The Most Important Skill

adult-casual-chairs-935949

I recently sat down to contemplate the most useful skill that I learned to help communicate with others. One in particular kept rising to the top. This skill is amazingly basic, yet almost no one does it.  Perhaps our incessant internal mental chatter and our desire to be heard makes this skill difficult to master. Enough speculative philosophy. What is this mysterious skill about? The … Read more

A Tale of Organizational Structures

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A promising young software professional recently asked me about the roles that exist between the customer and software engineers in a “typical” company.  My initial reaction was to describe a cross-section of business analyst, product manager, and software architect roles.  On later reflection, I realized that I was taking the basis of my own answer for granted.  This post … Read more

Development Culture. Do You Speak It?

software developers in an open floor plan

What has a hundred legs, sits in your office, occupies fifty computer screens, clicks on keyboards and trackpads all day, and gets nothing accomplished? Answer: Your development team. Wait, the CEO says.  What is going on here?  We hired a bunch of developers.  We bought a very long party table and two very long benches. … Read more

Agile, Tribal Knowledge, and the Trail of Documentation

It's all ones and zeros

When I encounter a software company that claims to be “agile,” I often also hear something like this: “We’re an agile shop. We don’t do documentation because we don’t need to.  Documentation goes obsolete quickly.” Right. Whenever I hear such things, there is a part of my brain called the bullshitathalamus that quickly utters some … Read more

Can’t Get Technical Talent? Mind the Interviews!

Waiting for job interviews

Imagine this scenario: your company paid a recruiting firm to find candidates for new technical roles in support of your expanding product portfolio.  Technical talent is rolling in, your team is interviewing them, but nobody is accepting your offers.  You are starting to wonder how this is happening. “We’re a world-class company, with world-class talent … Read more

Mindfulness For Zombies

Zombie in the Office

Trick or treat! Almost everyone has seen zombie movies or shows.  Almost without exception, the zombies are portrayed as unthinking beasts, satisfying their primitive instincts by preying on the living.  Fun on Halloween, but rather apocalyptic and scary otherwise, right? Another way to think about zombies, is that they are incapable of higher thought.  They … Read more