Tag Archives: management

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Should you Commit, Kill, or Transform?

2012 Johanna Rothman If youre working on more than one project at a time, or if your managers are asking you to do so, its time to make some decisions. You shouldnt start every project. You shouldnt even finish every … Continue reading

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Always Ask the Zeroth Question About Your Projects

2012 Johanna Rothman Sometimes, you wonder why you are doing this project. You spend all this time on it, you’re sure there isn’t much value from the project, and still, the project is on the top of your manager’s list. … Continue reading

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Stop That Mole Now

2010 Steven M. Smith Do you have a mole undermining the work of your team? Someone who constantly complains privately to any teammate who will listen but refuses to bring that same complaint publicly to the team? Someone whose actions … Continue reading

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Coaching Whiners

Ban whining. It’s destructive communication inside organizations. Read this story about how a manager coached an employee to transform a whine into a complaint with recommendation. Continue reading

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The Blame Game

©2007, 2009 Don Gray and Jerry Weinberg Engelbert watched Pam nervously chew on her knuckle as she stood in the door of his office, answering his call. “Come in and close the door.” He motioned her to a seat, then … Continue reading

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Drawing Out the Facts: The Art of the Discovery Interview

(c)2007 Steven M. Smith “What?” raced through Janet’s head as she read the email. “Now that’s a surprise.” The message was from Jack Johnson, vice president of development. It said she would receive a meeting request from Rajan Alak, an … Continue reading

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Is Collaboration the Right Way to Work?

©2008-2009, Esther Derby As a manager, your job is to organize people and work for success. That includes work design–figuring out whether you have a group or a team, and creating an environment where people can do their best work. … Continue reading

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Catch Them Doing It Right

(c)2008 Steven M. Smith A smile formed on Eleanor’s face as she saw me approach her doorway. She and I were meeting to discuss her views on recognizing and rewarding employees. She had been my manager for three years when … Continue reading

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The Appreciation Gap

©2004 Esther Derby In a recent workshop, I described an exercise for expressing appreciation. “That won’t go over here,” stated Patty, one of the managers in the workshop. “These are engineers; they don’t want that mushy stuff. Besides, they know … Continue reading

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Performance Without Appraisal

©2007 Esther Derby The idea of merit rating is alluring. The sound of the words captivates the imagination: pay for what you get; get what you pay for;motivate people to do their best, for their own good. The effect is … Continue reading

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Pennywise

©2005 Esther Derby This column originally appeared on Stickyminds.com Back in the late 90s, both demand for qualified people and salaries were high. Hiring managers scrambled to make offers within hours of seeing a promising resume and bidding for the … Continue reading

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The Secret Ingredients of High Morale

©2004 Esther Derby This column originally appeared on Stickyminds.com Jessica and Sean scowled as they headed back to their cubicles after the company spirit meeting. “I can’t believe they wasted two hours of our time with that award ceremony and … Continue reading

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How to Kill a Software Company

©2002 Don Gray A Software Project By Any Other Name Most software practitioners and managers are aware of a project’s three legs. These legs are features, schedule and quality. (1) While all of these are important for a successful project, … Continue reading

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The Liar’s Contest

In this game, the only way to win is to stop playing. (c)2004, 2005 Don Gray and Gerald M. Weinberg It may look like a crisis, but it’s only the end of an illusion. – Rhonda’s First Revelation The Setup … Continue reading

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Managing in Mayberry: An examination of three distinct leadership styles

2001 Don Gray and Dan Starr Near the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, not far from where you think it should be, there really is a town called Mayberry. Although the main highway bypassed the town years ago, the … Continue reading

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Planning for Delays

©2000 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com As some of you know, a group of consultants are producing a conference for our colleagues and clients. It’s called AYE, for “Amplifying Your Effectiveness.” One of the main goals of this distributed project is … Continue reading

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Advice for Software Development Managers

© Gerald M. Weinberg, 2004 www.geraldmweinberg.com Software Development Magazine recently interviewed Jerry. Here are some of his answers. Q: Whats the most important piece of management-related advice anyone has ever given you? GW: If you blame your employees, you’re a … Continue reading

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Safety Margin

©2005 Steven M Smith Jake tossed and turned. He looked at the bedside clock. 3 AM. “I need sleep,” he thought to himself. But sleep would not come. Only worry about tomorrow’s meeting. Edmund, Jake’s manager’s manager, enjoyed probing managers … Continue reading

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings, Part 2

©2007 Steven M Smith I argued in my first article about stand-up meetings that the right participants were the key to a successful meeting rather than whether the participants were standing up or sitting down. Despite my dislike for forcing … Continue reading

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings

©2007 Steven M Smith Stand up meetings are popular in software development organizations now. What makes a stand-up meeting more effective than a traditional meeting to socialize status information? Nothing. The effectiveness of a stand-up meeting, like the traditional status … Continue reading

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Don’t Tell Doreen

©2005 Steven M Smith Jarrett, Doreen and I were on the verge of a closing a big sale. We had crafted the Statement of Work (SOW) for two weeks and had finally reached the point where it satisfied both the … Continue reading

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Decide As a Team

©2007 Steven M Smith Do some members of your team make agreements during meetings but fail to support them afterwards?If this behavior is happening, I suspect your team is using an obscure process to make decisions. Identifying Obscure Process An … Continue reading

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Hiring Testers

©2002 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com This article originally appeared on stickyminds.com Summary: Whats the best way to wade through those thousands of resumes youve received for the new testing position? To start, you could ruthlessly weed out those who dont show … Continue reading

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How 2 Buddy

©2004 Johanna Rothman www.jrothman.com Introduction If you’ve hired new people or transferred people into your group, you know that they’re not immediately productive when they start. If you’re lucky, they start to be useful in a month, but you most … Continue reading

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How Much Work Can You Do?

Developing and Managing Your Project Portfolio (c) 2005 Johanna Rothman This article appeared previously on stickyminds.com. I meet many managers in the course of my work, and they all share a common complaint: They have too much work to do. … Continue reading

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Planning for Technical Management Time

©2005 Johanna Rothman I recently spoke with a manager who’d just incorporated another group of four people to his original three. “I was doing fine with my three people before I took over this group. I had time to manage, … Continue reading

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What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

©2005 Johanna Rothman If you’re like most of my clients, you have too much to do. Recently, an Engineering Director, Stephanie, explained all the things she “had” to do: monitor the projects, participate in the requirements sessions, draw up a … Continue reading

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Managing the Group Meeting

©2003 Johanna Rothman, www.jrothman.com Does your staff look forward to flu season so they don’t have to attend your group meetings? Are you looking for ways to escape your manager’s meetings? Boring group meetings tend to be a result of … Continue reading

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Do We Have to Choose Between Management and Leadership?

©2006-2007 Esther Derby This column originally appeared on stickyminds.com In a recent discussion on the state of a software company, a programmer declared, “We don’t need managers around here, we need leaders!” I’m always puzzled by statements like this. “How … Continue reading

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Managing a Struggling Employee

©2003 Esther Derby, www.estherderby.com Sooner or later every manager faces the same dilemma: What do I do when I inherit or hire an employee who turns out to be a poor fit for the job? Tom was the development manager … Continue reading

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Designing Useful Metrics: Using Observation, Modeling, and Measurement to Make Decisions

©2000 Esther Derby www.estherderby.com Originally published in STQE magazine, May/June 2000 As a manager, you want to increase effectiveness and improve the quality of software. Using measurement as a tool for accomplishing this, however, may be something you’re skeptical about. … Continue reading

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