Ambiguity Can Be Your Friend

Six months ago, I took on a new role at Microsoft.  I haven’t written a blog entry in a while because of all the work I was doing in my new role.  I spent 10 weeks as an individual contributor before building a new team and it was a really fascinating time for me as…

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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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Stop Hoping for Quality and Just Test It!

As I continue to apply more engineering rigor to the release process in my team, I hear statements referring to engineers being hopeful and hoping things will go well.  Hoping is not the correct way to ship software.  I also hear a lot of statements like “we are confident this will work”.  Confidence, although great…

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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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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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Don’t Show Me Your Ugly Duck Feet!

Picture this, it’s a nice warm summer day and you are relaxing next to a lake.  There is no breeze in the air so the surface of the water is very still and you see a duck.  It floats by, calm and quiet, with just a small V-shaped ripple in the water behind it.  You…

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Experienced to the Level of Obsolete

Some days I just amaze myself.  I can be tired, even exhausted, and not very focused on work.  Still I can go into a work meeting, make a few comments and add a ton of value.  And I can do this again and again and again until I really don’t need to pay much attention…

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The toughest question you can ask, isn’t tough enough

One skill all engineers need to have in order to ship high quality software is the ability to ask hard questions.  No matter if you are a developer, a tester, or a project manager, you need to look at each situation, line of code, architecture/design, or user scenario and determine if you and your project…

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Integrity With a Dose of Confidence Part2

My last blog was about how to act as a person with integrity, how to make sure you are thinking in terms of doing the right things for the right reasons no matter hard difficult that may be to do.  Sometimes the easiest route is not the right route.  As you continue to become a…

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Integrity With a Dose of Confidence

Ok, I’ll say it because I know others have thought it, but I’m not sure anyone has ever admitted it.  Having integrity in your role at work can be tough, very tough!  Especially if you are really ambitious.  First, let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing here.  What I mean by integrity…

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