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Quantum Onboarding

“Wholeness is what is real, and that fragmentation is the response of this whole to man’s action, guided by illusory perception, which is shaped by fragmentary thought.” – David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicit order Renowned Quantum Physicist David Bohm wrote of the interconnectedness of everything.  That fragments are not part of the natural order,…

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”What is everyone working on?”

When you’ve got a team of smart people, it’s easy for everyone to go in different directions. That’s the power of brilliant engineers, but it’s also a challenge for tech leaders. Combine smart people with remote locations, spread across many timezones, collaborating through different systems, and you’ve got a recipe for manager stress. That’s why…

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Systems always seek their real goal

The system will seek its goal above all else, even if it’s not actually what you want. Even if it’s not what anyone wants. If you want to improve education, and set a goal of 20% more dollars spent per student, then the education system will spend 20% more dollars per student. But that does…

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Stepping in without Stepping in it

When things go wrong, you might have to step in. I did this most often when failure was going to be a BigProblem. And things often improved. The project got back on track, the client didn’t fire us, or we hit the big deadline. As you might expect, this made me feel pretty darn good.…

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The surprising effect of traffic and bathrooms

“Sorry I’m late, traffic was nuts,” Sean said as he ducked into your team meeting. Irritated, you look up and nod, continuing with the department update. “Sheesh, he so unmotivated, he doesn’t even care.” you think. Finishing the meeting, you stop for a bio-break on the way to your bosses all-hands meeting, and find it’s…

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”I really like what you did there.”

SPONSOR – Today’s the last day for the lowest price on the O’Reilly Velocity Conference and Software Architecture Conference this November in Berlin. Use code MB20 to save an additional 20%. ================= When I was eighteen, my Dad and I drove five hours from Medford to Portland, to see his brother, who was dying of…

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Our newest sponsor comes bearing gifts

I’m pleased to introduce our newest sponsor, O’Reilly Media. You know them for publishing the very highest quality technical books, with recent favorites like The Managers Path. (They are also the publisher of my upcoming book, Leading Programmers, so I might be a wee biased.) They’re the original publisher for, and by, software developers. They…

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Status update and reading list – July 2019

I’m reading a few books right now, so I thought I’d share in case you were looking for new ideas. The Fearless Organization – Amy Edmondson – A primer on Psychological Safety, why you need it, and how to get it. The Fifth Discipline and the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook– Peter Senge. How to create an…

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Games Socrates played

My boss, Rob, always to asked “Socratic” questions when I came to him with a question. And, frankly, I hated it. I dreaded going into Rob’s office. One day, after spending 20 minutes with him trying to answer his Socratic questions, I burst out, “Look, just tell me the answer! I know you know, so…

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I guess Ananya’s situation looked familiar.

Last Saturday I sent out a situation and asked if it looked familiar, and what you might do about it. I got quite a few responses, and summarize them here. Original post: Does this sound familiar? Here’s what you wrote: Edith write: After Ananya asks you “which class?”, you should have asked what she thought.…

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Does this sound familiar?

I’m using this example in the book I’m writing, and want to see if this sounds familiar to you. Ananya: “Marcus, which class should contain the method to check if we have new orders? I need to add it for the feature I’m working on today.” Marcus: The OrderUpdate class would be good. Ananya: Okay,…

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If only I’d had more time

I was having dinner with some colleagues last night, and toward the end, one of them said to me, “I’ve noticed a theme when you describe your life. You seem to make time to think.” “That true, but it wasn’t always so,” I replied. “Most of my working life I only made time to do,…

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”Grown up” issues

I believe 99% of issues which get people fired were “no big deal” at one point. But then, the issues “grew up.” Pull the weeds while they’re small, and you’ll need weed killer less often. TL;DR When a manager sees something that concerns them, they may turn a blind eye, hoping the issue will resolve…

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What Jack (probably) thought about being fired

On Wednesday I mentioned that I’d fired Jack out-of-the-blue rather than put him on a PIP. He didn’t pick up on my “performance hints”, so he never really knew there was a problem. Or, at least, he didn’t know how serious the problem was. I didn’t use any formal warning processes (e.g. formal verbal, written…

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Use a PIP, or just fire them?

If you’ve been on my list for a while now, you know I want to help you become a better tech manager. One way I do this is by helping you see situations from new perspectives, often your team’s perspective. Because it’s easy to forget that there are other perspectives. So easy that I committed…

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