Just another blog…

Steve

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Do you enjoy having one-on-ones? If you see them as “getting in the way” then maybe a re-think is needed on getting value out of them. One-on-ones are different from the usual meetings, you can run them how you want; they can be structured or casual conversations, they can happen around a desk or on giant bean bags, they could be short or feel like they take forever! Over time I’ve experienced almost every variety, but this post isn’t about which of these is right or wrong but about how important these meetings are. At one point in my career my manager didn’t have regular one-on-ones with me, in retrospect this wasn’t a good choice for either of us!

Teams only make progress through the work of the people so any issues can impact performance. If these issues are not visible then it can be a mystery where the problem… Continue reading

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I’ve always thought of ‘Positive Thinking’ as some psychobabble that I don’t have time for! I think positive thoughts and smile at people…what more do you want! But, I have to confess, reading Harvard Business Review’s recent post – The Powerful Effect of Noticing Good Things at Work – helped me understand the impact positive memories can have on stress. It also made me think how mangers play a big part in this on those around them. Are we installing positive or negatives memories on our teams?

I’ve described the importance of observing in a manager’s role, this helps building habits of spotting anything different or new around you. Even noticing a tiniest thing could have a positive influence on someone else. Does someone have a new shirt or haircut, did someone in your team go out of there way to help someone else, or did someone pro-actively make… Continue reading

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When I first became a manager I didn’t think too much of it, it was the right career progression for me. I’ve had a variety of managers throughout my career and felt ready to give it a try…“bring it on” I thought! I jumped straight into line management duties on top of other team leading work without thinking much about what the actual role should involve. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact a management role has!

Some days you never get going, inundated with requests (holidays, sick days, doctors, dentists, sick children, no show nannies, lost dogs, dead cats, plumbers, house moves, broken laptops…etc., etc!), it can be relentless at times. But this is all ‘stuff’ a manager needs to handle in an appropriate way to keep everything moving. It can be emotionally draining and usually impacts the work we need to do!

There’s plenty of books… Continue reading

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Reading was never something I enjoyed growing up, I lost interest too easily and never finished any books. In my late teens I started reading horror books, I enjoyed those! At one point I got through all of James Herbert’s and most of Clive Barker’s books. I’m not sure what it was about horror books especially, the suspense I guess and…ok…I enjoyed the gore too!!

When it came to technical books though I found it harder, they are not typically books you can read cover to cover, though I did give it a go! Some technical books are thick enough to take up the whole shelf on their own so a better strategy was to pick sections that interested me to study. The real value was putting it into practice, which is difficult for bedtime reading! But I got through books on Java and design patterns that turned me into… Continue reading

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“Yeah, we’re doing agile. Been doing it for some time now.”

Really?

I know it’s not good to doubt straight away but I’ve developed this skepticism when people say they are doing agile. It has come from speaking with different team members and senior management about their impression of ‘agile’. For sometime now agile has become an overloaded term that many don’t fully understand. I get into a situation when someone says those words I feel like they have to prove it! But proving it, even to ourselves, can help us evaluate if we have lost sight of an original goal. It’s so easy to get immersed in the usual routine that we forget to take a moment to stop and look up.

For the most part, I believe senior management or other stakeholders actually this think agile is being done correctly and this is where the problem lies! They… Continue reading

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You only have to say “big bang release” to me and it causes my blood pressure to rise. Arrrgggghhhhhh!!!! Too many bad memories! I’ve been involved my fair share of painful big bang releases to know that they should be avoided, but we get into a cycle that’s hard to break! Almost as though we become anesthetized to the pain, all passion to improve is drained from us as we’ve accepted that “this is just the way it is”.

We’re in the software business because we enjoy being part of creating something, hopefully something we think is great! This is what we want to concentrate on, the more we firefight with releases the more team moral drops and people become disengaged. Some team members have never been the same since going through a number of these! The agonizing release process has taken its toll, the hunger to work for… Continue reading