Work Smarter Series #6 – Interview with Thomas Kurian, President of Product Development at Oracle

The Work Smarter Series by Workfit explores the productivity habits of the world’s most successful executives.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas Kurian (President of Oracle product development), at his office in Redwood Shores. I knew Thomas well from when I ran the Oracle Data Cloud under his and Steve Miranda’s organization after Oracle acquired BlueKai. I learned a ton about productivity working for Thomas and I wanted to get him to share his thoughts on productivity so it could benefit others.

Productivity

Q: You run one of the largest technology groups of any B2B software company in the world, which means you’ve met and learned from some of the best CEOs and execs in the world. Are there any specific attributes of theirs you’ve observed that impressed you?

Thomas: There are three things that I’ve seen. 

  1. Precision in communication. People usually want to hear what they want to hear. They may listen, but they don’t often hear what you say. You’ve got to be very precise when you’re talking to large groups. Focusing on precision helps ensure what you mean, and also why you mean it is conveyed.
  2. Seeing the long-term view. A key component of productivity is getting people to understand a long-term picture so that decision-making happens within the frame of that vision. Once you have a context that everybody on team shares, decision-making happens much faster because everybody’s using the same frame of reference. 
  3. Make time to learn. The third thing I would say is, if you want to be productive, you’ve got to save time to learn stuff for yourself so you remain fresh and creative. For myself as an example, Fridays are my time. I don’t have any meetings on Fridays. I spend time learning and doing new things, which I feel very important. I think this helps me keep up my own personal productivity. You should have a sense of freshness and energy. For me making time to learn rejuvenates me.

Meetings

Q: I observed you developed great habits around meetings. For example – whenever I had a meeting with you, you had always pre-read the material, and you always followed up on action items in a timely manner. How did your good habits around meetings evolve?

Thomas: Regarding the pre-read – I personally find that I can read much faster than I can listen. The reason I ask for materials to be sent ahead of time is, I can read in 20 minutes what normally would take two hours to get through in a presentation, and that way we can focus on the issues. Another reason I tend to read offline is, I like to make the decision quickly. When you have a large organization, if the person at the top doesn’t move quickly, and decide, and course correct later, the whole organization slows down. As far as action items go. if I take an action item, it’s a courtesy to the people that work with me that just as much as I’m asking them to follow-up on stuff, that I follow-up on stuff. Usually, I draft an email and save it in my draft folder so that I can remember it. Then I complete it that evening rather than postpone it.

 

It’s really a gesture of politeness and courtesy that if you’re with somebody, they have 100 percent of your attention.

Q: Another thing I noticed when I’m meeting with you is you’re not distracted by ten other things. Even though you might have excuses to be distracted, you don’t allow it. How important do you think it is to get people to understand how to be present?

Thomas: When it comes to presence I think it’s really a gesture of politeness and courtesy that if you’re with somebody, they have 100 percent of your attention. I find it’s faster to identify topics in advance, give people your attention, make decisions, and get through meetings fast rather than having long meetings where people are looking at other things throughout the time. My default meeting is 15 minutes or less. To me, it’s much more efficient that way because then, I can meet with the team or the individual, give them complete attention, decide, and then I have 45 minutes to do my own stuff rather than be at an hour-long meeting when people are hearing things but not really paying attention and multi-tasking at the same time.

 

Q: How do you keep your calendar open and maintain the ability to have these meaningful, engaged, prepared meetings?

Thomas: It’s important to me that people who work for me are given consistency, so I give every one of my staff a fixed time every week for meetings with them and their teams. I tend to do one-on-ones when they are needed rather than have it scheduled because then people don’t feel like they have to manufacture something for a one-on-one when there’s nothing to discuss. My normal style is to save at least two hours every day and six hours on Fridays for my time. I feel that to be a creative person leading an engineering function, you must have your own independent view of technology. You have to stay current on it. You have to have ideas that people believe in. For me to have those boundaries and personal time I save for myself, I have to be comfortable delegating. An important aspect of being able to work with people is being able to delegate decision-making and not have to be involved in every decision yourself.

 

A meeting is not about getting people together for the sake of getting people together. A meeting is to accomplish a decision.

Q: How do you focus your teams on having productive meetings that drive good decisions and important actions?

Thomas: A meeting is not about getting people together for the sake of getting people together. A meeting is to accomplish a decision. If there’s nothing to be decided, we don’t need a meeting. I can be updated on email. I can read a memo somebody sends. I can listen to a voice update. I don’t need a meeting to be updated on things. That’s a very important element. When you have that belief, I think meetings become much more focused and constructive. When people think of most of the nine billion meetings a year, surely they’re not nine billion things to be decided. Right? A lot of meetings are just meetings for the sake of having meetings. When the top people in an organization enable those types of meetings, it leads to a real difficulty for people more junior in the organization, not only not to mimic them, but even just to say, “Hey, I don’t know why I’m coming to your meeting. It’s taking a lot of time, and I have to prepare a lot of stuff, and it doesn’t accomplish anything.” One of the things I find effective in meetings is when the participants take what I call a “top management” viewp point. Think “What would the person I’m talking to think about, and what decisions are they facing, and how would I phrase the options that they have and therefore make a decision?” I think if you foster that in people, they become much more effective. A lot of the times, when people think like that they find they can make the decisions themselves and they don’t need to have a meeting with you after all. When they adopt that mindset they gradually get more confident in decision-making.

 

Q: Is there a secret of productivity that we haven’t discussed yet?

Thomas: Once you get to a point that the technology and facilitation mechanisms are operating smoothly, the elements I discussed earlier can show their value. When the team you’re working with share the same frame of reference and develop an innate sense of what other people would want to do, I think the decision-making becomes much more natural and therefore things move much more quickly.

 

 

Thomas Kurian is president of Oracle product development and reports to Oracle Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison. He is responsible for leading software development and transitioning the company’s technology to Oracle Cloud. For the past several years, Kurian has been responsible for the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products. Under his leadership, that business became the fastest-growing within Oracle and the industry’s leading middleware product suite. Since 2008, Kurian has also led the development for Oracle’s next-generation business applications, Oracle Fusion Applications

—The above post was written based on an interview we conducted with the participant. We’ve made minor edits to improve readability.

 

 

 

Introducing the AI Exoskeleton

Our CEO and Co-Founder Omar Tawakol came up with the concept of an AI exoskeleton as a way to both visually describe the current landscape, and serve as a framework for where the industry is headed in the future.

At its core, we believe AI, when applied to the knowledge worker should:

  • Be easy to use.
  • Seamlessly integrate with your existing systems.
  • Make you better at whatever you do.

We’ll be talking more about the idea of an AI exoskeleton and how, whether they realize it or not today’s knowledge workers are already benefiting from Augmented Intelligence (AI) in their workday. Their AI exoskeleton isn’t taking the shape of a physical suit they step into but rather an invisible one comprised of apps, tools, and services that make them a super productive version of their best self at work.

To kick off the idea of the AI Exoskeleton we contributed an article to CIO.

Here’s an excerpt.

What the Rise of the Exoskeleton means for the Future of Work: AI Exoskeletons will Boost and not Replace Knowledge Workers – CIO.com

Beyond physical exoskeletons, there is an opportunity to provide a virtual exoskeleton for the knowledge worker. Exoskeletons focus on taking our human abilities and increasing them using huge amounts of data and sophisticated algorithms. Rather than replacing workers, this mix of human skill and AI will propel workers into faster and better productivity across a wider range of outputs. While this might be a silent revolution, it is already delivering results.

 

AI (Augmented Intelligence) Trends Contributed Article from VentureBeat

Our CEO Omar Omar Tawakol shared his thoughts on the trends around AI (Augmented Intelligence) in a contributed article for VentureBeat. In the piece, he touches on a wide range of topics ranging from AI exoskeletons, Hippocratic oaths for AI, the history of technological disruptions and more.

One topic that’s particularly relevant to what we’re working on here at Workfit is Augmented vs Artificial Intelligence and how we define the difference.

“We call this type of AI “augmented intelligence,” and it is a twin of artificial intelligence. While both techniques use algorithms and data to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, they differ in the types of tasks they target. For example, augmented intelligence is all about identifying desired outputs and then using technology to help the workers produce those outputs better, faster, and cheaper.”

How to keep AI from turning us all into mindless slaves

Work Smarter Series #5 – Interview with Clara Shih Founder and CEO of Hearsay

The Work Smarter Series by Workfit explores the productivity habits of the world’s most successful executives.

Clara Shih is a pioneer in the social media industry and the founder and CEO of Hearsay the leading advisor-client engagement solution for the financial services industry. Clara has been named one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Fast Company’s “Most Influential People in Technology,” Businessweek’s “Top Young Entrepreneurs,” and a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. She also has been listed in both Fortune’s and Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” as well as InvestmentNews’ “40 Under 40” and ThinkAdvisor‘s IA 25 – Industry Influencers. Clara also authored the New York Times-featured best-seller, The Facebook Era. Her latest book is The Social Business Imperative about adapting your business model to the always-connected customer.

I first met Clara on a hike in Aspen at a Fortune Brainstorm event and was impressed with her energy and her views on building productive teams and so we scheduled this interview which took place in her office in San Francisco.

 

 

You have to constantly delegate and empower others to do the work

Q: When you think of the best execs you’ve learned from, what sticks out to you as the most effective productivity traits you’ve learned from one or more of them

Clara:  I feel like I’m constantly trying to pick up productivity ideas, and then incorporating them into my life. The one that sticks out is, delegate everything that you can. If you and your execs are going to scale, you have to constantly delegate and empower others to do the work. That means that you only do, what only you can do. In addition, you should try to modularize everything that is repetitive. For instance, utilize canned responses and templates when you can. That saves time and lets you focus your energy on what is important.

 

Q: Let’s talk about meetings. If you think of your best run meeting, the best-attended meeting that you’ve been to, what stands out? How do you get people engaged and get the right actions out of the meeting?

Clara:

  •  Pre-read. Make sure that everyone pre-reads the material ahead of the meeting. That requires more discipline because people have to prepare for the meeting both by creating content and consuming it ahead of time, but it pays off.
  • Limit the meeting to six people or fewer. A lot of people have the temptation to invite others to a meeting so that no one feels left out. That is the wrong thing to optimize for. By limiting the number of attendees, you can have more candid, focused discussions where everyone participates.
  • Encourage everyone to be fully engaged, so no cell phones or distractions. This one is a little trickier to enforce. Maybe I’ll set up a cell phone basket to enforce it in the future. Even though this is harder to do, the payoff is huge.
  • Have clear meeting objectives stated up front, and keep the discussion on task with clear deliverables and action items at the end. Again, this one requires real discipline. It is much easier to just schedule a recurring a meeting and show-up. But that is a recipe for wasted time. Agendas need to be shared and this ties back into #1 the pre-read. Also, for this to be useful you need to keep people on task so that you make it through the most important parts of the agenda. Finally, there must be a focus on clear action items and ownership.

 

Over communicating what is important is the best way to align an organization.

Q: We have this concept that we came up with called, the building blocks of Work fitness, which include – prioritization, responsiveness, presence, bias-for-action and perpetual beta. Do any of those resonant with you and why?

Clara:  Prioritization. There are a thousand good ideas and it’ll kill you if you try to pursue more than three. Prioritization is one that I’m continually working on. When you envision an organization of our size (around 170 people) good prioritization is essential. The thing I didn’t get for so long, was having to repeat the same priorities over and over again, to everybody. But over communicating what is important is the best way to align an organization. Also, when there are new ideas, you should realign those ideas and see if they fit into the three priorities that you’re focusing on at that time.

 

Q: What didn’t we ask that you think is important to unlock the secrets of meetings and productivity?

Clara:  One big challenge is remote meetings. How do you keep all these great techniques we’ve talked through already in play? Especially if they’re on the phone and not video, they’re probably multi-tasking, it’s just too easy to multi-task. And that encourages the worst type of interaction. This gets magnified when a call is a mixed group (where some are on site and some are remote). Often the remote person will get lost and the in-person attendees have to wait for them to catch up or circle back to a topic – which is super unproductive. The best way to get around this is to have people in person and off their phone when possible. If in-person isn’t possible then, moving people to video helps. People are much less likely to multitask when they are on-screen.

 

Three Simple Strategies to Fix Team Meetings

Follow These Three Simple Strategies to Fix Meetings

Team meetings a drag? Here are three easy to follow ways to make them better.

I’ve spent the last few years exploring productivity across many leading companies. While out talking with various people, a surprising theme became clear: most people don’t have a vision of how to run a good team meeting. Despite holding these meetings every week, people don’t pay attention to the team dynamics of what happens during these meetings. The net result is that they become an energy drain for everyone involved.

Through our interviews of the most productive leaders for the Work Smarter Series, we have started to deconstruct the best elements of successful team meetings and have identified three prominent patterns. The patterns that emerged provide a useful strategy to keep teams engaged during meetings, and results in more productive and higher-performing teams after the meetings end.

 

Three Simple Strategies to Fix Meetings:

  1. Start the meeting with a Navy Seal Test

  2. Transition to your Suspense Thriller portion

  3. End with a Pep Rally

 

 

If you don’t raise the bar, progress stagnates.

 

Navy Seal Test

To run a good team meeting, you have to be able to drive results and measure progress. Start the meeting by focusing in on a small set of important goals you are measuring (custom tailored to each team member). To drive progress you first have to measure, and continually push people to raise the bar on these goals. This part of the meeting should feel like a Navy Seal fitness test. The team should be aware of the most important goals and should come prepared to share quantifiable updates on them. If today your team member reported closing 75 contracts, next week’s meeting should target 80. If you don’t raise the bar, progress stagnates. The best leaders achieve this by having each team member share their progress on a well-defined set of metrics in front of their peers so that the team can get used to holding each other accountable. Revenue pipeline meetings are a great example of this style of meeting, but this principle should be applied beyond Sales.

  • Pro Tip: Many leaders require that everyone send out their updates along this line as a pre-read. This takes an extra level of discipline, but gets everyone on the same page, drives better preparation, and delivers focus.

A couple of words of caution on metrics:

  • a) you get what you measure, so make it count.
  • b) identify leading metrics and not lagging metrics so you can stay ahead of the trends in your business and not behind.
  • c) just because it can be measured doesn’t mean it should be measured – look for the metrics that drive the business and give you leverage. The rest is noise.

Each discussion is different than the previous one

Suspense Thriller

If every week, your team enters a meeting where you will review other people’s metrics, things become too predictable. People start zoning out when others are presenting, especially when much of the data could be made available in a pre-read. The best way to get around this is to leverage your team for making decisions that are important, strategic, and that require collective input.

  • Pro Tip: Many leaders create a list of important strategic topics that need to get discussed, and these are scheduled in advance (when possible). The advantage of this? A leader can be assigned to the topic so that there is sufficient prep-work on framing the problem, collecting the data, and presenting alternatives, allowing more efficient discussion and decision-making.

This section of the meeting tends to drive much better engagement. Each discussion is different than the previous one, and helps push the teams to become a connected, engaged, high-performance group. It also builds trust and mutual understanding of complex decisions. We call this aspect a suspense thriller because the audience participates but they don’t know what that ultimate outcome will be. As important as this is, we wouldn’t advise only having team meetings that are suspense thrillers. You need the more predictable components that come with metrics to make sure people don’t constantly shift their focus to the discussion of the day. The Navy Seal test portion of the meeting helps create that stability, continuity, and focus and compliments the suspense thriller portion.

 

 

The pep rally component acknowledges that every team member needs to be a source of energy for their teams.

Pep Rally

So far, we have focus and engagement, but we also need a way to inject the team with the kind of energy that lasts beyond the meeting and helps power team members beyond the individuals in the meeting. Adding a portion of the meeting which resembles a pep rally toward the end of your meeting is a great way to energize the team so that they carry that energy to the rest of the company. I have seen some of the best leaders keep a team excited by carefully crafting the relevant achievements each week to share with the team. Don’t fake it, this must be authentic, and must draw on real achievement. By doing this, a team has a chance to celebrate it’s progress while also pointing out areas of improvement. This type of meeting tends to be very natural for the go-to-market teams. Other teams might take some additional coaxing to unlock their inner cheerleaders.

  • Pro Tip: The best highlights tend to be ones that come from external validations – like a customer, partner, or prospect. It also has to be followed by or tempered by an identification of where the team can improve. One strong leader I have worked with used to end this section by saying: “Stay humble, keep improving”

 

 

Pulling it all Together

These 3 simple traits create a strong healthy meeting dynamic and a cohesive high-performance team.

  • The Navy Seals component shows everyone that they have to perform, that they have to share that performance, and that as a team, they should all hold each other accountable. As a result, team members never want to let each other down. This also moves the focus from subjective behaviors (like playing nice to curry favor) to more objective measures (like improving performance). This is a necessary component of a high-performing team. It is necessary but not sufficient.
  • The suspense thriller component of the meeting is also needed because it keeps the team engaged together. Without this, it is entirely possible for each team member to improve their personal performance without really leveraging the full team. The thriller portion of the meeting gives the team an opportunity to deploy its collective intelligence. It also helps the team make better decisions while keeping everyone engaged.
  • The pep rally component acknowledges that every team member needs to be a source of energy for their teams. The pep rally allows you to train your team that it is important to celebrate the successes and that each leader should energize their team while also staying humble enough to identify the areas for improvement.

As the CEO of Workfit, I’ve found this meeting playbook a great way to create high-performance, collaborative, and energized teams.  What do you think? Share your key elements to running an effective meeting in the comments below.

 

 

 

Work Smarter Series #4 – Interview with Jeff Green Founder and CEO of The Trade Desk

The Work Smarter Series by Workfit explores the productivity habits of the world’s most successful executives.

Jeff Green is founder and CEO of The Trade Desk, Inc., a demand-side platform that powers the media campaigns of the world’s most advanced buyers in digital advertising. In 2015, Ernst & Young named Jeff and co-founder Dave Pickles Entrepreneurs of the Year in the Greater Los Angeles region and recently Glassdoor named The Trade Desk #20 on its Best Places to Work list for small and medium businesses. In 2016, Jeff took The Trade Desk public, making it one of the most valuable companies in the advertising technology arena. I recently sat down for breakfast with Jeff to explore his ideas on productivity.

Meetings

Q: Do you experience meeting overload – how do you handle it?  What tools and tricks do you use to make meetings more productive?

Jeff: Yes, I experience meeting over-load.  I could sit in meetings for 14 hours a day if I didn’t look at my calendar defensively.  There is a balance here, though.  If you aren’t getting invited to a lot of meetings that may be a sign of you being abrasive.  Also, I have a bias to action so people invite me to meetings where they want decisions and actions.  Given the demand on my time, I tell people to tell me what they want to accomplish before the meeting.  People need a chance to prepare based on the goals of the meeting.

 

If we identify a long-term problem, then I ask if we have sufficiently described the roles and responsibilities that enable that long-term action.

Q:  That sounds great, so what do you after the meeting is held?

Jeff: Once the meeting is held every meeting needs to end with actions and assignments.  That is part of our culture.  If we have a short term problem, there are action items coming out of the meeting.  If we identify a long-term problem, then I ask if we have sufficiently described the roles and responsibilities that enable that long-term action.  If you haven’t properly described the roles and responsibilities that means more meetings and discussions because no one knows who really owns the task.  You want to have the right input and also avoid too much bureaucracy.  That long-term lens is what execs often miss when they just dictate action items.

 

Q:  When you think about the most effective executives what productivity attributes stick out the most from them?

Jeff: It all boils down to time.  People think in terms of money way too often when they should be thinking more about their time and how they use it.  When you are an early stage company, you are liberal with your time.  As more opportunity presents itself you have to become really good at time management.  It all comes down to how you choose to assign your time.

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Workfit Featured in the Wall Street Journal

Voice-activated assistants with artificial intelligence are moving from the home to the office.

We’re very excited to be featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article that takes a deep dive into voice-activated AI moving from the home to the office. Our vision for Eva is to bring the capabilities people currently love about augmented intelligence (AI) and the voice activated devices they interact with in their personal lives, to businesses—more specifically, to meetings. As we explored in an earlier blog post, businesses have a lot of meetings every day (33 Million per day to be exact). The transition of voice assisted AI from personal to business will usher in a new era of productivity, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of bringing this technology to the workplace.

Interesting takeaways from the article:

  • “Roger Lee, a general partner at global venture capital firm Battery Ventures, believes that technology for the workplace has been following consumer trends, and he thinks voice-enabled intelligent assistants will be next.”
  • From a survey of IT professionals
    • Roughly half of IT professionals said their organizations already use intelligent assistants for work-related tasks on company devices or plan to within three years.
    • When asked about the benefits of intelligent assistants, the top three were.
      • Increased productivity 45%
      • Less typing with voice dictation 42%
      • Improved data analysis 34%
  • In a 2016 survey of workers’ attitudes toward technology conducted by Dell Inc., Intel Corp. and consultants Penn Schoen Berland, 30% of employees around the world chose “digital helper” as the potential use of artificial intelligence that they would be most excited about in their jobs.

Read the entire article from the Wall Street Journal, Alexa and Cortana May Be Heading to the Office.

 

Work Smarter Series #3 – Interview Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph and former founder and CEO of LiveRamp

The Work Smarter Series by Workfit explores the productivity habits of the world’s most successful executives.

Auren Hoffman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, author, and current CEO of SafeGraph, which graphs datasets together to solve humanity’s biggest secrets. Previously he was founder and CEO of LiveRamp an identity resolution provider offering data onboarding. I had the chance to sit down with Auren and learn more about his productivity habits, including managing his inbox, dealing with meeting overload and more.

We’ll be regularly publishing new interviews in the series. Follow @WorkfitHQ on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss the next post.

Meetings

 

What type of meeting are we having? What is the goal and the agenda? When we have meetings we pre-write the goals and share the agenda. We do that even with external meetings.

Q: Do you experience meeting overload – how do you handle it?

Auren: Yes, I do experience meeting overload and to counter that I always try to have as few meetings as possible, with as few people as possible. For example – our Eng VP would have all engineering meetings on Wednesday and only on Wednesdays. Wednesday was release day so it worked for the engineering team. Code reviews and other types of meetings would also happen then. That streamlines the rest of the week for a team that isn’t big on meetings. That might be easier to accomplish for engineers – but it is an example that can be useful for others.

Also, it is really good to know what you are trying to accomplish in advance. What type of meeting are we having? What is the goal and the agenda? When we have meetings we pre-write the goals and share the agenda. We do that even with external meetings.

Finally, another useful idea is to streamline attendance, because most meetings don’t need everyone that gets invited.

 

Q:  How does multitasking in meetings help or hurt productivity?

Auren: Most external meetings are on the phone. When that happens there are too many opportunities to multi-task. In-person meetings are better because you don’t multi- task. If you find yourself in a meeting where people aren’t focused it is a good sign that the meeting is not run well. It doesn’t necessarily mean the meeting is bad (that might be the case) but at a minimum, it means the meeting should be run better. Once someone was checking Facebook in a meeting I ran. I thought to myself that it might not be that person’s fault and perhaps I needed to make the meeting more compelling.

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The Results Are In: American Workers Have 33 Million Meetings a Day

American Workers Have 33 Million Meetings a Day

Ask an employee of any company – large or small – what their biggest time sink is, and they will tell you how many meetings they have. In the US alone, there are billions of meetings a year. Yet more than a third of that meeting time is considered wasted by attendees. Given that level of impact on the workforce, it is surprisingly difficult to pin down how many meetings there actually are in the US every day. Unfortunately, the commonly quoted metrics on meetings are outdated. The most widely cited quantification of meetings was published by Michael Doyle and David Strauss over 40 years ago. Doyle and Strauss claimed that there were 11 million meetings a day, and that number has been published dozens of times without a rigorous evaluation of the growing workforce, virtualization of the workforce, and advent of the last 4 decades of technological and cultural progress. It is clear that we need an updated number but perhaps even more important is that we need a transparent methodology that will allow us to stay up to date.

The Approach

  • In order to begin to estimate the number of meetings held each day in the US, we need to first answer the following 4 questions:
  • Question 1: How many workers are there in the US?
  • Question 2: What percent of these workers are in jobs that regularly have meetings?
  • Question 3: What is the % of time on average that these workers spend in meetings?
  • Question 4: What is the de-duped number of daily meetings in the US (a meeting count overstates the number because each meeting by definition has multiple participants)?
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Open-Sourcing Tester: Lightweight Go Test Utilities

Workfit loves Go

The Go Gopher was designed by Renee French.

At Workfit, we strive for building world-class software at a high iteration velocity. We heavily rely on open-source software; it allows us to build for scale while standing on the shoulders of giants. Our tech stack aligns with our culture and values, which foster an environment for code craftsmanship to thrive and a strong bias for action. We’re pleased to kick off our engineering blog posts with open-sourcing Tester: a lightweight test library that we built for Go; a small token of giving back to the open-source community and fellow Gophers.

Go is the programming language of choice for many of our microservices; it provides the greatest return on investment for our needs: security, correctness, simplicity, iteration velocity, scalability, and maintainability. Testing is an integral part of Go; the language provides robust and opinionated support for testing and benchmarking. However, developers who moved from languages like C#, Java, and Python miss the convenience of test utilities like assertions and data providers for data-driven tests. That’s why we started Tester: lightweight test utilities to use with Go’s testing package. Most tests follow the same pattern: set up, invoke the unit under test, assert, then clean up (if need be); said pattern encourages test code reuse and consistency. By using test utilities, you can spend more time thinking about test strategies and less time typing boilerplate code.

Features

  • Assertions that make tests easier to read, write, and debug
  • Streamlined data providers for data-driven testing (DDT)
  • Test hooks’ hygiene check
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