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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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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Are You Aware That You Lack Awareness?

Recently I took a very interesting training class.  As part of that class, we had to sit still in the room for 8 minutes with our eyes closed and become aware of sensations in our body.  How hard can that be right?  Yep, it was easy.  I was hungry, maybe a bit tired, and eventually…


What are your intentions?

When it comes to determining someone’s intentions, it’s fairly easy to do after a few drinks and a walk back to your apartment with someone you just met at the bar.  But let’s not go there.  🙂  Knowing someone’s intentions becomes much more difficult in a work setting.  What if the scope of your work…


Being Social with Me, Myself, and I

It all started with a training class I took.  We spent three days learning about better manager skills.  On the last day, we had to send a letter to ourselves and put it in a self-addressed envelope.  We could write about anything but we were supposed to mostly focus on what skills we wanted to…

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Up, Up, and Away!

Picture this visual.  You are standing in a field on a foggy day and a rope is dropped in front of you from the sky.  You can’t see where it is coming from but you hear someone ask you if you want to experience the unknown, be challenged more than ever before, move forward in…

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It Takes a Village to Blow Your Nose

I heard this saying recently and although I chuckled, I also understood it more than I wish I did.  What does this statement mean to you?  Does your team behave like this?  Maybe this represents the managers of a team, ones who micro-manage.  Or a team that needs to ask permission to get things done…