I am a fan of good receipes and checklists and just discovered the podcast “The Managing Software Development (MSD) Show” by James Edgell, which I highly recommend for all folks being responsible for IT-people and in the end for what they produce.
The value of your software development resources (people) consists of two things: their technical knowledge and their behaviour. The first can be developed by training and gained experience, the second is harder to change. And since everything is about bahaviour in people management, we also focus on it in terms of performance measurement.
James recommends the following:
- Identify important abstract behaviours (see following list).
- Measure the performance of every desired behaviour for each of your directs at regularly scheduled checkpoints. Scoring is from 1-5, where 1 is least demonstrated and 5 is most demonstrated. Add score corrections for plusses and minusses that are not covered by the behaviours in the list, e.g. for a rare talent or special industry knowledge no one else has.
- Set annual goals to improve on some of them. Goals should be ‘smart’ (s=specific, m=measurable, a=attainable, t=timebound).
- Sum up the scores and order them by score. You now have a handy helper to make decisions regarding: bonus payment, promotion, layoffs.
Divide the list in 4 sections from top to bottom:
- 10% – your excellent people.
- 20% – exceed expectations.
- 60% – meet expectations.
- 10% – need to improve.
Here are the behaviours:
- Strategic planning: Consideration of future needs, vision of the future.
- Maintained industry awareness: Latest trends, not only technical, understands customer business, evolution and lifecycles.
- Innovation: Brings in new ideas, continuous brainstorming, brings vitality to the organization.
- Builds and sustains relationships: Inside the team, the department, also builds those relationships actively outside the department and organization.
- Communicates effectively: Oral, written documentation and email, accurate to-the-point information or distraction.
- Leads and develops a team: Gets things done and drives the team, also motivates to do unpopular tasks.
- Enthusiasm: Does his things with high energy and enthusiasm.
- Assertiveness: Challenges the organization and the team to get the best possible outcome, does not settle with what is already there.
- Decisiveness: Stands by team decisions, solves conflicts quickly, does not undermine made decisions once they have been made.
- Clear and focussed thinking: Concentrates on what is relevant to make progress working on issues, is result oriented.
- Planning and organizing: How efective they organize their tasks and the team’s tasks.
- Productivity: Are they always on time, do they produce work of good quality, are they busy to get things done effectively.
- Customer focus: Mentality towards the customer.
- Integrity: Honesty, ethical thinking, are they trying to do the right things.
Thanks James, please give us more of that!
Today I listened to an interesting podcast “John Gruber & Merlin Mann’s Blogging Panel at SxSW” in which a famous line by Walt Disney was quoted:
“We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.”
This indeed makes a huge difference!
Here are the thoughts taken from a lecture of Judy Estrin (CEO of JLABS, LLC) on innovation recorded in October 2008 at Stanford University:
Core Values of Innovation:
- Curiosity and ability to frame open questions. Instead of ‘Do you need this feature?’ you could ask ‘What are you currently working on?’ or ‘What are your problems?’.
- Self-assessment, ability to question yourself about the direction you are heading and make adjustments along the way.
- Risk-taking and willingness to fail. Try something and accept potential failure in order to take lessons from it. If failure is a problem, nobody will try anything.
- Openess to share knowledge and thoughts. Be open to surprises.
- Patience to let things grow. Mutual trust among the team members.
Judy underlines, that it is important to address all of these points and find/grow the right balance in your environment.
Other interesting Points from the lecture:
- Maximize the potential for innovation in your team by hiring cognitive diverse people.
- Importance of attitude in people you hire.
- Support an encouraging culture in your team.
- People are naturally innovative (kids). This gets beaten out and is unlearnt by the system (school, university, incentive systems).
- Innovation is not necessarily a new product.
- Companies are making themselves efficient by measuring many business aspects. This limits them to incremental innovation, which is always based on prior work. Groundbreaking (disruptive) innovations are created in different environments.
Listen to the 60min lecture: http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2052
Phil’s talk ‘Creative Econoomy’ recorded live April 4th 2008 at the Business Alliance Bootcamp for Growing Companies and Entrepreneurs contains 30 minutes of very interesting thoughts about innovation.
Also check out Phil McKinney’s other Podcasts.
I would like to recommend an inspiring podcast I listened to this morning while driving to work. Simon Phipps, chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems offers a very encouraging view on open source, the stages in open source development, mindset and business modells.
Goto episode 39 of FLOSS Weekly: http://twit.tv/floss39
Tim Lister explains the principles of Agile Project Leadership in a video tutorial:
Watch it with his slides as subtitles: “Introduction to Agile Leadership”
You can also find this tutorial as podcast at the Agile Toolkit Podcast.
What does it take to start a successful business?
“Podcast that explores how entrepreneurs build their businesses and live their lives.”
This is a nice collection of podcasts and videos of today’s entrepreneurial leaders talking about various success factors:
Conversations about software development and the OO-world. Even if you did not yet dive deeper into Java (like me) you can learn a lot for your work with PHP5.
“The Java Posse is a group of four veteran Java software architects that know eachother well, love to talk about Java technology (and technology in general), and happen to have a bad habit of recording audio stuff and publishing it on the web.”
Linux and Open-Source news.