Just another blog…

Steve

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Year-end reviews think back on the year, while this is important it’s also a good opportunity to be forward thinking for next year. Whether it’s for us or others, preparing for next year while reflecting on this one can prove valuable. The goal-setting period usually creeps up on us and, before we know it, we’re throwing in goals without much thought to finally prevent the annoying reminders appearing!

Jotting down a few thoughts now should be a quick exercise. While the year-end discussions are fresh in your mind, note down anything that could help for the future. Ask questions about yourself and your team to help stimulate this time…

  • For each person in the team, what’s top of the list for their growth? Is it an improvement or a new skill?
  • What will your job look like in 1 year? What do you need to plan for? Same for your… Continue reading
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Mentoring can be wide-ranging from offering guidance to advice and support. Approaches can vary, from the very informal to a fully documented structured program. Different approaches have their merits, the correct one will depend on the goal of the mentorship and the people involved. It could be said that any approach is better than none, but that’s not true if a particular style of mentorship harms the mentor-mentee relationship.

Before starting any form of mentorship there needs to be a clear understanding of the reasons for doing it. Only once these are understood can a program be put together. Good mentorship needs to careful thought as no one program will suit everyone. It sounds a lot of effort, that’s because it is! Without the effort, the true value of any guidance may be missed. But there is so much to gain, this is one reason why I believe that mentoring… Continue reading

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I recently watched the movie Sully starring Tom Hanks. Most people will remember the actual event on January 15th, 2009 that the film is based on but I didn’t know anything about the pilot or the investigation that followed. Not only did I really enjoy the movie, I thought it provides some great examples in leadership.

For those who don’t know, or remember, what happened this is about US Airways Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River, New York. Three minutes after takeoff the plane struck a flock of birds which took out both engines. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger decided there wasn’t enough power to reach nearby airports so opted for the river with all 155 passengers and crew surviving. During the investigation the board initially believed the decision to land in the river was a pilot error but as it continued Sully was cleared of any fault.

Was… Continue reading

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When I first became a tech manager it was an exciting time, I knew it would be a challenge and was ready to go! I quickly realized management is not something a two-day training course can really prepare you for but I had one thing going for me, I knew I wanted to be a manager. I made mistakes and was certainly naive in situations but I was learning and gaining experience at every opportunity. Looking back over the years certain areas stand out that I believe are needed to be a successful tech manager.

We’re not short on articles listing the attributes of a good manager/leader, each has similar themes including communication, honesty, transparency, humility, etc. Nothing wrong with these and I believe they are essential to the success of any manager. I want to look at a few others, some are personal traits while others are more practical… Continue reading

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Recruitment is rarely seen as an exciting process but it should be because this is a chance strengthen your team. The new role could be to replace someone or grow the team, either way, there’s an opportunity to bring in some new skills or experience that will benefit the team as a whole. The technical side adds more challenges to the process, but again, it’s a chance to find the right person while, at the same time, giving them a glimpse into the type of company you are. Recruitment is time-consuming so you want to make that time count and get value out of each stage otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s time and potentially a damaged reputation.

The process needs to fail fast, don’t waste time on different stages if the candidate is not suitable. What is most important for you in the person? This could be a… Continue reading

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Imagine being in a team when the manager gets you all together to present a plan for a new project starting in a few weeks. It doesn’t have to be a software project, it could be anything. The plan includes the vision for the project, timescales, and people’s names against areas of work. After a run through of the plan, the manager closes the meeting without an opportunity for input from the team. Maybe it’s not too difficult to imagine! It’s a shame, one, because this is typical of many teams and two, there is a manager who is clearly not part of the team. The effects may not be visible until it’s too late.

This approach has many negative effects on the team that could become serious issues. It creates an atmosphere in the team that does little to promote openness. This can be put down to the attitude… Continue reading

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Shifting your organization or teams towards Continuous Delivery is a challenge, there is a lot to discuss, plan, and implement. There are not only technical hurdles to get over but the mindset of the teams has to evolve with the new practices. With Continuous Delivery covering many different functions we can easily get lost on our path to improvement and lose sight of the next item to target. We need a way to track our CD progress!

I’m not aware many tools available to track maturity of the CD practices. There are maturity models available to help assess your progress and identify areas to work on. However, these are not easy to visualize, in the past, I’ve put printouts of a model around the office highlighting our level for each category, like the one I’ve mentioned before. This works but I would not say it’s ideal.

Some have enlarged… Continue reading