Maintaining an Outsider Perspective

I was on a United Polaris Business flight for the first time in a year. Everything was pretty great, but when I decided to use that flatbed to get some sleep I couldn’t find how to turn the passenger light off. I tried all the knobs, turning off two other lights but not that one. […]

Limiting Technical Debt

It is normal for a company to have periods of accruing technical debt, and usually necessary. Attempting to operate in a way that never adds any debt means making decisions too slowly, wasting effort in analysis steps, often producing solutions that are more complicated than eventually needed, and even those don’t solve the problem completely. […]

Making It Easy to Supply Feedback

Providing your employees with feedback is a crucial part of being a manager. Without it, people are working in a vacuum, never knowing whether they’re doing good or not. This either leads to people that are overconfident when they shouldn’t be, or people performing well who think they are doing poorly. I know many managers […]

Keeping The Rust At Bay

Perhaps the most common struggle for managers in general, and tech executives specifically, is trying to remain professionally “up to date”. Managers-of-managers rarely come across code in their day-to-day jobs, and that can quickly result in a feeling of disconnect, especially if you used to pride yourself on your technical skills. There are of course […]

The “Just Checking” Manager

It’s very common for newly minted managers to be too cute and unassertive. When needing to check up on an employee who used to be a peer just months ago, they usually go for the non-checking check: “By the way, where are we with the X project?” Or even just a Slack message that might […]

Busy is Easy

Too often managers I work with are sucked into the busy trap. For periods of weeks and months they seem to be hurrying from one thing to the other. From meetings, to tasks, to more meetings. It may feel productive, or feel like that’s what managers should be doing, or simply fun. I know of […]

Tailoring A Hiring Strategy

In today’s market, hiring is harder than ever before. Even businesses that are willing to pay top talent top dollar are having a hard time filling all their positions. If you’re trying to grow your company, you should make sure that your hiring strategy fits your company. The right hiring strategy varies tremendously between businesses. […]

Avoiding the “Big Guns” Stack

We were on a conference call. The client was kickstarting a new project, electing to use an ecosystem less common for them, because of business needs. Right off the bat, the names of the biggest and meanest tools for the job, in that ecosystem, were being called up. Slow your roll. I understand how reaching […]

Avoiding Surprises: Employee Career Management

“All of a sudden he came to me and told me he thinks it’s time for him to move to another team” “She left us to be a manager, but never told me she wanted to be a manager” You’ve probably heard quotes like these, and if you’ve been in management long enough, it’s likely […]

Alone at the Bridge of a Rocketship

I’ve seen many a CTO and VP R&D who have grown their company from the 3-developers-sharing-a-pizza stage up to the 3-digit-head-count state. It is common knowledge that ably managing the former has almost nothing in common with ably managing the latter. Yet, that’s not what I’ve got on my mind today. A more neglected issue […]