The Colorful and Gray World of Engineering Management
Embark with me on my journey through the colorful situations & challenges and the (gray) ambiguity of management in the software industry.
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The Colorful and Gray World of Engineering Management
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7 Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid
When you move into a people manager role, it's usually because you are doing a great job as an individual contributor. Being a manager is quite different than being an individual contributor. Instead of only being concerned with getting your own work done, you are now responsible for a whole team of...
19 Jan 2016
6 Ways for Engineers to Connect with Their Customers
Satya Nadella's strategy for Microsoft is "Mobile First Cloud First". That's helped keep teams inside the company stay focused on the right objectives, but it only describes the "what" and not the "how". For the how, we should think "Quality First Customer First". Quality can mean a lot of things and...
8 Nov 2015
Don't Call My Baby Ugly
A big change is happening in the engineering teams across Microsoft IT. We are combining developers and testers into one role we are calling Software Engineer. This new role owns coding and testing equally, and specifically feature design and coding, unit and functional testing, and system level testing...
29 Jan 2015
How Many Days Away Are You?
Here is how a career as people manager typically plays out. You are an engineer and really good at what you do. You are an expert in a technology or a specific domain. Then you become the boss. Your main responsibility isn't to be the expert anymore. It's to manage and grow experts on your team. So as...
24 Apr 2014
Are You Aware That You Lack Awareness?
Recently I took a very interesting training class. As part of that class, we had to sit still in the room for 8 minutes with our eyes closed and become aware of sensations in our body. How hard can that be right? Yep, it was easy. I was hungry, maybe a bit tired, and eventually fairly bored with this...
30 Aug 2013
What are your intentions?
When it comes to determining someone's intentions, it's fairly easy to do after a few drinks and a walk back to your apartment with someone you just met at the bar. But let's not go there. :-) Knowing someone's intentions becomes much more difficult in a work setting. What if the scope of your work got...
22 Aug 2012
Being Social with Me, Myself, and I
It all started with a training class I took. We spent three days learning about better manager skills. On the last day, we had to send a letter to ourselves and put it in a self-addressed envelope. We could write about anything but we were supposed to mostly focus on what skills we wanted to practice...
1 Aug 2012
Up, Up, and Away!
Picture this visual. You are standing in a field on a foggy day and a rope is dropped in front of you from the sky. You can't see where it is coming from but you hear someone ask you if you want to experience the unknown, be challenged more than ever before, move forward in life while being responsible...
16 Jul 2012
It Takes a Village to Blow Your Nose
I heard this saying recently and although I chuckled, I also understood it more than I wish I did. What does this statement mean to you? Does your team behave like this? Maybe this represents the managers of a team, ones who micro-manage. Or a team that needs to ask permission to get things done due...
17 May 2012
Metrics are very important to the success of an engineering team. They help with data-driven decisions. Today let's focus on QA metrics, although having metrics for all the important indicators we use to ship products is essential to any engineering team. For QA metrics, some of the most important ones...
3 Apr 2012
Ignorance is Bliss
Isn't it interesting that for vacations, many people choose to stay in places with little access to computers, the internet, or technology in general? Why do people find that "unplugging" from the information on the internet is actually a vacation? If you haven't spent some time unplugged from the internet...
30 Nov 2011
Present it well and they'll ask for more!
Whether you are a manager or an engineer, everyone needs to have some competency in presenting their ideas. Presentation skills are critical in influencing others, articulating complex ideas, and addressing large groups of people. Even if you spend your days confined to your office writing code or finding...
6 May 2011
Don't Pay the High Tax!
There are typically two types of individuals at work, ones that are independent and ones that are not. Sound fairly simple? Sure, but what exactly are they dependent on? Their managers. There are many good, valid reasons that cause someone to be more dependent at work such as being in a new role, learning...
4 Mar 2011
Play Some Interference
Managers need to play interference in order for their engineers to stay focused and show results . Someone who is good at this will know when to give their team information and when to shelf the information for later or sometimes not at all. But it's not just about filtering information. When issues...
27 Dec 2010
Tribal Knowledge and Engineering Don't Mix
In many engineering teams, having tribal knowledge is normal and accepted. This is when information about a product, process, or technology owned by the team is described verbally from person to person, release after release, without writing it down. Or if it is written down, only a select group of people...
3 Jul 2010
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