How to manage many things at once without stress

Being in a management position will always require a person to handle multiple things at once. Usually this is a source of stress. Of course there might be some difficulties with focus keeping and persistence, but after eliminating those as possible causes, there will still remain multiple issues that need to be managed. In my early years of being a manager, I compensated that with huge commitment, overtime and constantly being alert. There is an easier way though that I would like to share. Continue reading “How to manage many things at once without stress”

Software Quality – The forgotten ingredient

You’ve probably heard it all about software quality. From the ISO criteria to test driven development, code metrics and reviews to automated system tests. It all sounds nice and appealing, and it is all very suitable to incremental product development with scrum and well defined processes for an established product and with sufficient budget. When you are managing single individual projects though, there is always one ingredient that is missing in those explanations about how to reach good quality: It’s the project plan. Continue reading “Software Quality – The forgotten ingredient”

Engineer Your Organization

As Jim Collins pointed out in “Built To Last”, companies that want to be successful over a long period of time need to engineer their organization so that it consistently produces great results without the dependence on specific individuals. When I observe software developers operating in an organization, I often have the impression that they have a hard time contributing to this engineering process. This is an observation that is incomprehensible to me, because engineering an organization is like engineering a software program. Continue reading “Engineer Your Organization”

Difficult Decisions

When I took over a software department several years ago and was suddenly confronted with the responsibility for a multi-million dollar budget for a really challenging project I was quite overwhelmed with the difficulty of the decisions I had to make. After lots of sleepless nights and feelings of sickness, I did what everybody would do: read 14 books about decision making. And it helped. After absorbing all that knowledge and applying and refining my decision skills over the years, I have found out, that there is a quite easy algorithm in making difficult decisions. It is an 8 step process. Continue reading “Difficult Decisions”

The Relationship Algorithm

When you are leading and not just managing people, you will need to have a good relationship with them. Although this view is controversial, I have found it much easier to motivate people, sell unpopular decisions or coach and train employees, when I had made the effort to build relationships with them. And since it’s all about software developers, there’s an algorithm for that. Continue reading “The Relationship Algorithm”

Management by Provocation

When you are leading people, you will come into a lot of situations where you find the need to influence them not only in their behavior about what they are doing but also on a deeper level regarding their attitudes and work habits. When you read the literature about influencing people, you usually come across the “soft approach” as I would call it. You influence them by encouragement, appreciation, empathy and mild criticism. You are showing the positive aspects of the requested change and try to make it as comfortable as possible.

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Monkey Business: The 4 levels of insight

Whenever you are working on a task that actually somebody else should be working on, but this person somehow managed to transfer the task to you, you have fallen victim to monkey business. It comes in a variety of forms of which the most common is the so called “back-delegation”: You are assigning a task to an employee, but the employee asks you to do some kind of preparation for you, so that he or she can start the task.

Continue reading “Monkey Business: The 4 levels of insight”