Are You an Employee or a Founder?

If you search on the differences between a “founder” and an “employee”, you will see a lot of articles on start-ups, shares of stock, being an entrepreneur, etc.  And if we look at the definition of a founder, it is someone who establishes or creates.  Ironically, the verb form of the word means to fill…

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7 Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid

When you move into a people manager role, it’s usually because you are doing a great job as an individual contributor.  Being a manager is quite different than being an individual contributor. Instead of only being concerned with getting your own work done, you are now responsible for a whole team of people getting their…

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6 Ways for Engineers to Connect with Their Customers

Satya Nadella’s strategy for Microsoft is “Mobile First Cloud First”.  That’s helped keep teams inside the company stay focused on the right objectives, but it only describes the “what” and not the “how”.  For the how, we should think “Quality First Customer First”.  Quality can mean a lot of things and I listed out some…

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It’s Not Over, Till It’s Over

The word “over” can mean a lot of positive things.  “Over the rainbow” is where you find your pot of gold.  “Turn over a new leaf” means you’re changing your ways or stopping a bad habit.  And “head over heels” describes falling in love.  Yet, the word “under” usually means something negative.  “Getting under my…

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DevOps, The Art of Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

All engineering teams are set up differently.  In the Microsoft IT department, we have a set of Software Engineers that work on designing, implementing, and testing the software solutions needed to run the company.  We help deploy our builds, but most of the work of getting our new bits out to production servers and live…

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Don’t Call My Baby Ugly

A big change is happening in the engineering teams across Microsoft IT.  We are combining developers and testers into one role we are calling Software Engineer.  This new role owns coding and testing equally, and specifically feature design and coding, unit and functional testing, and system level testing like integration and performance testing.  Traditionally, we…

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How Many Days Away Are You?

Here is how a career as people manager typically plays out.  You are an engineer and really good at what you do.  You are an expert in a technology or a specific domain.  Then you become the boss.  Your main responsibility isn’t to be the expert anymore.  It’s to manage and grow experts on your…

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Imperfection is the Way to Agility!

The term “perfectionist” is one that most people are familiar with.  Either because we are one or we know someone who is one.  Many times, being a perfectionist adds a ton of value to your work, your team, etc.  As one, you are driven to do the right things to a level of detail most…

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Sometimes At Work, We Act Like Dogs

You can only buy loyalty if you buy a dog; otherwise loyalty has to be earned.  One of the best things an engineering manager can receive from their team members is loyalty.  It’s not something that you should ever ask of them, but they may just give it to you anyway.  When you have people…

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