Working in Smaller Teams

I don’t know what the average size of a team is, but I know I’ve worked in all sizes in my career. I’ve had teams of 1-3, which is common in database work, but I’ve also been on a 20 person Ops team. I’ve been in 2 person development teams, 25 person teams, and everything in between. At Redgate, it seems most of our development teams are less than 10 people, but I’m sure we’ve exceeded that at times.

I do think smaller teams are better, and they are certainly easier to keep track of what everyone else is doing. Once a team becomes large, even with regular status reports or meetings, there is too much information to easily hold in one’s memory about tasks other than our own. Knowing what others are working on can be invaluable in coordinating and avoiding conflicts. This also ensures that the team can more easily ensure code is written in a similar fashion and knowledge is easily shared.

There is research that seems to indicate that smaller teams are better. This article talks about some of the reasons small teams seem to perform better. These all seem to intuitively make sense to me, and I’ve certainly experienced people behaving in these manners. In the second piece, there is advice on how to get teams to be more effective. The biggest advice seems to be a lot of what we do at Redgate. We empower teams, give them tools, and don’t manage them in traditional ways. We hold them accountable to get work done and meet goals, and we challenge them, but we want them to move forward, not work in a particular way.

Building a team is hard, and getting a team to perform at a high level is very hard. I do think that the internal talent and motivations of individuals can make a big difference, but I also think that management can bring out the best in people, or it can ensure you never get anywhere near the potential of team and encourage under-performance.

It constantly surprises me how often I find managers and their organizational culture built to control and not inspire employees to do their best. I think it’s a holdover of years of working a certain way, rather than supporting and encouraging each person supervising others to get the best from others. I hope this changes, but it’s certainly something I try to detect in interviews before I ever commit to a new position. I hate working for micromanagers and never want to do it again.

Steve Jones

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SQL Change Automation v4 Puts Migrations in SSMS

I’ve been waiting for this a long time. Over the years, as Redgate has improved and changed the SQL Change Automation product in Visual Studio, I’ve been wanting to see it in SSMS. After watching this take shape across the last year, I now see it live.

2019-09-19 14_50_45-SQL Change Automation - Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

SSMS integration is finally here with SQL Change Automation v4. Kendra wrote a bit about how this allows collaboration on database projects that use migrations between both Visual Studio and SSMS (Management Studio). This gives you the flexibility to work in the environment that is most natural for you. You can share the same project in both IDEs. Watch Kendra introduce this in a video to see just how things work, and the value of migrations.

I am definitely a migrations oriented developer. I like to track changes, and I like to customize scripts. To me, migrations is the best way to perform database development, though I certainly understand the attractiveness of the SQL Compare/state/model method of development.

If you have never tried migrations, I urge you to give it a try on a PoC (Proof of Concept) project and see how you can control exactly what code is run when making changes to your databases. That’s important to me, especially when trying to minimize the risk and downtime of making changes. Even without working in a DevOps process, I like migrations.

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Origem Flash Headphone Sale

I reviewed a set of wireless headphones this summer, and I continue to use them when traveling. They work well for me and have good battery life.

The company pinged me and let me know they’re having a sale this week, Sept 23-29, 2019, with the headphones priced at $59, a $40 savings off the list price. The deal is listed here:

https://origem.com/pages/origem-hs-3-anniversary-deal#

They’ll have some $0.99 flash items and a drawing for a free pair. If you’re in the market for a pair, think about these. You can also see a video of the headphones and their voice control.

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The Crazy Fall

I know this time of year is always a little hectic, but this year it’s gotten wild. A confluence of some long term and short term commitments. My schedule for Sept/Oct.

  • Sept 1-10 – UK
  • Sept 20-22 – Alfred, NY
  • Sept 24-30 – Sydney
  • Oct 5 – Memphis
  • Oct 11-12 – Denver SQL Sat
  • Oct 18-20 – NYC
  • Oct 25-27 – London
  • Nov 5-6 Seattle
  • Nov 7 – Orlando (tentative)

Glad I got the rest of the grass cut this last week.

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