Moving homes for the holidays

Eric Aside My holidays are extra busy this year due to a home move. I’ll post again in February. Happy Holidays!

0

Making lemonade

 A week or so after I started as the new dev manager for an existing group, the person who was clearly my most knowledgeable and respected lead informed me that he was leaving Microsoft to move back home. A few days earlier, I had seen this person resolve a crisis that no one else expected…

1

Span sanity—ideal feature teams

 As I described in Too much of a good thing?, there are sane ways to appropriately size feature teams for a fixed amount of work and timeframe. You want the fewest number of people in each role that still ensures work flows smoothly and is completed on time. But what about services that continuously deliver…

0

Life and layoffs

Eric Aside All opinions expressed in this column (and every Hard Code column) are my own and do not represent Microsoft in any official or unofficial capacity. Life and layoffs  Layoffs are a very sensitive subject. After all, they can have a dramatic impact on many people’s lives all on the same day. Even so,…

1

Meaningful versus mundane

 We all deal with project management. Leads and program managers (PMs) deal with it constantly. There are meetings, status reports, charts, and dashboards. Project management beats project chaos, but how much of it really matters? What’s meaningful versus mundane? You can tell the new or incompetent leads and PMs from the capable ones by the…

1

Diamond dependencies

 How can you tell if you’re a smart engineer? What separates people who go through the motions from those who really get it? Second-order effects. Anyone taking an introductory software class can learn what changing a line of code does to a function, but engineers who really understand programming will see the cascading impact of…

2

Solving the whole problem

 The time is nearing for annual reward People Discussions. Time for employees and their managers to review Connects from the past year and assess results achieved by individual effort, contributing to other people’s results, and utilizing what others have done. It’s also a time to consider promotions. While any promotion is significant, promotions to the…

1

The evils of inventory

 When I worked for Boeing in the early 1990s, the company was utterly dominant in the commercial airplane industry—record profits, orders, and market share. However, Airbus was a growing concern, and Boeing leadership was keenly aware of how U.S. companies used to dominate the auto industry, but now that dominance was shifting overseas. At the…

1

Some time away

 I have few regrets about my career, but there’s one that stands out. Back in 1998, my 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, and my life was dramatically altered. This happened before there were widely accepted protocols or insurance coverage for autism treatment. It was a very difficult time. I should have taken family medical…

1

More money, more problems

 In Staying small, I exposed how big teams are inherently slow and thus less productive, responsive, and competitive. However, I only scratched the enormous surface of large teams and large budgets. You’d think that having lots of money and lots of people would always be an advantage. You’d think wrong. Throwing money and people at…

2