I’ve recently been thinking about why running Services is particularly hard. By Services I mean Software-as-a-Service platforms. During the years, I’ve written software for many different systems — embedded software, web services, databases, and distributed systems, but being involved with designing and running a SaaS platform was difficult in a whole new way: running Services is hard work.
Well, almost nothing.
Obviously it’s got something to do with computers since developers spend so much of their time in front of one. But software development is actually all about people. And successful software development even more so.
Recently at InfluxDB we discussed how code reviews fit in during the various stages of development. It’s great to see the team reach consensus about how we should develop software. It made me think more deeply about why I remain a big believer in the code review process.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what makes computer services and products sticky — what makes users and customers come back again and again to what you’ve built. There are lots of ways to summarize it, but when it comes to systems that help technical people run their own systems, they come for the features, but they stay for the uptime.
My father worked for many years in QA at Beckman, an American medical instruments firm. His job was to ensure that newly-manufactured centrifuge rotors would hold up when spun at thousands of RPMs. He used to tell me that the Beckman philosophy could be summarised in one sentence — “There is no substitute for quality”.
As technical lead at Loggly, responsibility for a well-engineered infrastructure ends with me. And one way to ensure the system is designed and implemented well is to stay as close as possible to the code, ensuring that the team and I write quality software.
But it can be difficult to complete the design and implementation of the features I am responsible for, ensure that what the team produces is well-implemented, and understand every line of code — there is only so much time in the day.