General management

This category contains 103 posts

Achieving excellence is hard work

Some time ago I was working with a team that made a mistake in generating its release notes. I took on the task of improving the process to avoid us making that mistake again. It shouldn’t have been difficult, because someone else told me how they thought it should it be done—I just needed to … Continue reading

Additive skills and multiplicative skills

When I find people in my team who are particularly strong in some area of work I get itchy. Of course it’s great that they have those skills—whether it’s with a particular technology, a strength in technical design, domain expertise—but then the gap with others becomes more apparent. I want other team members to have … Continue reading

A strategy for making progress

Often in a work environment I find I’m faced with difficult problems, and while I manage to find ways to move forward, I do this without knowing exactly what the end state should look like. An example of such a problem might be agreeing the best process for something within a team, or a company. … Continue reading

Measuring communication skills

Previously I talked about how to measure seemingly intangible things. The trick, roughly, is to be able to articulate what differences we witness in the real world if the seemingly-intangible thing happens. The other day I was discussing with someone communication skills in meetings, and how we might not only improve that, but also measure … Continue reading

Making use of wider talents

I’ve worked with many people in my time who I value greatly. To consider software developers as an example, some are just excellent at writing software, but the ones I generally value most of all are those who can do more than just that. They are people who can speak to a client or an … Continue reading

A good strategy will say what not to do

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of a business strategy, and its relationship to a product strategy and a technology strategy. But if we’re going to produce a strategy, or if we need to evaluate one, what distinguishes a good one from a bad one? A technologist thinking about creating a … Continue reading

Follow the business strategy

Many years ago an experienced consultant was telling me about a company who was asking for his help. “They told me they wanted to develop a digital strategy. But they don’t need a digital strategy,” he said, “They need a business strategy.” I’ve always remembered this distinction between a business strategy and a more localised, … Continue reading

Three steps to measuring the intangible

Last week I talked about organisational culture being necessarily based on tangible things, even though it is superficially intangible. The thinking behind this was heavily influenced by Douglas Hubbard’s “How to measure anything”, because that is centred on measuring seemingly intangible things. So I thought it was about time I explained my interpretation of Hubbard’s … Continue reading

Culture is based on tangible things

Organisational culture is seemingly nebulous, hard to pin down. But in fact it’s based on very concrete, tangible things. It follows that by changing those tangible things we can change the culture of an organisation. Over many years I’ve read about the new breed of digital companies, and how they often value nurturing and developing … Continue reading

Who defines your process?

When someone introduces a process it’s usually to help them. If top-level management introduces a process for people on the ground then there’s a danger it will help the top team at the expense of the people on the ground delivering effectively. In our organisations we all want comprehensible processes. We want to be able … Continue reading