Get my email lessons on how you can build a tech team you can depend on.

daily-writing

5 questions to untangle sticky problems

My work world is filled with fascinating situations – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One client recently spent four weeks, and thirteen people, responding to their CEO’s request to “add this small feature today.” The teams work well until they are blindsided and rushed – and then the poo hits the fan.…

Read More

Find your first-team

For the past few years, I’ve been doing a secret experiment. I’ve been getting groups of tech leaders together to talk about their work. Sometimes it’s part of a workshop, or ad-hoc at a conference, or at a dinner. What I find is, without fail, people give and receive enormous value. Life-changing, confidence building, problem-solving…

Read More

Seven quick rants

PRE-S: I’ve got some free time in my consulting schedule. If you want help thinking through a sticky problem, tackling a change, or finding new options to move forward – I’m your guy. Just hit REPLY and let’s make magic happen. 1) It’s annual employee evaluation time – known in some companies as “the third…

Read More

Three parts to the mission

Last week a lot of you told me you were on board with the ideas about a future where all programmers had a great boss, on a safe team, in a productive environment. This week I’ve been wordsmithing a vision and mission and wanted to share a working draft with you. Vision: All software teams…

Read More

The mission

For the past five years, I’ve been working to help managers improve their work. Yet, there’s one question I continually hear:” Why?”   After all, I’m one guy in rural Klamath Falls, Oregon. A town where the biggest parade is at the Potato Festival. (It’s true, look it up.) Why would I care if you’re…

Read More

Give transparency in small doses

When you’re honest about your struggles, it will connect you with some people. But it will surprise and confuse others. To them, your honesty might be seen as a lack of confidence, lack of skills, or lack of motivation — an admission of failure, or of giving up, or giving in. This is because transparency…

Read More

”How can you get lucky more often?”

PRE-S: Software Leader Seminar returns in Jaunary 2020.  Start the new year by boosting your EQ, leadership, and communication skills. (Plus, you can write it off your 2019 taxes!) A friend of mine who’s Sr. VPEng at a mid-side SaaS company in a competitive market told me a story, and I’ll share it with their…

Read More

Minesweeper and bad hires

Hiring programmers is hard, expensive, and takes forever. You spend countless hours on job descriptions, hiring rubrics, and checking references. You put candidates through the gauntlet: coding tests, whiteboard problems, panel interviews, culture interviews, and so on. If they make it through, then you roll the dice and make them an offer. Despite all your…

Read More

13 questions to get more feedback from your team

“No one can see their own back.” Some of you wanted to know how to get more feedback from your team, so you don’t feel like you’re driving blind. So, I whipped up thirteen questions which will give you more insights into how your team perceives you: “What would you do in my situation?” “How…

Read More

It’s not a sign of weakness, but of strength.

Last week Dan asked, “What advice do you have for addressing the insecurity I feel that my team can’t see the value I’m adding?” You sent in some answers, which I want to share. I also want to share my thoughts. But first, I’ll identify the two meanings of the question: How do I reduce…

Read More

On cubicle and apple farms

I’m putting in a small apple orchard near my house. Not large, just 24 trees. But I’m new to farming, and so it’s got me thinking a lot about conditions for growth and change. In my orchard, I’m noticing many different conditions which I think will impact growth. These include: How much water is available?…

Read More

No naughty or nice with nuts

PRE-S: Early bird pricing for the 4th cohort of Software Leader Seminar ends tomorrow. Apply today to lock in the early-bird price. One of my favorite snacks is a bowl of mixed nuts. It reminds me of software teams. The bowl is a container, holding them all together. All the nuts are in the bowl…

Read More

Improvisational sketch leadership

The phrase “live workshop” contains two concepts. Most of us focus on the “workshop” part – reading the topics and activities to ensure it teaches what we want to learn. This engages our analytical brain which asks “what will I get out of this?” But it’s easy to overlook the importance of the “live” part,…

Read More

Designing problems is harder than it looks…

“Today you’re going to learn lessons about delegation, communication, observation, and team alignment. More importantly, you’ll learn about yourself and the impact you have on those around you. You’ll receive the instructions once you’re in your learning groups.” The small learning groups move to their zoom videoconference rooms, where they receive their instructions. “It is…

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest