Entries Tagged 'Management' ↓

In praise of deadlines

A pressing deadline is a powerful thing.  Without a deadline, ideas can drown each other competing for supremacy in a sea of data.  People use and abuse their own value functions to find fault with any possible approach.  But faced with a deadline, thinkers break out of analysis paralysis and become doers.  Of course, an unrealistic deadline just causes panic and sloppy work as people scramble to meet impossible goals and push themselves deep into technical debt.
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Brothers (and sisters) in arms

A couple weeks back, I got quite a surprise when I was informed of a reorganization within my division which was moving me, and my team, out from the senior manager we had reported to and under a new one.  You read my post last week about Ionix — it’s worth noting that my team had quite a few more questions about this move than they did about the launch of the Ionix brand.  This isn’t to say that Ionix is not a big deal, it’s just that people tend to focus on their immediate surroundings.

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Quarterly Self-Appraisal

Last time I wrote about the self-appraisal process, I was giving out last-minute tips.  At the time I said that there were ways to invest year-round to make the process less painful.  As Q1 comes to a close and we start Q2, I figured it was about time to elaborate on that, and perhaps take a bit of my own advice.

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Same problems, different worlds

I spent some time chatting with extended family members this weekend, after attending a funeral.  As tends to happen, the subject of work came up, and we got to talking about difficult times at our workplaces.  I’m changing some details to protect some identities, but I thought the stories were interesting enough to share.  Though we all find ourselves in different worlds, the major issues we face are very similar.  One family member told me that in over 20 years of working, this was the only time he had truly hated going in to work.  That’s quite a statement.  What sort of environment could cause that?

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Sticking together, revisited

In the past, I’ve written about how we’re all in this together.  As I read the news these days, I think it’s appropriate to revisit the topic.

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Oversharing with your team?

I don’t often post about the day-to-day details of my job.  Whether it’s just boring or actually confidential, I don’t often get into specifics.  But today I was faced with an interesting and practical question.

My manager forwarded me some excerpts from Customer Satisfaction Surveys done during December of 2008. These were from ControlCenter customers who had service requests completed during the month and were asked some questions and given the chance to comment. Obviously these were customers who were already unhappy, having been forced to file service requests in the first place.  There were a number of comments which weren’t very flattering — both about issues in the product, and about our field response to those issues.
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Last-minute Performance Review crutches

I can confidently say that managers are always calm, prepared, and ready for every task.  We’re skilled multitaskers, and never get blindsided by a problem that sucks away all our time and energy and leaves us rushing to complete something vital (like a performance appraisal).

Yeah, right.

This post explains some simple crutches for harried managers working on reviews.  These tips are not a substitute for a year-long investment in the performance of your team, and they aren’t even necessarily best practices, but maybe they’ll help make life a little easier this month.
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Last-minute Self-Appraisal Tips

Walk around the hallways of any corporation around performance review time, and the conversations you hear will all sound alike.  Everybody has a complaint.  Starting with the awkwardness of the self-appraisal, continuing through the difficulty of encapsulating a year of effort into a few paragraphs, and concluding with the often difficult conversations that can take place when a review contains surprises, everybody loves to hate the performance review.

There’s all kinds of advice and tips which can make the review process less painful; the problem is that most of them (rightfully) require year-round investment. What if you want some last-minute tips?  You’re in luck, that’s what I’ve got.  Today, I’ll focus on the self-appraisal.  Followup posts will talk about other aspects of the review.

First off, let’s be clear.  You really should do your self-appraisal.
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Video gaming and the office

I left a bit of information out of my response to Storagezilla’s question about how I ended up in a manager’s office instead of writing code.  After talking to him briefly in email I realized there was no reason not to add that information here.  It’s the story of how playing video games made me a manager.  Or something along those lines….
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How did I end up in an office?

‘Zilla recently asked me a pretty simple question with a rather complicated answer.

I’m reliably informed you were a very talented coder and then opted to go the management route, which as we all know requires the use of a different skill set usually to the detriment of techie ability.

He wants to know why I decided to go into management.

First off, thanks for “very talented!”  I won’t ask who your sources are :).  The short answer is: “I was asked.
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