Humility As A Skill

Humility

Having formerly worked in the big data space, I once met an experienced software guy named Ken who is a well-regarded big data and search expert.  Upon trading some design thoughts on a particular topic, I was struck by how approachable he was.  His points were always reasonable and well-articulated; there was no hint of … Read more

The Lost Art of Listening

man being yelled at by senior manager

The old cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn once said to his nemesis Henery Hawk, “You’re hearing me boy, but you just ain’t listening!” Listening skills seem to be getting rarer and rarer these days, even in highly technical roles.  I cannot count the times that I have encountered engineers with serious challenges in this area, yet … Read more

Engineering Better Meetings

Sleeping at the conference. Tired businesswoman sleeping while sitting at the table with her colleagues

Meetings have a bad reputation in the corporate world.  Everyone seems to have war stories of boring, wasteful, time-sucking meetings.  In my own experience, I would estimate that about one in fifteen meetings that I attend is “effective” in my own definition.  Alas, for my junior colleagues just entering the workforce, it is entirely possible … Read more

Engineering And Bagel Shops

Bagel with Coffee

What do bagel shops and engineering have in common?  More than you might think! Bill Gates once said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  I think most business should pay meaningful attention to that statement. At upper echelons of management, this kind of viewpoint on customer focus and process optimization is … Read more

The Alliance: Game Changer?

My copy of The Alliance

Imagine this scenario: A seemingly great company woos you with overtures about their great software, unheard-of cultural values, and equally great support of software engineering best practices. They promise you that the sky is the limit!  You will be working on the next generation of their flagship product, pushing the company into greatness, if you … Read more