Category Archives: Efficiency

Run Effective Meetings

Originally published on Dec. 13, 1993


We’ve all been in meetings which were effective and productive, but I bet the ones you remember best are the ones which were a waste of time. This is truly a shame, as by following a few simple rules, meetings can be useful indeed. It all comes down to how you start the meeting, and exercising some rigor throughout. Continue reading

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Filed under Efficiency, Management, Project Management

How Do You Get Things Done?

Everyone has their own idea of the best way to manage your time, email, calendar free time and all other aspects of your life, and is happy to sell it to you. Whether it is the getting things done, win, zen of outlook or any other current fad, the good ones all have a few basic principles.

  • Discipline. We are all lacking it at times. Having and working a system can help enforce discipline when we need it.
  • Simplicity. If you can’t remember it, it won’t work.
  • Focus on importance. Distractions abound. Avoid them.
  • Uses the right tool for the job.
  • Personalized to you. If it doesn’t fit you and your working style, it won’t work. Continue reading

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Filed under Career, Efficiency, Planning, Self-improvement

Process – Striking The Balance

Process. While it’s a multi-billion dollar business each year in the U.S. alone, to read recent business magazines and blogs you’d think it a dirty word. Clearly, for large companies there are sincere savings to be had from sometimes marginal changes, and small growing companies regularly complain about not having enough. If this is so, what makes it so bad?

It’s not that simple. Too much process is just as bad as too little. It stifles innovation, prevents canaries in the mine from being able to sound the alarm, causes proliferation of non-beneficial overhead, and generally slows production and results. You can have too much of a good thing. In my opinion, processes should be like salt or spice in a meal; enough that you notice and appreciate it, but not so much as to overpower.

It isn’t more or less process we all want, it’s the right process. Keep it simple, get it working. Striving for that sweet spot is what will keep us all talking about process for some time.


Overcomplicating The Problem



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Filed under Efficiency, Strategy

Ask The Right Questions

When you confront a problem, one of the most important things you can do is ensure you are asking the correct questions. Too often we dive in to solving a problem the moment it is presented, but quite frequently, that will not lead to an optimal solution. Sometimes it doesn’t even solve the problem at all! Instead, step back from the problem and ask a few questions.

  • What are you trying to accomplish? (or, what is the desired result?)
  • Why is this important now?
  • Who should be tackling this issue (and how can I/we help them to do so)?

By asking these and similar questions, you can determine if you are attacking the real root cause of a problem, the right problem, or potentially even something you don’t need to worry about at all. This takes only a moment, and can save so much.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

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Filed under Efficiency, Learning, Strategy

“My Team Is Perfect,” Or Why You Need QA

Even a cursory look online you will net lots of opinion and research telling you why software development is so much more predictable and efficient with proper software quality assurance (SQA), yet almost every small software shop decides SQA is one of the roles they can do without. Continue reading


Filed under Efficiency, Project Management, Software Development