Connects with impact

We’re closing in on the end of the fiscal year, which means many Microsoft engineers will be writing Connects. Connects allow you to document your past impact, reflect on what could have gone better, and plan for your future success and personal growth. Connects form the basis for productive career discussions with your manager. Many…


Good engineers

It’s time at Microsoft for midyear career discussions. I’m often asked what makes a good software engineer. I used to think it was writing quality code, as I describe in Nailing the nominals. Good engineers review their software design with peers (that’s right, they think first and consult others), write code and unit tests, ensure…


You don’t need a publicist

If you are a Microsoft engineer, you are receiving your annual rewards around now. You might be wondering why you didn’t get the promotion you sought or why someone else did. If you ask your manager why, she’ll provide insightful feedback and might name several reasons. Among the most common and misunderstood reasons is that…


A manager’s manager

 Are you a new group manager? Many folks become group managers in the late fall. If you’ve never managed managers before, it can be a disorienting experience. You’d think it wouldn’t be that much different than being a lead. Wrong. It’s a dramatic departure. When you’re a lead, your group manager is there to cover…


Self-centered service

 I’m tired of people whining about being unrecognized, unhappy, or unfulfilled. I’m unimpressed. Everything is all about themselves for these bellyaching blowhards, and that’s no coincidence. External recognition, gifts of happiness, and transcendent moments are rare. If you rely on others to provide them for you (because you’re just so deserving), you’ll certainly feel disappointed….


Never been manager

 It’s September, a period of transition for many people, which means some folks will become managers for the first time. I’ve written extensively about being a good manager, starting with “I can manage” from chapter 9 of my book (a chapter dedicated to humane handling of humans). However, before you set off to become a…


The little things

 Little things mean a lot. We all know this, whether it’s about our products, our relationships, or our lives. It’s the little things that make the difference in what we say, what we accomplish, and who we are. You may build a fantastic product with innovative technology and experiences, but if a small aspect is…


Test failures

 For more than a decade, Microsoft (and the whole software industry) has been evolving how it tests software. The goals have been to increase quality, reduce cost, and be more responsive to the market. The areas of focus have been automation, telemetry, changing the role of testers, and reducing the number of testers. So, how’s…


Is it safe?

 Ten years ago, I wrote “I can manage” (in chapter 9), which captures how to be a good manager in four pages. Some recent articles and situations got me reflecting on one of the points: “There is nothing more critical, more essential than ensuring everyone is given an opportunity to work in a safe environment.”…


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,…