Beyond ControlCenter

EMCWorld 2011 is right around the corner!

I don’t know yet if I’ll be there, but I can tell you what will be there — a handful of sessions describing the new storage resource product that’s been occupying all my time of late.  There’s even a hands-on!

I can’t yet tell you the product’s marketing name (pesky lawyers), but we’ve been calling it “SRM 7” internally for a while now, and we’re wrapping up the first round of beta sites and pushing full speed ahead for a coming general availability release.

If you’re a ControlCenter customer and want to see what’s coming soon, make sure to sign up for any/all of the “Beyond ControlCenter” sessions listed in the EMC World course catalog.  Tell them Dave sent you :).

Iterative development of performance reviews

If you’re in software, you’ve heard of iterative development.  Simplified, its intent is to rapidly create a working piece of software and then continue on small cycles of improvement on that software, until the stakeholders want it released.

This isn’t a post about software development, though.  Instead, I’m sharing how iterative development has changed my approach to performance reviews.

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Fifteen years!

My first day at work, according to the EMC HR department, was January 7, 1996.  Fifteen years ago today.  I think the date is wrong, since that day is a Sunday.  But the week is certainly right.

I remember the day very well … because it was my first day of “real work,” and it was a snow day.

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Why managers matter

I am a technical manager, and work with many others.  We’re people who “grew up” in the industry with our arms elbow-deep in source code.  It’s not unusual for me to hear my peers complaining about “overhead” work and wishing they could do “real” work.  But what they might wish for as work isn’t necessarily what their teams need them to be doing.

So what is it that we as managers do that matters?

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Management as a practice

Working at EMC, I often run into highly technical people in management roles.  Almost every manager I interact with could tell a story of transition from technical contributor to manager.  It’s not unusual to have senior managers directly contributing to a product, and recently my senior director recently called in an individual contributor to discuss coding practices after he stumbled onto some things while reviewing the code quality dashboard.

With this in mind, I am not surprised when I walk into a manager’s office (or cube) and see a bookshelf with books about programming languages, software design, code quality, and so-on.  I think it’s healthy, actually.  In the role we’re expected to play, it’s important we be able to speak the same language, be able to detect poor practice from early signs, and so on.

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Becoming a manager – fear of politics

Last time I wrote on this subject, I covered only a third of the equation of the decision to become a manager.  There were still some open questions, including figuring out what skills and talents I could bring to the management table, and how to deal with the vague “ugly stuff” that most technical contributors seem to fear hides behind the manager’s job title.

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Casual Friday: Presenting Perils

While waiting for a meeting to start yesterday, a colleague and I swapped stories of the perils of presenting.  Whether it’s a livemeeting or a projector hooked to your desktop, there’s some loss of privacy that can come with using your PC to host a meeting.  For example ….

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Why did you become a manager?

I hear it all the time, from technical contributors: “I’d never want to be a manager.“  The reasons are usually straightforward.  Some fear losing their technical acumen, others dislike office politics, and many just enjoy feeling in control of their own contribution and don’t want to worry about other people.

Sometimes I’m asked why I made the decision to enter management.  I realized today that even though I started this blog to talk about that question, I haven’t spent much time really digging into it.

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Reviewing resumes

I’m in the interesting and enviable position of having an open (entry-ish level) position on my team, here at EMC.  Over the years I’ve brought a few people into the company, either directly or indirectly.  But it’s been a while, and it’s interesting to see the state of the hiring process … and the people trying to get hired.

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Where has Dave been?

If, like me, you skirt around the edges of the fitness blogging scene, you’re probably familiar with the person who starts a fitness blog, writes about their incredible gains (in fitness) and losses (in weight) and then suddenly the blog dries up for six months or a year.  You know what happened — the person hit a rough patch with their fitness and didn’t want to write about it.

So when someone who writes about today’s workplace, about corporate culture, about working at EMC, slowly dries up in terms of post count, it might be a good default assumption that they’ve hit a rough patch at work and don’t want to write about it.

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