I noticed [concrete observation]. Is everything ok?

I noticed [concrete observation] happened a few times now. What’s the pattern here?

[non-personal topic] has been on my mind. Could we have a quick chat to figure it out?

May we spend a bit of time going through your progress on [initiative]?

Do you have a few minutes to dive into [initiative] with me?

Holding people accountable and being held accountable do not seem like fun until you consider the alternatives (which are really bad). Do yourself and others a favor and learn how to do this.


“I see operationally-minded engineers working cross-functionally with software development teams to help them grow in a few key areas: making outsourcing successful, speeding up time to value, and up-leveling their production chops.”

This is great and true. The more of our operations and infra we outsource, the more time we have to do interesting work and help our product teams create business value.

Learn You a Haskell is Problematic

A couple of years ago I learned Haskell and to do that I read a book that is universally recommended for beginners and used to be available free online called “Learn you a Haskell for Great Good”.

The website seems to be gone at the moment: https://www.learnyouahaskell.com/

I didn’t think too much about it when I read it but after some other people were asking what they should use to learn Haskell I remembered these weird ‘jokes’ that are in the book to make the code a bit livelier.

Judging from the reviews online not that many people (in this case almost only men) have picked up on this. To be clear, it’s in extremely poor judgement to have picked these slurs in the first place and maybe you could get away with this stuff 5-10 years ago, that’s no longer the case.

I’ve screenshotted the examples below. There must be better books to learn Haskell with by now. I quickly switched to Clojure quickly for a bunch of reasons and you might do well not to take the detour that I did.

A really badly chosen and phrased BMI calculator
Not even clear what the point of this slur is
Is this a joke? Does the author have a girlfriend?

There could be more but I think you get the point.

“If quantitative metrics are inescapable, we suggest focusing on Service Level Objectives (SLOs) and cost of coordination data.”

Faced with exactly the same problem, I came up with the same solution: instead of focusing on number of incidents (which is much more problematic than MTTR), we should be focussing on SLO transgressions. SLOs are set by the org itself and can also be adjusted which means that that is an ongoing conversation the org can and needs to have with itself around reliability.

Secondary, if you need to report on incidents to the business, I think you can’t go wrong with attaching a justified cost at the order of magnitude to an incident: this incident cost us thousands, ten thousands, millions etc. and how we calculated that number. It won’t be immensely accurate, but again the point is not accuracy but to build numerical muscle throughout the organization.