, we often focus the majority of our time on answering the question “how does this application need to function” and spend a little less time on the questions “how am I going to test this” or “how can I be sure this application is working”. Better yet, how often have do we ask the question “how will this application react when it experiences some type of failure”? We know that failure is inevitable – so how do we mitigate the effects and ensure our application can function as intended?
SPS WiT (Women in Tech) sent members of our Technology team to join the other 30,000 attendees at the virtual Grace Hopper Celebration in 2020. This group took their experience one step further by sharing back what they learned with the rest of our teams at a recent Meetup.
Takeaways were shared on these key topics from talks attended at GHC:
Transform your code reviews (Macy Buan) Testing growing pains (Madeline Finnerty) Accessible technology (Jessica Lee) Advances in AI (Charlotte Countryman) The group also shared many significant learnings regarding the future impact of Technology on: