Engineering work is novel and intrinsically requires human judgment. It produces a permanent improvement in your service, and is guided by a strategy. It is frequently creative and innovative, taking a design-driven approach to solving a problem—the more generalized, the better. Engineering work helps your team or the SRE organization handle a larger service, or more services, with the same level of staffing.

Eliminating Toil, from Google’s SRE blog

product orgs

A good product team needs a mix of design, tech, and business; a mix of genders, creeds, and backgrounds; a mix of industry experience and product management experience; a mix of skills, from the visionary to the detail-oriented, from the data-hungry to the user-research fanatics. This level of diversity not only is the best chance you have of representing your audience, but also ensures the best experience is brought to any product challenge the team will face, and is the best defense against any one individual’s confirmation bias.

– from Product Leadership

transit scheduling

As a result, the scheduler only ever adds run-time to routes and never subtracts it, which costs the agency more money to run the same service. To make matters worse, passengers become upset because operators drag (drive unnecessarily slow) and hold (wait unnecessarily) at timepoints. This cycle has been going on for decades.

Andy Metz, in The Vicious Cycle of Timepoint Adherence


A fallacy is to have designers obsessed with the products and services they work on. Product and service features are just manifestations of a users’ relationship with a company. Instead, designers should be obsessed with their entire user experience. So, organize teams by types of users.

– excerpt from Org Design for Design Orgs


… continuous delivery should not be an excuse to ship bad stuff, with the notion of fixing it later. This is another place where leadership comes into play, because striking the right balance between quality and delivery is a matter of judgment.

– excerpt from Org Design for Design Orgs


Nothing beats going into people’s homes or offices, and following them as they go about their days. While quantitative and marketing methods such as usage analytics and surveys provide data as to where things aren’t working, findings from such efforts focus on optimizations and point solutions. Good user research, particularly out in the field, reveals a richness of understanding that you simply cannot get anywhere else. It is this work that ends up revealing a customer’s journey, and inevitably, the experiential breakdowns that happen when people try to accomplish things that require them to unknowingly cross siloed departments in an organization.

– Peter Merholz & Kristin Skinner, Org Design for Design Orgs