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Priorities for a new development manager: The Four Keys

Earlier this week Pat asked, “What are the priorities for a new development manager.” I side-stepped the question but will return to it over the next few days. (You can read my first answer here.) First, let me define how I’ll be using the word “new.” I will not be talking about someone who’s taking the…

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Chewy Motivation

In 1996 I started programming Character Mode UI ERP applications at my last job. We referred to them has “ChUI” apps (pronounced “Chewy”). This was in the 90s when desktop apps were all the rage, and the web wasn’t really a thing yet. By the time I finished working on that platform in 2002, the…

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A new question for your 1:1’s

In your next 1:1 meeting, try asking this question: “What past project or success would you love to build on if given a chance?” This is a great way to understand what excites your developers. It also helps you know them better and build a more motivating environment. You might not be able to give…

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Is teamwork like pulling teeth?

Next month I’m holding a 2.5-day live workshop in Medford, Oregon which I think you’d find useful. It teaches you how to work better with your team. And it teaches your team how to work better together. Wait, I know – “improving teamwork” sounds about as much fun as “improving root canals.” Most of us…

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Currying decisions

In functional programmers, currying is the technique of translating a function which takes multiple arguments into a sequence of functions, each with a single argument. For example, a function like: go_to_lunch?(time,place,person) might be curried to the form: go_to_lunch?(time)(place)(person) In this case, go_to_lunch take a single argument (time) and returns an anonymous function which takes a…

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Fame not included (or necessary)

Today I was asked a question I’ve never heard before: “When it comes to engineering management, who do you look up to?” I stammered a bit, naming off authors of books I’d read — the usual suspects: Michael Lopp, Camille Fournier, Ron Lichty, Johanna Rothman, etc. Afterward, I realized I hadn’t been truthful. I didn’t…

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When you do nothing it leads to the best somethings

Today you will hear someone pose a problem. Immediately, a solution may jump to mind. It might be a good solution, too. A solution you know will work – tried and true. Maybe even the best solution. Today, when the moment comes, do nothing. Be silent and still. If you’re able, raise an eyebrow: “What…

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