An Open Letter To Monitoring/Metrics/Alerting Companies

Posted 15 CommentsPosted in Cognitive Systems Engineering, Tools, WebOps

I’d like to open up a dialogue with companies who are selling X-As-A-Service products that are focused on assisting operations and development teams in tracking the health and performance of their software systems. Note: It’s likely my suggestions below are understood and embraced by many companies already. I know a number of them who are […]

Availability: Nuance As A Service

Posted 18 CommentsPosted in Complex Systems, Random, Resilience, WebOps

Something that has struck me funny recently surrounds the traditional notion of availability of web applications. With respect to its relationship to revenue, to infrastructure and application behavior, and fault protection and tolerance, I’m thinking it may be time to get a broader upgrade adjustment to the industry’s perception on the topic. These nuances in the […]

On Being A Senior Engineer

Posted 184 CommentsPosted in Culture, Etsy, Human Factors, Random, WebOps

UPDATE: I’ve added a short section on the topic of sponsorship. I think that there’s a lot of institutional knowledge in our field, especially about what makes for a productive engineer. But while there are a good deal of books in the management field about “expert” roles and responsibilities of non-technical individual contributors, I don’t […]

A Mature Role for Automation: Part I

Posted 30 CommentsPosted in Cognitive Systems Engineering, Complex Systems, Human Factors, Tools, WebOps

(Part 1 of 2 posts) I’ve been percolating on this post for a long time. Thanks very much to Mark Burgess for reviewing early drafts of it. One of the ideas that permeates our field of web operations is that we can’t have enough automation. You’ll see experience with “building automation” on almost every job […]

Fundamental: Stress-Strain Curves In Web Engineering

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Cognitive Systems Engineering, Complex Systems, Human Factors, Resilience, WebOps

I make it no secret that my background is in mechanical engineering. I still miss those days of explicit and dynamic finite element analysis, when I worked for the VNTSC, working on vehicle crashworthiness studies for the NHTSA. What was there not to like? Things like cars and airbags and seatbelts and dummies and that […]

The Devil’s In The Details

Posted 8 CommentsPosted in Cognitive Systems Engineering, Complex Systems, Naturalistic Decision Making, WebOps

I’m a firm believer that context is everything, and that it’s needed in every constructive conversation we want to have as engineers. As a nascent (but adorable) engineering field, we discuss (in blogs, books, meetups, conferences, etc.) success and failure in a number of areas, including the ways in which we work. We don’t just […]

Systems Engineering: A great definition.

Posted 10 CommentsPosted in Complex Systems, Culture, Random, WebOps

Ben Rockwood said something last December about the re-emergence of the Systems Engineer and I agree with him, 100%.   To add to that, I’d like to quote the excellent NASA Systems Engineering handbook’s introduction. The emphasis is mine: Systems engineering is a methodical, disciplined approach for the design, realization, technical management, operations, and retirement […]