Play to Your Strengths, but Don’t Ignore Your Weaknesses

I always thought it was interesting when, from a people management perspective, there’s all this focus on finding your weaknesses and fixing them. For example, let’s say I took an ability assessment and scored super-way-high 10-out-of-10 on Coding, but super low 1-out-of-10 on Giving PowerPoint Presentations. What do you think a typical manager’s response would […]

Giving Direction and Guidance to Your Team, Effectively

When you’re in a leadership or management position, being “nice” and being pleasant to work with can be an interesting balancing act. When I have studied management theory and leadership in a formal training or classroom setting, it seems like most modern education leans towards “Beta” leadership, i.e. influence and consensus building, instead of the […]

How to Be a Team Player

As a technical manager and leader, a great deal of your responsibility is to mentor, coach, encourage, and grow people. Accomplishing tasks and moving projects forward is indeed important, but you need to make sure that you are taking care of people. But in order to do this you need to have a toolbag full […]

Research? or Goofing Off?

I’m sure many of you have heard of the famous Google 20%. This is the concept that Google engineers are allowed to spend 20% of their time on whatever they want. The idea is that many of the company’s most innovative and disruptive initiatives come from such a policy, and it also helps with employee […]

Keep moving forward. Especially Today.

How can you tell if your team and organization is making forward progress?  And I don’t mean just any progress, but progress in the right direction? What I’ve noticed is, depending upon your role in the organization it can be extremely difficult to know on a day-to-day basis if you are working on the right […]

Does a Manager Need to be Technical?

There’s two trains of thought in the business world: that the manager needs to be technical and understand what’s happening on the team, or that the manager doesn’t need to be technical and it’s really just about process and metrics and general management skills.  I can see the validity to both sides, but I think […]

No One Likes Meetings

Who really likes meetings?  I mean, I’m sure some people do, somewhere.  But it seems like a lot of people don’t. So many don’t, in fact, that Scrum and Sprints are designed to minimize meetings. But let’s look at the Agile Manifesto.  It says, “We favor…” Individuals and interactions Customer collaboration Responding to change In […]

Agile Development and Schedule Estimation

You can have fixed time and variable scope, or variable time and fixed scope, but a product owner can’t pick both. Lately, I’ve heard this quote several times.  At first, it makes sense. A product owner/stakeholder can either tell the team the requirements, and the team can then define the schedule.  Or the product owner […]