The Sobering Posts of 2011


One of my favorite tech writers, @rands, recently wrote up a year in review, and it inspired me to spend some time thinking about 2011 myself.

One goal for the year was to write more consistently about release engineering, my experiences, and its evolving role in software development. I certainly did write more, and I’m pleased with that, but it wasn’t as consistent as I’d hoped. A resolution for 2012, I suppose.

In any event, these are the favorite (and popular) Sober Build Engineer posts of 2011:

Getting Back on Message: My commitment to myself to writing more really began with finding my voice again. (Plus, this post includes a delightfully horrible photo of a teenage-me!)

The Elevator Storyteller explains why I constantly return to aviation when analyzing release and process engineering.

Not Everything Is The Circus challenged the seemingly prevailing notion that everything we do in software development must be “fun” and—more disconcertingly— if it’s not “fun,” we can simply ignore it. Very flawed logic.

Introducing QuickRelease: With Jobs’ passing this year, we’ve heard his [in]famous “real artists ship”-quip over and over again; I shipped QuickRelease this year. I’m very proud of that, and I’m looking forward to executing more on QuickRelease’s roadmap in 2012.

Caught in the Space/Build Continuum, Parts I and II was the result of a great (and ongoing!) conversation with a college friend-now-developer, and tried to close the gap between what developers, program managers, and QA think release engineers do, and what release engineers really spend their day doing… (Part I is probably my favorite post of the year; the graph really illustrates the explanation, I think.)

I had the honor of chatting with Perforce about, among other things, release engineering, DVCS, P4 Streams, and the role of a build engineer. A significantly cuter-looking photo of me was included in that interview…

The Chicken-Ship Method wonders why the process of shipping software by playing veiled, glorified games of chicken with each other is still so common.

2012 is going to be an interesting year, I think, both for the industry and for the evolution of release engineering. I think the last few years have seen the introduction of a lot of interesting, new technologies, and we’ve seen those used in both successful and less-than-successful ways. And as we push more deployment and release abilities to the developer, we’ll grapple with where the appropriate line is, and how that impacts roles, responsibilities, and accountability.

And I’ll still be here, writing about it all.

Have a happy and (safe) New Years!