Top 10 Books Every CTO Should Read

As a CTO in a rapidly evolving industry, the knowledge you had when you first entered the industry is no longer sufficient. In fact, the knowledge you had this time last year is already outdated.

But when you have a long list of responsibilities, a team to lead, and deadlines to hit, keeping up with the latest technological trends and ideas can be difficult — although it is your job to do exactly at.

Reading the right blogs and subscribing to the right newsletters will help, but those bite-sized nuggets of knowledge won’t keep you at the cutting edge of tech.

Regularly attending conferences and networking events is one way to go, but that strategy isn’t friendly to your schedule. A book on the other hand, can be moulded around even the most crammed calendar. To help you get the most out of your reading time, we’ve hand picked ten books we think every CTO should read.   Continue reading “Top 10 Books Every CTO Should Read”

Running UAT and Integration Tests During a VSTS Build

There are lots of small suggestions I’ve learned from experience when it is time to create a suite of integration / UAT test for your project. A UAT or integration test is a test that exercises the entire application, sometimes composed of several services that are collaborating to create the final result. The difference from UAT tests and Integration test, in my personal terminology, is that the UAT uses direct automation of User Interface, while integration tests can skip the UI and exercise the system directly from public API (REST, MSMQ Commands, etc). Continue reading “Running UAT and Integration Tests During a VSTS Build”

How to Set Goals That Will Turn an Average Team Into All-Stars


Whether we’re limiting the times we hit the snooze button, increasing our attendance at the gym or improving our work performance, setting goals is essential in order to generate change. Yet, goals don’t always work: According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, a mere 9.2 percent of participants the institute surveyed said they’d successfully achieved their New Year’s resolutions so far in 2017. Continue reading “How to Set Goals That Will Turn an Average Team Into All-Stars”

Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It

Many leaders see organizational learning simply as sharing existing knowledge. This isn’t surprising given that this is the primary focus of educational institutions, training programs, and leadership development courses. It’s the “sage on the stage” model, in which an expert shares what they know with those who are assumed not to know it. These “best practices” are presumed to work in a variety of different contexts and situations. Continue reading “Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It”

6 Crucial Things to Do in Your First 100 Days in a New Leadership Role

The rate of change in technology is unmatched. Companies are constantly being funded, getting acquired and, unfortunately, going out of business. These dynamic conditions create both challenges and opportunities for leaders. Changing roles is becoming more frequent across industries. Being able to successfully transition into a new leadership position is a must-have skill for entrepreneurs and company leaders. Continue reading “6 Crucial Things to Do in Your First 100 Days in a New Leadership Role”

Revamping SAFe’s Program Level PI Metrics Part 1/6 – Overview

Whilst the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has evolved significantly over the years since inception, one area that has lagged is that of metrics. Since the Agile Release Train (ART) is the key value-producing vehicle in SAFe, I have a particular interest in Program Metrics – especially those produced on the PI boundaries. Continue reading “Revamping SAFe’s Program Level PI Metrics Part 1/6 – Overview”

You Can’t Have a True DevOps Culture Without Effective Release Management

While the DevOps movement and associated technologies have garnered much attention and fanfare, few have addressed the core issue—the handoff from development to operations. This blog post explains why release management is the bridge between development and operations, and how you can strengthen that bridge with the right approach, tools, teams, and processes. Continue reading “You Can’t Have a True DevOps Culture Without Effective Release Management”

What Can a 1,800-Year-Old Book Teach You About Leadership? Turns Out, A Lot

Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome from 161 AD to 180 AD. During his time as the leader of Rome, he was the most powerful person in the world. Though massive power corrupted many leaders throughout history, Marcus is widely documented as being a noble leader with strong moral character.

His book, Meditations, has been read by countless leaders spanning over centuries. He documented parts of his life and how he worked to manage his emotions and perceptions of the world around him. His personal growth throughout the book is paralleled by his growth as a leader. Aurelius never intended for his writing to be released, giving it a sense of purity throughout the pages. It’s stoicism at its finest. Continue reading “What Can a 1,800-Year-Old Book Teach You About Leadership? Turns Out, A Lot”

How No-Code, Low-Code Tools Will Strengthen- and Disrupt- Enterprise App Development

No-code, low-code tools for helping people without a technical background write mobile apps are proliferating in enterprises, leading to the rise of so-called “citizen developers” – business analysts and domain experts who develop mobile apps without the help of IT. The tools have helped businesses roll out mobile apps quickly, cut costs, and ensure that the apps are useful to the greatest number of users. Continue reading “How No-Code, Low-Code Tools Will Strengthen- and Disrupt- Enterprise App Development”

Do Product Owners Need Technical Skills?

How can you tell if you would benefit from having technical skills as a product owner? To answer this question, I find it helpful to look at how the role is applied. If you manage a digital product that end users employ, such as a web or mobile app, then you usually do not require in-depth technical skills, such as, being able to program in Java, write SQL code, or know which machine learning frameworks there are and if, say, TensorFlow is the right choice for your product. Continue reading “Do Product Owners Need Technical Skills?”

4 steps to agile success

There’s a noticeable shift toward agile development taking place within the federal government. Driven by a need for accelerated application development and meeting internal customers’ needs on the very first attempt, agencies like the General Services Administration and Department of Homeland Security have begun to move away from traditional waterfall project management frameworks and toward iterative, agile frameworks like scrum. Continue reading “4 steps to agile success”

Agile Can’t Succeed as an Island

More development teams have adopted agile and lean ways of working to deliver better quality products faster. Despite their efforts, they’re still missing deadlines and churning out buggy software. Most of these teams are expected to solve business problems, but their work doesn’t align with business objectives. In fact, there’s a huge disconnect between development teams and the organizations they serve. Continue reading “Agile Can’t Succeed as an Island”

“As a User” Needs to Stop

Sing it with me… “As a _user_ I want to _perform an action_ so I can _achieve an end result_.” This is great in theory, but writing good user stories is harder than it sounds. I’ve seen well-meaning product, design, and engineering folks take this approach to user stories and interpret them as magic words. Somehow, as long as we begin our task statement by uttering the “as a user” mantra, we’re magically taking a user-centered approach. Continue reading ““As a User” Needs to Stop”

When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out

After careful review of her harried work life, Charla, an IT manager, discovered that 20% of her time over the previous two months was spent managing escalations. It seemed that each interaction with her team ended with her feeling a need to exercise her authority to rescue them from a crisis. Continue reading “When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out”