Managing teams

Articles and posts about managing technology teams

Are You a Scary Boss?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition, Managing teams | 0 comments

I’ll never forget the first time I learned that one of my subordinates was afraid of me. A talented young man, probably 26, had just left my office after explaining to me how happy he was with his current project. My assistant came in and told me that he had spent the 20 minutes prior to our appointment complaining to her about how terrible his project was and how miserable he felt. I was absolutely incredulous. Why would he lie to me? What was the point? I was the one person who could help him, if only he asked for help. I asked my assistant, “Why he would do...

Read More

What do we owe our bosses?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Jobs & employment, Managing teams | 0 comments

Workplace Obligations (This article originally appeared in Computerworld USA and Computerworld Australia.) Wouldn’t it be nice if every boss came with a standard API? It would be so easy to look at the interface specifications and know exactly what he expected, in what format he expected it, when you should deliver it, what predictable events would result from your input and how you should handle error conditions. All the politics would go away. Those pesky emotions would become a nonissue. Success would become deterministic. Sadly, it will never be so simple. Every boss-subordinate...

Read More

Managing Magic

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Managing teams | 0 comments

I give a fair number of speeches for conferences and private IT department meetings, and there’s almost always a chance for questions and answers during the formal presentation. Afterward, I hang around and frequently get different questions, the ones that no one wants to ask in front of a big group. Among the most common are those about the mechanics of how I write and prepare for speeches. “Where do you get your column ideas?” “When do you write?” “What time of day?” “Where?” “Do you use paper or a word processor?” “Do...

Read More

What Kind of Manager Are You, Anyway?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Managing teams | 0 comments

It’s often said that there are two types of managers: those who manage things and those who manage people. And a great divide of misunderstanding lies between them, rarely to be crossed or reconciled. The managers of things are those who see the world through the lens of stuff. They focus their attention on production, processes, projects, materials, milestones, methods, deliverables and details. They share an orientation with engineers who tend to focus on the what and how of life more than on the who. On the other hand, the managers of people see things though the lens of...

Read More