Contentcuratie met expertlijsten

expertlijst boekenMet ruim 9 miljoen producten in de winkel valt er natuurlijk van alles te ontdekken in een winkel als bol.com. Om je te inspireren en wegwijs te maken in dit enorme aantal, worden er steeds meer experts en productkenners uitgenodigd om expertlijsten te maken.

Naast productspecialisten in dienst van bol.com krijgen verkopers, leveranciers en affiliate partners de mogelijkheid om selecties te maken en zo bezoekers van bol.com te inspireren met hun unieke assortimentscuratie. Uiteindelijk kan iedere gebruiker van bol.com straks zelf een selectie maken van artikelen; vanuit een bepaald thema, een hobby, een actualiteit, specifieke vakkennis of vanuit persoonlijke favorieten. Als lijstmaker kan je zelf een selectie samenstellen uit het omvangrijke assortiment.

Op dit moment loopt de pilot. Ik kreeg de kans om een aantal expertlijsten aan te maken. Je kan ze hier vinden:

Heb je opmerkingen of vragen over de expertlijsten, laat een gerust comment achter.

Meetup maart – Docker en Elasticsearch

Voor maart hebben we twee interessante bijeenkomsten gepland bij bol.com.

Docker Meetup – Deep dive into Docker storage drivers

docker_logoOp 5 maart hosten we voor de tweede keer een Docker Meetup in Utrecht. De presentaties worden verzorgd door:

  • Jérôme Petazzoni (Senior Engineer Docker)
  • Kay Davenport (Developer Evangelist ClusterHQ)

Inschrijven kan hier.

GOTO Night: Elasticsearch

elasticsearch_logoOp 25 maart hosten we voor een GOTO night over Elasticsearch. Sprekers zijn:

  • Anne Veling – Eventual Consistency with ElasticSearch in a mixed SQL/NoSQL Landscape
  • Jettro Coenradie – Elastic.on recap

Inschrijven kan hier.

Presentaties februari 2015

Voor februari 2015 staan er diverse presentaties op de planning met name op het gebied van architectuur en agile:

Kennissesies agile architectuur bij Ordina

Op 5 februari organiseert Ordina een kennissessie over agile architectuur in de praktijk. Net als op het LAC zal ik een presentatie houden over de waarde van architectuur en time-to-market. Waarin ik laat zien dat juist architectuur waarde en snelheid kan bieden bij de time-to-market. Dit aan de hand van voorbeelden uit de praktijk bij bol.com .

Symposium Move IT – Logistieke optimalisaties mbv Big Data

Big Data machinesOp 11 februari organiseert studievereniging Inter-Actief Symposium Move IT. Een symposium waarop transport, logistiek en distributie centraal staan. Thema van de presentatie die ik samen met een collega van de afdeling logistiek geef is: Wat is de rol van IT en big data bij het optimaliseren van de performance in de logistieke keten?

Bol.com heeft ruim 5 miljoen klanten in Nederland en België. Met ruim 9 miljoen artikelen en 15 miljoen kliks per dag is bol.com het schoolvoorbeeld van een big data omgeving. Om alle klanten optimaal te kunnen bedienen, moeten onze IT-systemen optimaal werken. De IT-organisatie neemt daarom een cruciale rol in, met 31 scrumteams die worden ingezet op alle organisatieniveaus.

Door deze multidisciplinaire teams worden continue verbeteringen geanalyseerd, ontwikkeld en live gebracht. Dit allemaal in nauwe samenwerking met bijvoorbeeld de logistieke afdeling.

De afdeling Logistiek is verantwoordelijk voor het betrouwbaar en stabiel houden van de supply chain. Daarnaast worden logistieke oplossingen bedacht en uitgewerkt. Dit betekent dat voortdurend alle logistieke processen en systemen onder de loep genomen worden en vernieuwen. Samen zorgen IT en Logistiek dat systemen en applicaties van bijvoorbeeld het ordermanagement optimaal functioneren.


Architectuur in agile omgeving

Daarnaast zijn er twee presentaties / Q&A sessies gepland met bedrijven uit diverse sectoren waarin we laten zien aan de hand van praktijkvoorbeelden hoe binnen bol.com architectuur wordt ingevuld in een agile omgeving. Daarbij gaan we zeker in op hoe je scrum gebruikt in een software ontwikkelomgeving met meer dan 30 teams.

Sometimes development is just work

No matter how cool your job is, no matter how many people are looking at you or your company for best practises, sometimes developing software is just work ;-) On this blog I’ve shared examples of companies that people nowadays see as successful, like Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, or the online retailer bol.com.

To prove my point I’ve checked the release notes of Netflix and Spotify apps. Here is what they show for recent updates:

Software development at Spotify is just work

You can find recent release notes for Spotify. For future reference here is a screenshot of how these looked today:
Software development at spotify is just work

As you can see it is mainly fixes and a new translation… Where did all the fun stuff go. Think the cat took it? So crafting software could be “just” improving and step by step creating a great product!?

Software development at Netflix is just work

Now lets look at Netflix. Just looked up the release notes of Netflix in the iTunes store. Here is how they looked today:
Software development at Netflix is just work

Wow! Updates and bug fixes. That sounds really cool. That must be loads of fun. So could it be that even working on awesome apps for great companies is (at least for a part) just work?

Success needs work

So sometimes software development is just work. Just don’t forget:
The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Could have said it better Harvey: The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Fun and play are a part of you as a person. Work is just a way to make it flow…

Book – The Phoenix Project

Book The Phoenix ProjectThe Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win is written the by Gene Kim in the tradition of The Goal (1984, by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt). The Goal is a management novel explaining the Theory of Constraints. This book, The Phoenix Project shows how the theory in The Goal works in an IT environment.

The Goal – Theory of Constraints

In simple terms the Theory of Constraints is about:

A chain is as strong as its weakest link.

In this theory the first step is to identify the constraint. Step 2 is to exploit the constraint. In other words, make sure that the constraint is not allowed to waste any time. Only by increasing flow through the constraint can overall throughput be increased. This to the extend that improving something anywhere not at the constraint is an illusion.

Because of the need for flow, work in process (WIP) is the silent killer. Therefore, one of the most critical mechanisms in the management of any plant is job and materials release. Without it, you can’t control WIP.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

The Phoenix Project describes the problems that almost every IT organization faces, and then shows the practices (based on the Theory of Constraint, Lean and more) of how to solve the problems. The main character Bill, is thought how to deal with these problems using the Socratic Method. Each dialogue a question is posed to which in turn causes Bill to think and to talk to his colleagues to come up with a solution to their problem.

Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. Leading to the application of the Theory of Constraints in terms like:

The First Way helps us understand how to create fast flow of work as it moves from Development into IT Operations, because that’s what’s between the business and the customer. The Second Way shows us how to shorten and amplify feedback loops, so we can fix quality at the source and avoid rework. And the Third Way shows us how to create a culture that simultaneously fosters experimentation, learning from failure, and understanding that repetition and practice are the prerequisites to mastery.

Work in process in IT perspective

Until code is in production, no value is actually being generated. It’s merely WIP stuck in the system. By reducing the batch size, you enable a faster feature flow. In part this is done by ensuring the proper environments are always available when they are needed. Another part is automating the build and deployment process. Here we recognize that infrastructure can be treated as code, just like the application that Development ships. This can enabled to create a one-step deploy procedure.

Besides the parts mentioned before this requires removing a unneeded (since no value is created) hand off between Development and Operations. For this to work the two have to be integrated, not separated.

Like in a manufacturing plant, in IT, it is crucial to manage the release of work to the shop floor / development and to track the work in process. There are a lot of visual aids available to support this, like Kanban or scrum boards. All have their origin in lean or agile ways of working.

No need to say that in the novel this all works out pretty well ;-) In real life we see that these principles work, however more iterations are needed to really improve things. These iterations at first look like failures because of the acceleration of entropy. They are needed in the learning process of people and organization. Reduce the feedback cycle and learn fast!

On the relation between business and IT

There are some interesting statements in the book, that are heard more often in the industry.

IT is not just a department. IT is a competency that we need to gain as an entire company.

We expect everyone we hire to have some mastery of IT. Understanding what technology can and can’t do has become a core competency that every part of this business must have. If any of my business managers are leading a team or a project without that skill, they will fail.

And:

In ten years, I’m certain every COO worth their salt will have come from IT. Any COO who doesn’t intimately understand the IT systems that actually run the business is just an empty suit, relying on someone else to do their job.

Personally i think they hold at least some value. Please share your ideas in the comments.

OTech Magazine – Winter 2014

OTech Magazine winter 2014The winter edition of OTech Magazine, the independent magazine for Oracle professionals, is available. In OTech Magazine – Winter 2014 subjects include:

  • Time Series Forecasting in SQL
  • Flashback – Empowering Power Users
  • Starting WebLogic
  • DevOps and Continuous Delivery for Oracle
  • The Rapid Reaction Force – real time business monitoring

Download OTech Magazine Winter 2014 here.

Presentatie op LAC congres – Architectuur in actie

verleiding - architectuur in actieWoensdag 26 november en donderdag 27 november is het jaarlijkse LAC congres. Dit congres voor architecten in de wereld van organisatie en IT heeft dit jaar als thema: “Architectuur in Actie“.

Presentatie Afweging waarde van architectuur en time-to-market

Op donderdag zal ik een presentatie geven in de track architecuur in actie: “Afweging waarde van architectuur en time-to-market

Zo’n beetje iedere architect of ontwikkelaar komt op het minst in de verleiding: een snellere time to market realiseren ten koste van de architectuur of de kwaliteit van de implementatie. Het komt voor in software-aanpassingen, maar ook meteen bij de introductie van nieuwe technologie. Aan de hand van voorbeelden uit de afgelopen twee jaar, laten we zien hoe we hier bij Bol.com mee omgaan. Bij een bewuste keuze kan architectuur of de architect wel eens de factor zijn die de versnelling kan realiseren.


Het complete programma van het LAC congres.

Lessons of product development at Netflix

Just a month after sharing my post on Spotify engineering culture, I found a post on Startup lessons from Netflix. That was written inspired by a talk on fast delivery devops by Adrian Cockcroft. Who spent a long time building up Netflix’s cloud infrastructure and spearheaded the development of many new cloud-related technologies and techniques at the company.

Adrian Cockcroft’s lessons of product development at Netflix

Adrian’s lessons of product development at Netflix are summarised in this sheet:
Lessons product development Netflix
Besides from the different angle and focus on cloud, I think that there is quite some overlap with the Spotify presentations. If you have a different take at this, please leave a comment or meet me at the LAC congres where I will be presenting on time-to-market vs architecture…

Spotify engineering culture part I & II

I’ve been reading quite some article on engineering culture and ways of working. The videos on Spotify Labs are among the best sources I’ve watched or read in the last year on the subjects of agile and culture. Recently the second part of their series on Spotify’s engineering culture was released.

Spotify engineering culture part I

Important take aways for me were:

  • Agile over scrum
  • Principles over practices
  • Servant over master

Spotify engineering culture part II

Very cool that one of my favorite quotes by Mario Andretti was used in the video:

If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.

To cope with this aspect you need a fail friendly environment and a limited blast radius. For the first focus on fail recovery instead of an fail avoidance. For the latter focus on a decoupled architecture.

A healthy culture heals broken processes! Growing organizations have growing pains. Culture can either magnify or heal them.

Update: Henrik Kniberg on Scaling agile at Sporify

The hour talk that Henrik Kniberg gave on Scaling agile @ Spotify is also available on vimeo:

.

Book – Hatching Twitter: A True Story of

Book - Hatching Twitter: A true story of...Just finished reading Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal and I must say that I wasn’t as impressed as when reading for example The Everything Store. The book is more about politics and opportunities than about creating opportunities and value or generating great ideas that others can build on. Of course this can still offer a great story and be a good read, however it isn’t the thing I was looking for when picking up the book.

The two business lessons in Hatching Twitter: A true story of …

OK, I took two lessons from the book: The anecdote on the first starts when Evan Williams has the first appointment with his business coach. Evan asked his first question: “What’s the worst thing I can do as CEO to fuck the company up?

Without skipping a beat, Campbell responded: “Hire your fucking friends!” He went into a ten-minute tirade about friends and business and how they don’t mix.

Which was actually what Evan was doing at the time and kept doing.

Fake it until you make it

The second lessons boils down to “fake it until you make it”. To book quite extensively elaborates on how Jack Dorsey wasn’t just looking at Steve Jobs with admiration; he was emulating him. In public talks and news interviews Jack continued to channel Steve Jobs, using terms like “magical” and “delightful” and “surprising” and “best” to describe products, along with almost exact vernacular used by Steve Jobs at conferences and on television, including “we’re just humans running this company” and hawking the concept that Jobs shared, when he told people he was “most proud” of the things the company hadn’t done. That is how the world got to see Jack Dorsey as the new Steve Jobs. Which helped Jack advance in his plans to get back to Twitter and on with his career.

…and some parenting advice…

In one of the latest chapters when looking into the life of Evan Williams and his wife Sara there somehow pops up some parenting advice. It kind of surprised me from a founder of twitter:

…like Evan, Miles (his son) is shy and sometimes socially awkward. As much as they want to change that in him, they know they can’t. But they also know that technology won’t change that either, so the kids are strictly forbidden to use iPads, iPhones, or televisions. Human interactions are encouraged. So are physical, paper books.