Reflecting on 2018 at Stack Overflow

You know the end of the year drill. Tis the season of self-indulgent, navel gazing retrospectives! But hopefully this one is a bit more useful and interesting for you.

Since I started DEVBIZOPS in 2017, there has been much to share about the world of enterprise IT and developer communities. While the travel was sometimes intense and there were many sleepless nights, many positive things were accomplished. So please indulge me in reviewing the highlights through a journey back to some of my most popular blog posts from 2018.

Why Traditional Knowledge Management Fails
Many of you have are reading this blog first met me through my work at Stack Overflow, which has been an incredible resource for general programming knowledge for the past decade.

While it helps that there is a resource for public knowledge, there exists this seemingly intractable problem in organizations to manage internal knowledge so that it’s captured and useful for others. In this first post in a four part series, I discuss the issues that make managing internal knowledge hard and discuss strategies towards controlling the morass of tools, systems, people, and content to create a trusted store of knowledge through the community.

Is Stack Overflow Too Mean?
One of the biggest challenges in managing a public forum is to ensure the content remains relevant to users. This is why Stack Overflow is so important to developers. However the rules to ensure quality can make the community feel unwelcoming to new users.

Stack Overflow has made strides to become more welcoming. The lessons learned in community management and moderator practices can also be relevant to organizations looking to launch and manage their own internal communities as I share in this post.

What Bank Execs Don’t Get About Developers
It’s become an awkward cliché to say “banks are tech companies”. Yet many banking leaders have not truly embraced the value that developers bring when it comes to fulfilling their vaunted digital transformation strategies.

It was interesting to see the overwhelmingly positive response to this post I wrote in July, mostly from IT leaders in banks. My goal for the coming year is to help banking executives invest more in the people most critical to the success of their institutions going forward, that is software developers.

Getting into the Developer Flow State
Mo’ Docs, Mo’ Problems
One of the most pressing topics I have discussed with Engineering leaders in the past year was the topic of productivity. What does productivity really mean when it comes to software development?

It is not surprising then that these two posts garnered a lot of interest from folks. The biggest insight is the power of giving time back to developers by reducing interruptions and by making information more readily available. In fact, one organization measured $140K of savings per week in ROI building an internal knowledge community. It’s an eye popping number for sure, but it illustrates the unlocked potential inside many organizations when you help developers do their best work through better tools and access to knowledge.

Do You Even Code?
How Programming Has Evolved
If you plopped a coder from the 80’s into 2018, things would look rather strange to her. The Web, mobile phones, self-driving cars were all predicted, but the code required to make it all work would seem otherworldly. That is how fast technology is changing.

Companies need developers that can stay ahead of the technology. But in this “Developer First World”, finding the right developer talent is a huge struggle. It’s no surprise therefore that these were my two most read posts last year, offering up ways to build and foster a developer centric culture that attracts developer talent. Companies can no longer treat developers as second class employees!

There were many more posts, about 52 in all over the past year. If you even read just one, thank you. Every week, I pour myself into the task of producing these posts and I greatly appreciate your sticking with me so far, you and the 1,530 others across 53 countries. So thank you so much for your support, kind words, and friendship over this past year.

Happy holidays to you and your family, best wishes in the new year, and see you in 2019!

P.S. If we have not connected on LinkedIn, I invite you to do so. You can also follow my world (mostly foodie) adventures on Instagram.

How to design a space suit for an arachnid?

This was truly an awesome question, one that got picked up by The Atlantic!!!

We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.

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