That Team Is Struggling – Great!

Ok, you are thinking that I’m crazy.  If the team is struggling, why would you want to be on it?  Or lead it?  Do you really want to set yourself up to deal with all the problems that need fixed?  And what if they aren’t fixable?  Doesn’t a well-established, smooth-functioning team sound like one where…

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The Observer of Perception

Sometimes as a manager, I not only want to coach people on how to get things done at work, I’d love to be able to help them change the way they think.  Early in my career, an engineering coworker used to say that it’s all about “behavior modification” but I truly never understood what he…

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Ignorance is Bliss

Isn’t it interesting that for vacations, many people choose to stay in places with little access to computers, the internet, or technology in general?  Why do people find that “unplugging” from the information on the internet is actually a vacation?  If you haven’t spent some time unplugged from the internet, TV, phone, etc. you should…

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What are Testers Thankful For?

When I think about all the issues my QA team has to deal with to ship projects, I wonder as we get closer to Thanksgiving what they are thankful for.  What makes their jobs easier or fun?  Two things come to mind. Testers are thankful when their developers produce quality builds.  Getting a build that…

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17 on 17

On October 17th, I celebrate my 17th anniversary at Microsoft.  If someone told me on my first day at work that I would be here for 17 years, I wouldn’t have believed them.  Besides marriage and family, there’s not a lot else that has consistently been in my life for that long.  I have new…

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Over-functioning is Not Job Security

You would think that under-functioning teams are bad, functioning teams are just right, and over-functioning teams are perfect.  But in reality, team members who over-function can cause the team dynamic to change in a way that may not be the desired outcome.  At Microsoft, we hire people who are driven for results and it’s a…

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Your boss sucks, so what should you do?

I was recently asked about the ramifications of giving feedback about your boss.  See, at Microsoft, we’ve become much more serious about gathering feedback and now make peer feedback part of the review process.  And we continue to gather manager feedback as always.  But giving feedback can be tricky and some of the concerns people…

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Boogie Boarding on the Job

I’ve been absent from writing my blog during this summer due to the heat wave in Seattle.  Ok, just kidding.  Seattle is about the only place in the US that didn’t have a heat wave!  Luckily I wasn’t around for most of this cold summer.  Microsoft rewarded me with a sabbatical which is 8 weeks…

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What I Like About Blogging and Much More

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed about what I like about Microsoft (and specifically Microsoft IT), what I look for in testers that I hire, and why I write my blog.  I personally like to understand why others decide to blog and if their intentions for blogging are being met.  If you are…

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The Tactics of Making a Strategy

As a team leader or manager, people will look to you to describe the direction the team is heading in the future – the strategy.  Here is a surprising definition from www.dictionary.com that makes me wonder how similar managing a group of engineers is to leading a war.  Some days, I can definitely see the…

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