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this week's favorite

That time we unplugged a data center to test our disaster readiness

On Thursday, November 18, 2021, Dropbox did not go down. On a normal day this would be a non-event—a sign that everything was operating as usual. However, this day was anything but usual. At 5:00 pm PT, a group of Dropboxers were huddled on a Zoom call when the command was given to physically unplug our San Jose data center from the rest of the Dropbox network.

Resources for engineering directors

I was wondering if you’ve written any posts geared towards engineering directors or have any recs for posts others have written I’m mainly looking for advice on how to manage projects from two layers away. How do I give managers creative freedom to manage however they like while also stressing the importance of deadlines?

When your coaching questions freak someone out

That said, once in a while, coaching mode can catch folks off guard. If someone has asked for advice but is met with an open question in return, it might feel like the person asking the question doesn’t really want to help them out.

Five measurements you should make and then ignore

Are we succeeding as a software team? Well, if our job were feature delivery, we could look at the parade of JIRA tickets in our “complete” column. That is only part of our job, though. The purpose of a software team is to provide valued capabilities to customers, internal or external. To do that, our software has to be up, it has to be fast enough, usable enough — a whole slew of properties that don’t show up in JIRA.

Slack’s incident on 2-22-22

Slack experienced a major incident on February 22 this year, during which time many users were unable to connect to Slack, including the author — which certainly made my role as Incident Commander more challenging!