Category Archives: Management

Set Effective Goals

One of the best ways to direct yourself and your team is through clear goal setting and measuring performance against those goals. Likely when it comes time to set goals your Human Resources department provides training on SMART goals and how to use them. This is clearly an intelligent way to think about goals – but there are a couple more things to consider.

  1. Goals must be your own
  2. Goals should be difficult to achieve

First, it is important that goals set are goals you want to complete. Continue reading

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Filed under Management, Planning, staffing

Innovation Debt

If you work with software engineers you likely hear the phrase “technical debt” regularly.* This is a painful reality for active projects, but just as painful is something you won’t hear discussed: Innovation Debt. We incur this debt from failing to innovate and renovate ourselves and our products. While the pain from this kind of debt isn’t felt as quickly, when the bill comes due it may be more expensive than a firm can bear.

In most companies only the executives think or talk about the need for innovation, while those with Continue reading

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Filed under Management, Revolution, Software Development, Strategy

McDonald’s Doesn’t Make The Best Hamburger…

But they do make a LOT of them. More than 75 per second. No one I know would claim they make the best, but they are everywhere, and what you get is usually pretty consistent no matter which franchise you get it from. In comparison, there are many craft shops where you can pay several times the cost and get a much better burger, but you won’t be able to buy it anywhere near as many places on the planet, nor with as much efficiency and speed.

This isn’t by accident. McDonald’s made a decision, and has pursued it for a long time, supporting that decision with good sales and marketing, training and processes. The result is, McDonald’s are everywhere. In comparison the craft shop likely makes more profit per person and has no intention of being the burger making machine which is a fast food restaurant.

How does this apply to you? We must make strategic decisions. Determine who your customers are, what they need that you can provide and your competitors can’t, or don’t do as well as you. That’s where you can succeed. Usually there is room in the market for both the high volume and the high quality producers, but attempting to be both almost always fails.

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Filed under Management, Strategy

Giving Effective Negative Feedback

Dilbert: published Nov. 30, 1996

As previously discussed, giving feedback is important, and often makes the difference between mediocre teams and individuals, and those which excel. However, you don’t want to do it like Asok in the comic above. With a small amount of practice, it isn’t difficult to greatly improve your stills in this area. Continue reading

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Filed under Management, Self-improvement

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

Coaching Through A Performance Roadblock

One of the greatest challenges a manager can face is helping someone through a performance roadblock. This is especially true of those who have done well at every job they have ever done – for them, the idea of needing to change in order to succeed can be unpalatable, and in the end, holds them back from even higher performance.

The concept has been explained by Continue reading

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Filed under Learning, Management, Self-improvement

Give Good Feedback; Make More Money

If you are a manager of others, one of your most important tasks is to provide feedback to those who report to you, and help them become more effective employees – and usually happier in the end too. Most managers are never given training on this, and wind up either aligning at one of the extremes. Either Continue reading


Filed under Career, Management