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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It's Not Over, Till It's Over
The word "over" can mean a lot of positive things. "Over the rainbow" is where you find your pot of gold. "Turn over a new leaf" means you're changing your ways or stopping a bad habit. And "head over heels" describes falling in love. Yet, the word "under" usually means something negative. "Getting under...
28 May 2015
Clean Up Your Campsite!
I always feel like a responsible adult and global citizen when I go camping or hiking and follow the rule on "leaving no trace". So why do we not do the same thing as engineers? As a camper, I spend time setting up my tent and sleeping bags, organize my picnic table and fire pit area, and enjoy using...
27 Apr 2015
Sprint to the Finish!
A sprint team that starts together, ends together. That seems like a fairly simple principle to follow. Yet for teams that are transitioning from a waterfall methodology to an agile one, following this in a practical sense is much more difficult. These teams are used to a milestone based approach to...
23 Mar 2015
DevOps, The Art of Walking in Someone Else's Shoes
All engineering teams are set up differently. In the Microsoft IT department, we have a set of Software Engineers that work on designing, implementing, and testing the software solutions needed to run the company. We help deploy our builds, but most of the work of getting our new bits out to production...
26 Feb 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
What's Your New Currency?
There's a change spreading across the software engineering landscape. What you thought you knew about testing and shipping software is changing and it's time we all get on board. Some of us older engineers have learned how to ship software in a traditional way similar to the Waterfall methodology . But...
19 Sep 2014
Imperfection is the Way to Agility!
The term "perfectionist" is one that most people are familiar with. Either because we are one or we know someone who is one. Many times, being a perfectionist adds a ton of value to your work, your team, etc. As one, you are driven to do the right things to a level of detail most won't go to. You may...
2 Mar 2014
Don't Show Me Your Ugly Duck Feet!
Picture this, it's a nice warm summer day and you are relaxing next to a lake. There is no breeze in the air so the surface of the water is very still and you see a duck. It floats by, calm and quiet, with just a small V-shaped ripple in the water behind it. You admire its graceful nature. Doesn't it...
5 Oct 2013
Experienced to the Level of Obsolete
Some days I just amaze myself. I can be tired, even exhausted, and not very focused on work. Still I can go into a work meeting, make a few comments and add a ton of value. And I can do this again and again and again until I really don't need to pay much attention because I am adding value just by the...
13 May 2013
Today I was recognized on another website that focuses specifically on Engineering Management. I'm happy to be listed as one of the top 25 Engineering Management blogs of 2012. Check it out here: www.engineering-management.net/top-engineering-management-blogs-2012 . I really enjoy writing my blog entries...
17 Jan 2013
Fixing What's Not Broken
Many engineering teams look at change as a bad thing, something that will disrupt their work. And granted, changing for the wrong reasons, or making changes for the right reasons but too many of them too quickly, can be disruptive and affect productivity. But you should also be careful about being too...
14 Jan 2013
How Important is the "How"?
Do you know the best way to succeed in your career? To stand out in the crowd? To prove your capabilities? Well sure, that’s by showing results, a ton of results! You work long hours and stay focused on getting your deliverables done. Right? Well, have you considered the possibility that showing...
23 Sep 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
The Observer of Perception
Sometimes as a manager, I not only want to coach people on how to get things done at work, I'd love to be able to help them change the way they think. Early in my career, an engineering coworker used to say that it's all about "behavior modification" but I truly never understood what he meant at the...
9 Dec 2011
17 on 17
On October 17th, I celebrate my 17th anniversary at Microsoft. If someone told me on my first day at work that I would be here for 17 years, I wouldn't have believed them. Besides marriage and family, there's not a lot else that has consistently been in my life for that long. I have new hobbies, live...
16 Oct 2011
Your boss sucks, so what should you do?
I was recently asked about the ramifications of giving feedback about your boss. See, at Microsoft, we've become much more serious about gathering feedback and now make peer feedback part of the review process. And we continue to gather manager feedback as always. But giving feedback can be tricky and...
17 Sep 2011
What I Like About Blogging and Much More
Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed about what I like about Microsoft (and specifically Microsoft IT), what I look for in testers that I hire, and why I write my blog. I personally like to understand why others decide to blog and if their intentions for blogging are being met. If you are...
23 Jun 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
Are you up for the challenge?
If you read my blog, learn something new from it, or think in the same way as I do, why not see how my thinking gets put into action by becoming a member of my team. I am hiring SDETs (developers with a focus on QA) and this is an opportunity you don't want to miss. Are you up for the challenge? Just...
28 Apr 2011
Everyone Wants To Test
You are new to testing. You are sitting in front of your computer staring at the software code you need to test. What do you do? Let's look at testing from a very basic level and maybe this will help you make progress. If you don't "get it" at this level, you should consider spending more time training...
10 Nov 2010
Recruiting - it's not just an open job position, it's an adventure!
As a manager, hiring good people is a necessary skill to build a highly-functional team and continue to be seen as a credible manager. Recruiting can be difficult depending on the time of year or the position you are trying to fill. As the hiring manager, you own the whole recruiting process and final...
26 Jul 2010
Cooking with Windows
Since Windows7 released today, I think it is a good time to reflect back on my experience in the Windows Client team and working on the different versions of Windows. Vista and Windows7 were done much differently. When Vista shipped and we were making big changes to how we were going to manage the next...
22 Oct 2009
15 Years Ago Today
15 years ago today was my first day at Microsoft. In the last 15 years, a lot has changed. Here is the way things were 15 years ago: There was no IE. There was no Outlook. There was no concept of mobile or digital media. There was no Office, just separate apps like Word, Excel, Powerpoint. There...
17 Oct 2009
Should BVTs pass 100%?
This is the gray part of testing. Should the goal be that BVTs pass 100%? On every build, all the time? The right answer is YES. But is that really the right answer for all cases. Well, of course not. I do believe it is the right answer for most cases. BVTs (build verification tests) are tests that are...
20 Aug 2009
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