The Executive Mindset

Working with executives that used to be very good at their hands-on jobs, I often see they are very skilled in similar things. One such skill, which is priceless when working closer to the implementation, is that they become world-class experts at poking holes in ideas and approaches. Good technical people are excellent at debugging, […]

Different Archetypes of Organizations

While no two companies are the same, when you get a glimpse of the internal workings of enough companies, you eventually start noticing some patterns. One such aspect is the main locomotive of novelty in the company. I tend to consider this as a polychotomy consisting mainly of Product vs. R&D vs. Regulation vs. Biz-dev. […]

The Management Bit

When I used to work at IBM, we used to jokingly state whether a person had their “management bit flipped.” That’s because, in a big behemoth such as IBM, you could have people regularly managing teams, yet not regarded as “real” managers due to some bureaucratic reason. At some point, hopefully, all the needed TPS […]

Feedback Timeliness

Every competent software engineering practitioner knows that short feedback loops are invaluable. As disciples of Kent Beck, we were taught early on that the sooner you realize that you have an issue, or that the API you’re working on is going to be hard to use or maintain, the lower the cost. This concept seems […]

Idempotent Reviews

R&D organizations nowadays have lots of different types of reviews, appraisals, evaluations, and assessments. It starts with the low-level code-reviews (commonly known as “pull requests” more often than not), reaches higher technical aspects such as The Architecture Review (capitalized, of course) and even performance reviews. These reviews are not meant to be treated like reviews […]

The Pat on the Back

Feedback is a subject that comes up often whenever I talk to executives in tech. It is one of the greatest tools you wield in order to drive your team forward. However, it is also something that leaders in tech are notoriously bad at. When it comes to the way that they provide feedback, there […]

Drowning in a Fountain of Knowledge

In most companies, departments, and teams, one can find team members that have been there for ages. You know the type: early employee, highly respected, exceedingly valuable to the organization. They know they are in charge of the preservation of the oral lore regarding why Things Were Done That Way, What Were They Thinking, and […]

You Can’t Sharpen a Saw You Don’t Have

As a consultant, I get to experience onboarding into organizations more times in a year than most people will do in their whole careers. Without fail, this process provides me with added insights into the organizations and their underlying issues. If every new hire is required to wait about a week before getting access to […]

Dead-Letter Meetings

Imagine a “sprint demo,” that meeting that’s intended to review what the team has completed and get acceptance. What the players are doing is rushing through it, asking if any glitch or mismatch is cause enough to reject the task as completed. Now picture a planning session where estimations are done after the fact to […]

The Debate Club

We all have opinions, especially technical people. But just because we are opinionated it doesn’t mean that you should have an opinion about everything. And even if you do have opinions about every single thing, it doesn’t mean that you should be debating it when it doesn’t matter! Now, this is rarely the issue for […]