Sometimes it takes a child's perspective to remind us of the things that have become "invisible" to us. We make choices that become part of the daily flow and are forgotten until something happens that reopens our eyes. This week, Esther Derby explains how a four-year-old reminded her of an important lesson about decisions and routines.
Customers don't always know what they want. That's a given. But even if they do know, they may not always be able to communicate it clearly. That's also a given. Given these givens, you have a much better chance of comprehending your customers' needs and concerns if you're a skilled information-gathering skeptic.
Jessica and Sean have just attended the company spirit meeting, and they're feeling a little dispirited. What does it really take to build morale? The answer is both simple and difficult. Learn the ingredients of morale as identified by a group of experts—a project team that may be a lot like yours.
In their eagerness to embark on a new project, project teams sometimes overlook an essential aspect of their effort—building a relationship among team members, which will foster not just a successful project outcome, but also a satisfying work experience. Investing in relationship building is invariably less costly and time-consuming than recovering from the divisiveness and conflict that may result from its absence. And that's where team norms come in.
We create lists to help us prioritize tasks and stay on schedule. Sometimes those lists help us accomplish those tasks faster. Sometimes those lists simply chain us to an archaic way of doing things. Having a "To Do" list is a good thing if you don't let it prevent you from thinking outside the box. In this column, Elisabeth explains why the agenda items that don't make the list can often be some of the most important.
A potentially serious impediment to success in software projects is false assumptions. Both yours and everyone else's. If you act on false assumptions as though they're true, such as by assuming you understand exactly what your customers want, you may find yourself faced with flawed software and failed projects. In this column, Karten explores false, conflicting, and hidden assumptions, and how you can "surface" them.
When I visit software organizations, I often hear complaints that we spend too much time in meetings. Many people spend a significant portion of each day in meetings. Wouldn't it be great to give some of that time back?
Many managers believe that overtime, even extended overtime is a good thing, and will help a project make progress. However, most technical people who try to work more than two weeks of overtime make huge numbers of mistakes. Often, they don't realize the mistakes and have already wasted a lot of time and money.
It's important to be honest when dealing with customers, no matter what that honesty entails. You may not always be able to deliver your product on time, but not communicating that truthfully with your customer can be devastating to your business. Dare to tell your customers the truth. They don't like to hear bad news, but they'll appreciate you for giving it to them straight and giving it to them as soon as possible. This article will help motivate you.
Miscommunication is at the heart of most software defects. Being knowledgeable about a company as a whole, and not just about the specs of a particular project, is just one more way to safeguard against failures. Read on as Elisabeth Hendrickson explains the importance of technical people staying informed about business strategies.