Why Your Managers Suck

Let’s face it. As natural as it is to have someone have a rough time when just starting a new job, an astounding percentage of team leaders and middle managers in tech are… underperforming. In an industry where the average tenure in a role is about 2.5 years, you cannot afford a year to learn […]

R&D Has Too Much Power in Startups

You know the scene: some sort of a planning meeting. Either deciding on a roadmap quarterly/yearly roadmap, or sprint planning. Product bring up something. “Hmm… that’s nice but will take at least 3 months.” *poof* “Is that really worth 3 sprints?” *poof* “It doesn’t make sense to do this before we refactor that component, and […]

Stop Thinking of R&D as a Cost Center

For years, in almost every Apple announcement, we get to glimpse the greatness possible with creative and innovative R&D teams. From performance improvements to glass cutting techniques to reduce glare. It is evident that these leaps cannot always be known ahead of time and are only possible thanks to innovative work. If you were to […]

Do Your Managers Really Want Agility?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a leader in a startup to say that software should be more rigid, that cycles are too fast, or that the trend towards agility is terrible. You’re likely thinking, “that’s crazy!” After all, we all know that quick iteration and the ability to change our minds are essential for moving […]

Expectation Setting

An essential leadership skill is being able to set expectations appropriately. You have to be explicit, vocal, and clear. We all know it, we all use the term often enough, but do you actually do it? Setting the right expectations is one of your main levers to ensure people are going in the right direction, […]

Putting Your People in the Spotlight

The current state of the tech industry means that hiring is extremely tough on everyone. Every single client of mine reports hiring as one of their biggest efforts. I believe a game-changer in the long term is to create a brand of technical excellence. Such a brand requires your technical people to be in the […]

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 […]