EppsNet Archive: Management

Company Picnic

A highly placed manager at work shows up next to me in the men’s room. “You going to the company picnic?” he shouts. He’s a boisterous guy. “Yes!” I reply. “Looking forward to taking a few throws at you in the dunk tank.” “Dunk tank?!” he says. “There’s not going to be any dunk tank.” “Oh . . . in that case I’m not going.” Read more →

This is Where Your PDF Resume Will Take You

Received the following advice today: When applying for jobs, never send your resume in .docx format. Fonts don’t always get embedded and hiring managers cannot always open these files. Use PDF. Do we really want to work for managers who can’t open a Word doc? Imagine the world-class mentoring and career development you’re going to get from such a person. I mean, my wife can open Word docs no problem and she can’t even figure out how to turn on the TV. Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Every Form of Harassment is Okay — Except One

How did we decide that sexual harassment is the one category of workplace abuse, incidences of which require national outrage and loss of employment? Ideally, we would all have the prudence and restraint not to make sexual advances toward people over whose career we hold sway, but it happens. And yet we’ve all been harassed and ill-used in the workplace in other ways by someone more powerful, someone who negatively impacted our career by embarrassing us, intimidating us, undermining us, lying to us, lying about us, stealing the credit for our work . . . it goes on and on. Rarely do negative consequences accrue to the harasser. Steve Jobs, for example, was known for being abrasive, dismissive, shouting down colleagues, blaming others when things didn’t work out and occasionally wrapping himself in glory that rightly belonged elsewhere. Did this torpedo his career? Hardly. He’s an American icon. (In other… Read more →

Management Tips From the Pros: Put the Best Employees on the Drive-Thru Window

If you manage a fast food restaurant and you’re reading this, I beseech you to put your best employees at the drive-thru window to mitigate problems that wouldn’t arise in a face-to-face transaction. For example, I drove through Del Taco today for lunch . . . after the obligatory “Hi, welcome to Del Taco, would you like to try our new Queso Something-or-other,” I said “No, thank you, I’d like a Spicy Grilled Chicken Burrito and a large Coke Zero.” “Would you like a churro or something sweet for dessert?” “No but thanks for asking.” “OK, your total is . . .” After several seconds of silence, I decided to pull forward, give her some time to work through the math, and get the total at the window. After I’d gone about 10 feet, I heard her say “Wait, you wanted a burrito?” The car behind me hadn’t moved up,… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

People who advise you to “embrace failure.” Probably good advice, but if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it ten thousand times. We get it: Embrace Failure. Let’s move on already. Extra demerits: You have opinions on other completely played-out topics like management vs. leadership and how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. People who say “Can I put you on hold for a moment?” and then immediately put me on hold without giving me a chance to sigh ostentatiously and say “If you must.” Full-grown adults who tell you how sexually attracted they are to an actor or actress in a movie. Extra demerits: You invent your own fawning vocabulary with words like “droolworthy.” Your ability to be sexually aroused by a fantasy on a movie screen doesn’t enhance my opinion of you at all. Try maintaining a relationship in real life with someone who’s no more attractive than you… Read more →

Profiles in Management: The Jackass Whisperer

Nothing good comes from two people talking about a third person who isn’t there. If your boss is allowing people to talk to him or her about team members who are not present, you have a problem. If you are the boss and you’re doing this, knock it off. Who is worse: the person who wants to talk about you behind your back or the person who encourages them to do it? The good boss is loyal. You can count on him going to bat for you, even if he privately disagrees with your view and even if defending you is not necessarily the best thing for him. He is never two-faced. The bad boss, perhaps while boasting of his uncompromising integrity, thinks only about what’s best for himself. Watch your back. Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Two Mediocrities Are Not Better Than One

Effective executives rarely suffer from the delusion that two mediocrities achieve as much as one good man. They have learned that, as a rule, two mediocrities achieve even less than one mediocrity — they just get in each other’s way. — Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive Read more →

Hard Deadlines

Does saying “This task has to be done by Friday” increase the chances that the task will be done by Friday? No, but it increases the chance that it won’t be done before Friday. Better question: Why isn’t it done now? Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Forget About Female Leadership

Everyone can shut up about “let’s get more women into leadership positions.” Because they don’t want leadership positions. Or they’d get them. Obviously. Women want to have time for their kids. And leaders – especially top-down leaders – dedicate their lives to their work. There won’t be female leadership and male leadership. There will be people who lead at home and people who lead at work. People will take ownership of outcomes for the areas of life they care most about. — Penelope Trunk Read more →

Risk = Cumulative Cost – Cumulative Value

Henrik Kniberg has a presentation online called “What is Agile?” It includes a method of visualizing risk as the gap between cumulative cost and cumulative value, as well as methods of visualizing risk mitigation strategies. I found it valuable. Here are some representative slides: Read more →

9 Links

Data Structure Visualizations Good Tech Lead, Bad Tech Lead Google Java Style Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies How to Write a Cover Letter The Landing Page Optimization Guide You Wish You Always Had Selendroid: Selenium for Android UX Axioms by Eric Dahl Yelp’s got style (and the guide to back it up) Read more →

Topics for 2014

In 2014, I hope some sage business illuminato will gather his wits and take a stab at defining the difference between “management” and “leadership.” Long overdue . . . Read more →

Six Drucker Questions that Simplify a Complex Age

Via Harvard Business Review. My personal favorite is “What would happen if this were not done at all?” Read more →

Minimizing Retention

From an actual job description for a Software Development Manager: Worth with management and directs to put together a solid SW Development career development plan in alignment with Organization Solutions all-up to grow hi-potential employees and minimize retention. If you’re writing job descriptions and learning English at the same time, there’s no shame in having a native speaker review your work. The job description goes on like that for 10 or 12 more bullet points. I singled that one out because I like the phrase “minimize retention.” I can recommend a couple of people for that. I assume it’s a language problem in this case — that the author meant to say “maximize retention” or “minimize turnover” — but it might be a kick to have a job where your actual charter is to minimize retention. You would not be an easy person to work for. You would take all… Read more →

Manager

I’ve noticed a new trend in spam is to put the word “Manager” in front of the sender’s name, e.g., Manager Joe Schmuck instead of just plain Joe Schmuck. Are people really this stupid? Does anyone think to themselves, “I don’t know any Joe Schmuck, but if he’s come up through the ranks to the level of Manager, then I think I owe it to myself to see what he has to say”? Read more →

Generalists Are Better Than Specialists

People ask me what is my “specialty” in software development. My specialty, if I have one, is in not having a specialty. I feel like I can contribute on any task. That answer throws people off. They repeat the question, explaining that everyone is best at something. Managers especially like the idea of specialists because it simplifies the assignment of work: UI tasks go to the UI guys (or gals), SQL tasks go to the SQL guys, middle-tier tasks go to the middle-tier guys, and so on. Before launching my illustrious career in software development, I worked on a union construction site. Everyone’s job was defined in excruciating detail — what each union member could and couldn’t do. For example, if we needed to move a pallet from here to there, we had to find a teamster to drive the forklift. There were a few exceptions to that rule, depending… Read more →

How to Lose Your Job : A Fictional Memoir (Part I)

Because of the huge productivity differences between good programmers and bad programmers — 10x? 28x? More? — my biggest leverage point as a development manager is my ability to hire people. At my last job, we had an HR Director named Lucy. In every one of our annual Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Lucy’s group had the lowest scores in the entire organization. Nobody liked or respected her. She was, however, close with the CEO, which made that irrelevant. Lucy’s friend Kathy Slauson runs the Slauson and Slauson recruiting agency, so that’s where we got our programming candidates, who were mostly terrible. The Slauson agency doesn’t specialize in IT candidates, although they do have a “technical recruiter,” who unfortunately knows nothing about technology. They don’t bring candidates in for in-person interviews. They take whatever candidates give them in the form of a résumé and they pass the résumés along to clients like… Read more →

It’s a Seller’s Job Market in IT Right Now, Especially for Agile

I recently concluded a 3-month job search. As part of my networking, I met a number of unemployed people in other fields who were having trouble not only getting jobs, but even getting interviews. I talked to a lot of people and averaged about an interview a day, including phone interviews, mostly for development manager jobs. For every development manager job, there are multiple development jobs, so if you’re a developer, your situation is even better than mine was. I live in Southern California, but the demand is not just local. I had multiple contacts from companies outside the SoCal area that can’t find qualified candidates. I’ve been working again for over two months, I no longer have an active résumé on job boards, and I still get emails and calls every day from recruiters all over the country. Agile and Scrum are in demand The situation with Agile and… Read more →

Stephen Covey, 1932-2012

Stephen Covey, the author of the best-selling book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” died early Monday morning at 79 years old, according to The Associated Press. — TODAY.com Here are the seven habits: Be Proactive Begin with the End in Mind Put First Things First Think Win/Win Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood Synergize Sharpen the Saw One way to assess the value of advice is to ask, “Would anyone advise the opposite?” If the answer is no, then all you have are platitudes and truisms. Let’s try it: Let Life Wash Over You Like a Big Wave Go Off Half-Cocked Proceed in a Frivolous, Undirected Manner … You get the idea. By selling more than 25 million copies of this book, and becoming known as one of the leading business thinkers of his time, Covey revealed the vacuousness of the modern mind, although I don’t… Read more →

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