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A manager has to know when to ignore a precise number. “He has to know that ‘larger’ and ‘smaller,’ ‘earlier’ and ‘later,’ ‘up’ and ‘down’ are quantitative terms and often more accurate, indeed more rigorous, than any specific figures or range of figures.”

via Fat Chance | The Drucker Exchange | Daily Blog by The Drucker Institute.

PierG

Lately I’ve blogged about internal IT projects that do fail and one of the main reasons: lack of Product Owner (Why big projects fail in corporate IT).
Today let me emphasize another major reason: often the team who’s in charge of a project … will leave (I’d say run away as fast as light) as soon as the project is complete. And usually ‘complete’ means ‘when we are exhausted of fighting with the supplier for bugs, change requests and new features’. And all this means that the project is not complete at all. And in any case we know it will evolve.
What is stimulating the project team, in such a context, to work effectively? Work for simplicity? Work to establish a system that will grow up or change in the future weeks / months / years? Are they measured in any way on these goals? Or are they measured on ‘close this fuxxing project quickly that we have already spent all the money they gave us’?
PierG

The title of this posts is probably meaningless to you (but if you know what it is, just let me know using the comments 🙂 ) but reminds me of a good time.

Yes sometimes good times come, not many usually, but they come.

I think our culture is too focused on learning through mistakes, looking at problems or failures. There is a lot of hype around the fail early paradigm. I’m not against it and I think we must start getting more from our success stories and moments.

So (1) celebrate! Yes Sir, when you do something good, you are successfully do celebrate. It’s not a sin. It’s good for our self, for our self estime, for our colleagues, for our family too. Smile. Be happy!

(2) learn. What went well? What can you do differently? But above all what was the key success factor of this success? Our brain stick to these emotions and you don’t need to be beaten to learn. Forget it. Learn from success!

(3) after a successfully project or task or … use this positive power, this power moment, to study something new. Maximize this learning moment studying something new: add a new arrow to your weapons.

PierG

When i was young i used to help my youngest brother to study math. He was around 6.

PierG: “ok bro, we have read this exercise: explain me what you have understood”

Brother :”oh yes .. yes … I have to use the ‘+‘ ”

PierG: “may be but please, explain me what you have understood and what you think about what should be done”

Brother: “oh no no no … I have to use the ‘‘ ”

PierG: “I don’t care now about the operation, why don’t you tell me what you have read, what you are thinking on how to solve this exercise”

Brother: “ok ok ok I’ve understodd … I have to use the ‘x‘ ”

So procedures are extremely important but when you study math you can learn which formula (procedure) to apply when, or you can understand math: while there is value in procedures, I value ‘understanding the principles’ more.

PierG

As I wrote in my post Insulate Yourself  I want to explain a little bit more some of the items in the Invent More post, quoting Seth Godin.

Today we talk about feedback. Yes feedback.

Someone once told me

“communication is what the listener does”

meaning that when you communicate, it’s not THEM that are not able to understand you. Sorry: it’s you that are not able to communicate properly in that context with that person. Or at least the only thing that you can do to have a better communication is changing how YOU communicate and not the brain of the receiver 🙂

The same concept can be applied to what you do, your task, your activity.

The two senteces that I’ve selceted from Seth’s post are:

Ship & Fail often

Today we talk about feedback. Yes feedback .. the only stuff that’s able to tell you if  what you do, think, act is … what you do, think, act. Because I’ve to tell you that the real reality is what others (+ you) see on your behaviors, is what they do with what you ship, is what they get.

Shipping and looking at the result (usually failures) is the only way you can get feedback. This is useful with yourself because you can see and feel progress (so stimulating feedback for you). This is useful for your ‘job’ because you can learn from what you have done (feedback = learning).

The “often” is also very important: failing often means you ship often. Ship often  means that you ship continuously a small set of stuff.  Small set = possibility to continuously check your path … as you do with the steering wheel while driving: continuous small correction (failures) to get a great final result 🙂 And small set = small possibility of making big mistakes.

I’d love to get your feedback about this topic!

PierG

p.s. This is true for your personal day-by-day activities … we are not (only) talking about software or work 🙂

No way, I have to finish this year of blogging quoting again Seth Godin.

My last quote for this year is The reason productivity improvements don’t work:

Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren’t going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren’t that needed.

You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.

Have a great 2012!

PierG

Kent Beck has just done an interesting experiment: writing a recommendation letter … for himself.

As he writes “I used the above as an exercise to help try to understand the connection between what I would like to do and what others might see as valuable”.

I think it’s a good exercise for everyone and if you want to know how Ken would love to be “recommended”, read his My Ideal Job Description post.

PierG

I got in touch with this question two times in the last days: would you buy the product you make?

One time is at BetterSoftware where Francesco Cirillo (in Anti-IF per manager) said in his talk (talking to sw developers):

would you buy the software you write?

Another time is in Seth’s blog post Put your name on it:

If you can’t sign it, don’t ship it.

What I love most is the last sentence: many people choose to work for a big organization precisely so they can avoid signing much of anything.

Which kind of worker are you?

PierG

It seems there is another wave, in the internet, about better email management. So after my last posts Tips for better email management – reloaded, here is another useful link: 5 Ways To Survive Your Inbox (courtesy of  Lifehacker).

Here are the 5 points:

  1. Create folders
  2. Create rules
  3. Get it done
  4. Create a hierarchy of  response
  5. Tell people – in your emails – how to work better with you

I don’t like rule 1, the others are already explained in previous post, point number 5 is interesting:

Most people have no idea how to use email. They respond to everyone on an email with a bunch of people who were only cc’d and they’ll do things like send back an email that says, “ok,” as if that adds any value to the chain of communication. You can set the ground rules by putting some insights into your signature file. I’ve seen people with signature files that not only have their contact information, but say things like, “please only respond back to me, the other people who are listed on this email are just there to be kept in the loop,” or, “there’s no need to respond to back me, I just wanted you to see this so that you are kept in the loop.” A little clarity on how you like to interact via email will help keep your inbox clutter down to a dull roar and it will also teach other people new ways that they can use their email with more efficacy

Have a look at the post and let me know what you think.

PierG

Thanks to Antonio and his blog post (in italian) “Set your own drop box quota“, I’ve found a very interesting list of things that according to Drobpox managers should attract future employees.

You know what’s Dropbox, don’t you? 🙂 If not let me tell you that it’s a cult product  in these days and, as often happens for new companies of this kind, a cool place to work so, check the list:

  • Set your own Dropbox storage quota
  • Free lunches, snacks, coffee, and dinner if you’re up late
  • Competitive salaries
  • Build or buy your dream computer
  • Downtown SF office
  • Really flexible hours
  • Fifteen days of Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Paid holidays
  • 401(k)
  • Several health insurance options
  • Vision, dental, and life insurance too
  • Musical culture: Complete music studio equipped with drums, P.A., amplifiers, etc…
  • Whiskey Fridays
  • Gaming! Starcraft 2, Rock Band, DDR (yep, a real machine) and Laser Tag in the office

As Antonio point out (if my interpretation is correct), it seems an impossible list for an Italian (European?) company!!

I’m really interested in knowing what you think about this list and I have 3 specific question:

  1. what’s really motivating you in this list (top 3)
  2. what would motivate you but it’s NOT in the list
  3. what’s is feasible, of this list, in your current company (if any 🙂 )

Come on, don’t be shy 🙂

PierG

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