We all know that the secret to good southern fried chicken is in the blend of spices used to flavour it, the quality of the ingredients and the process used to cook it. In many ways, this is very similar to what makes a successful modern Technology department…
Obviously, the word “similar” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there, but putting that aside for the moment, it’s only when you dive into the details that the truth begins to reveal itself.
Whilst the more famous of the recipes are probably locked up in a Swiss bunker or tattooed on the inside of someone, we can have a guess at what they might be.
Let’s blow this thing wide open!
- Chicken pieces (legs, thighs, wings, and breasts) — about 2–3 lbs
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
- Vegetable oil for frying
1.) Marinate The Chicken
At the heart of any technology department, there’s the technology itself — the systems, platforms and networks, essentially the “chicken”. This is the fundamentals of what we provide to the wider business. Just as you’d select the best cuts of meat, we need to ensure that our systems are robust, lean and tailored to our needs.
Before offering them up, we clean and pat them dry (i.e. make sure they’re suitable and ready for use). We then put them in a large bowl (our estate) and cover them in the buttermilk, or as I prefer to call it, integration patterns. We then marinate for a while to ensure they work as expected.
But they’re still vanilla, we need to spice them up to make them suitable for our business…
2.) Prepare The Coating
The crispy coating of the chicken is a technology department’s value-add. It’s what makes us stand out. The coating is spiced with a secret blend of roles that each add a unique flavour.
The base is formed by combining the flour and breadcrumbs, these are essentially the culture and mindset of the organisation — they bind the roles together in a way that helps the whole be greater than the sum of the parts. It’s the only way to ensure a crispy service wrapper.
To the base, we add:
Salt (Software Engineers): Essential for flavour enhancement, software engineers are the fundamental taste of any technology department. Without them, the tech chicken is just… bland.
Black Pepper (Architects): Giving that slight kick, architects ensure the structure is sound and can withstand the heat of the business.
Smoked Paprika (Business Analysts): Offering a reddish hue and smoky flavor, BAs ensure every piece of the system integrates seamlessly, often adding their own smoked paprika touch with deeper business insights.
Garlic Powder (Quality Engineers): This aromatic role ensures that the systems are bug-free and taste just right, always enhancing and never overpowering.
Onion Powder (Delivery Leads): The delivery lead complements the team, ensuring landing zones are established, deadlines are met and processes go deep-fried smoothly.
Cayenne Pepper (Platform Engineers): Adding that extra kick, platform engineers ensure that our technology infrastructure has a fiery robustness to it.
White Pepper (Support Analysts): Offering a different type of heat, support analysts ensure that any issues are quickly and efficiently resolved, adding that much-needed zing!
Thyme (Site Reliability Engineers): Their aromatic and citrusy touch ensures uptime, reliability, and that the tech keeps ticking… in thyme.
Oregano (Product Managers): Earthy and grounding, product managers keep the team rooted in customer needs.
Sage (Cyber-Security Specialists): Protecting our chicken from unwanted invasions, they bring warmth and security, ensuring our tech is sage against any cyber threat.
3.) Coat The Chicken
Roll the chicken technology in the coating to ensure that the combination of roles, held together by a common culture and mindset are reflected in each individual piece. Only the right combination will result in the finger lickin’ goodness we want to achieve.
This should result in efficient systems, doing the appropriate things in a reliable way.
It’s also a piece of uncooked, sloppy and grainy chicken. Take the time to wash your hands otherwise bugs might creep in…
4.) Fry To Perfection
Finally… the grand finale, the cooking.
Don’t do too much at once, by minimising your Work-In-Progress and carefully frying in iterations. Continuously improve your technique by taste-tasting throughout to ensure fast feedback and course correction.
Turning and basting the chicken will help ensure the spices combine together collaboratively and from development, through security to operations, the chicken is cooked to perfection (devSecChickOps?)
5.) Drain And Serve
Once the systems are golden brown, crispy, and dripping with value, serve them up on a plate of collaboration, ensuring every team, from the spice rack of technology to the end-users at the table has a say in the taste and texture of our tech delicacies.
Phew, we got here. What a peculiar journey that’s been 🙂
Crafting the perfect technology department isn’t just about choosing the right tools or systems. It’s about seasoning it with the right roles, binding it with culture, and cooking it with methodology. It’s a recipe that, when followed, delivers a crispy, golden, finger-licking good department that everyone wants a bite of.
Maybe the next time you think of tech, you won’t think of a mundane cost centre, you’ll imagine that sizzling, savoury Southern Fried Chicken, and remember — it’s not just the chicken, but the spices, the binding, and the cooking that makes it delightful.
Here’s to tech that’s seasoned to perfection and cooked with care
* Genuine recipe btw!
**Take these with a pinch of software engineer…