Techniques and comments on managing engineers

Employee Commitment

I was reading an article, "Cultivate Commitment" by Julia Stirling, in The Weekend Australian recently that resonated with my belief that management and leadership is about people. The focus of the article was on employee commitment and the part management plays on the level of commitment.

Keeping employees engaged is one of the biggest challenges for managers. Happy people are productive people, and research suggests relationships are the biggest single determinant of productivity within a group.

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To Fail Fast, you need to know when to Fail

One of the basic principles of XP is to provide value. To achieve this ,you do the stories first that bring the most value. Now if those stories are risky or big, then you want to fail fast and move on. However in software development, most things are possible…it's just a matter of time. So how do you fail?

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Cars and IT enrollments

At the final, for 2007, QUT Dean's Industry Working Breakfast last week I found myself discussing the disturbing trend in the decline in IT enrolments with Bobby Barnett, a secondary school IT teacher at John Paul College.

We talked about the fact that kids today1 are so comfortable with technology. They use it voraciously and for so many purposes, so why is it that we haven't seen an increase in IT enrolments. It seems that while they are more than happy to use technology, they aren't fired up with the idea of creating it.

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Technical Skills matter

Suneth attended QCon last week and in his post "The Great Convergence" he summarises Kent Becks comments on "the great convergence of Business Trends and Developing Trends in the IT world".

I totally agree with the view that today's developers require far more social and people skills than evidenced in the traditional view people have of the developer. I also think that the Agile practices help focus a development team on the needs of the client and hence force engagement with the business users, resulting in the need for and development of these skills.

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Leadership Course – “Leaders Breakfast”

In the final session of the ACS "Growing Team Leaders" course I started back in May was held last week, we attended a breakfast with some guest presenters giving insight into leadership. We heard from

  • Peter Grant, CIO of Queensland Health
  • Anne-Marie Birkill, CEO of ILAB
  • John Puttick, Chairman of GBST Holdings

As seen in so many other parts of this series, the common theme was the value of people and of course how to inspire them to greatness.

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