As Software Engineers we write code all day long(when we are not into meetings). Writing is how we get things done, shape the world with better solutions. Writing is old around ~3K BC, Egypt’s believed knowledge was power. I believe writing can go way beyond expressing the current knowledge but also helps to shape future knowledge. Writing is not made only for journalists, teachers, and historians like I said engineers write a lot. For the last +10 years, Agile Software development becomes mainstream and it’s very often to get teams with anti-writing feeling. Writing can be expressed in several different ways: Code, Design, Architecture, UX Personas, Ux Research, Business Rule, User Story, Use Case, Blog Post, Code Review, Documentation. Almost everything is related to writing.
I write a lot. Not only on my blog but also in Moleskine(micro notebooks, which are not monolith notebooks), Evernote, Github Gists and Log Book. Writing allowed me to remember things easily and ultimately writing helps me to think. I think better when I write about something, I got insights and I have the change to share with others some ideas, insights, information like we say in DevOps(Sharing is Caring).
Writing improves your communication skills by forcing you to be as much clear, precise and direct as possible. I deeply believe is there is something you do it poorly let’s say swim. You will only get better is you swim a lot. So basically you must increase the frequency of anything that you want to improve. Writing more often will make improve you thinking and comunication soon. Writing goes side by side with reading, I read a lot: Books, Kindle, Posts, Blogs, etc…
Writing is Essential in Remote Work
In order to remote work function properly it’s really important to do fewer meetings. Meetings don’t scale, writing does. Let’s say you will write a blog post explaining why ORM(Hibernate) sucks and why people should not it at all. If you took the meeting approach, you will need to have several meeting, let say you work with 100 people, you cannot add 100 people in regular web communication tools like skype/hangouts because often the limit is around 20–30 people. So you will need to do 4–5 meetings to cover your ground but them your company grows and now there are 200 people are you gonna do 5 meetings again? Now let’s imagine you have more matters to discuss and letś say you have at least 20 topics to share in your company/product. Well, the meetings approach will not work at all. Writing, you do it once and you can share forever. Writing also enables async work so people can read at different times and you can be doing something else. So Writing scales, meetings dont. You can mix writing with videos for instance. For an internal or external blog post, you can have text + video and the combination is extremely powerful.
Sharing Context and Learning
Engineering means Tradeoffs and Decisions(Requirements). People often don’t understand the rationale behind a tool, a vendor, a platform tech decision like use Scala. Writing gives you a chance to explain this Tradeoffs/Decisions to a broader audience and make people more comfortable and unboarded with you. It’s all about context, some people have it, others don’t. Everybody in your company/product should have as much context as possible. Writing helps a lot with it. Having the same context, alignment can arise and better decisions can be made. I believe you only know something let’s say Lean if you can explaining. Having a blog and writing helps you to understand things better and explaining a teaching others allow you to learn and retain more learning.
I found that writing improves my presentation skills which is another great reason for you to start writing. Writing makes easier to remember things. Writing also makes you Coach life easier since is easy to get visibility and grasp what you learned.
Learning with Others…
There are plenty of cool and awesome companies. I personally admire a lot Amazon, Netflix, 37 Signals and Google. All these companies write a lot, people from these companies also write a lot. You should have your blog and share your experiences and insights which might have a huge value for others, more than you think. I was in Portland/Oregon November 2019 having beers with some friends and I friend of mine was talking about Hardware Bugs, it blew my mind. I work with software for more than +15, but I never worked with hardware, it’s way different than cloud or anything I’m used to it. After more beers we got into the blogging matter, he said to me that for him blogging would not make much sense because he was afraid that he could not make an impact in people. I had to disagree(I wish my friend start blogging :D) something insights and learnings can come from the smallest things in the world. Something silly and simple as writing. :D
Originally published at http://diego-pacheco.blogspot.com on January 5, 2020.