I’ve seen this chart before, but completely forgot where it was from. Tried to find it a couple of times in a hurry of a conversation, but couldn’t. Thanks to this SysAdvent blog post, I now have it permanently engraved into the archives of my blog.
xkcd figured out how long can you work on making a routine task more efficient before you’re spending more time than you save. The crossing of how much time you shave off and how often you do the task gets progressively less obvious when move from the top left corner of this char to the bottom right corner.
I enjoyed reading the article “Why Some People Get Promoted (And Others Don’t)“. Unlike many other in this domain, it is simple, direct, and to the point. TLDR version:
- Do great things.
- Tell people.
There are quite a few links to external resources, with research and insightful quotes. Here are a couple of my favorite bits:
‘[S]ent does not mean received’ is a profound thing. Half of your job in this studio is doing your work, the other half of your job is communicating that it’s been done. Because if you do it, and I don’t hear about it, how do I know what’s going on? I’m not trying to control everything, but in an intimate work environment, where we’re really trying to develop something complex, a nod, saying, ‘I got it,’ helps move things along.
And this part, which resonates with my inner blogger:
Asking for help is part of getting better at your job.
3. Work where people can see you.
Gaining visibility might require going outside your office. Maybe you have a side project, or maybe your work culture isn’t a healthy environment to pursue visibility.
Promoting yourself doesn’t have to be on someone else’s terms. Write a book, start a blog, make a side-project, collaborate with new people outside of work, or speak at panels and conferences. Tell people about what you’ve done, what you’re doing, why it’s important, and how you did it. Give talks, teach others, raise your hand for new projects.
I really liked this article – How To Keep Your Best Programmers. It’s not your average three paragraphs and a link, I admit. It’s somewhat of a long read. But it does a good job of explaining why people in general, and good developers in particular choose to leave or stay in the company.
It’s difficult to quote as it flows continuously, but if I had to choose, I’d use this as a teaser:
For some background, check out this video from RSA Animate. The video is great watching, but if you haven’t the time, the gist of it is that humans are not motivated economically toward self-actualization (as widely believed) but are instead driven by these three motivating factors: the desire to control one’s own work, the desire to get better at things, and the desire to work toward some goal beyond showing up for 40 hours per week and collecting a paycheck.
Frustration with organizational stupidity is usually the result of a lack of autonomy and the perception of no discernible purpose.
Not that I am a good programmer, but it helped me understand some of my own career jumps…
“Agile Failure Patterns In Organizations” explains why Agile is simple and complex at the same time.
Finally! Something I can distract all those Agile prophets with, while I sneak out to do some work.
Working Across Multiple Time Zones: Tools and Strategies That Help Connect – I’m not working in a distributed team yet, but we are already using some of the tools mentioned here.
I don’t think you can control people. I don’t think you manage people. I think you give people a direction, you give them the resources, you lead by example. That goes from top to bottom, then I think people will manage themselves, they will motivate themselves.
John Schnatter, the founder and current CEO of Papa John’s International Inc.
Management by wandering around
The term management by wandering around (MBWA), also management by walking around, refers to a style of business management which involves managers wandering around, in an unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, or equipment, about the status of ongoing work. The emphasis is on the word wandering as an impromptu movement within a workplace, rather than a plan where employees expect a visit from managers at more systematic, pre-approved or scheduled times. The expected benefit is that a manager, by random sampling of events or employee discussions, is more likely to facilitate improvements to the morale, sense of organisational purpose, productivity and total quality management of the organization, as compared to remaining in a specific office area and waiting for employees, or the delivery of status reports, to arrive there, as events warrant in the workplace.
Who knew that was a thing?
Just over a week ago, I spent a couple of days in Forest Park Hotel in Platres, as part of the Team work and communications workshop. The company I work for – Easy Forex – organized it for about 20 people. We had a good mix of people who work together on a daily basis, across several teams, from both Cyprus and Israel. There were a few issues to sort out, a few things to improve, a bit to learn, and also some fun to have.
I’ve been to a few similar events before, but none of them even comes close to how useful and interesting this one was. It wasn’t boring, it wasn’t “motivational” as in “look within to find yourself and your path to success”. It was practical, to the point, and as much individual as it was team-oriented. Two people who were hosting, organizing, and managing the event were Paris and Deano from Open Box Communication. And I have to say that they really know what they are doing. Most people went in skeptical, closed, and maybe even slightly aggressive. The change in attitudes was obvious even a couple of hours in. Two days later we left as rather different people altogether. At least, the way I saw it.
Here is a little YouTube video they composed with a few highlights. I know it’s probably irrelevant to most who weren’t there, but for me it will be a nice reminder to go back to once in a while.
If your team has any issues you should definitely consider these guys. If you think you don’t have any issues, I strongly recommend to consider them anyway, as they will bring out a lot of things that you’ve probably never thought about.