Articles

Getting to the Bottom of Project Troubles

It's amazing how many projects, already in a hole, keep sinking deeper. When team members and staff don't have the insight or objectivity to turn things around, an independent consultant can help—or not. In this column, a leading industry consultant gives you "the straight dope" on what to watch out for.

Eileen Strider
Where's Charlie?!

Are you inadvertently setting up a one-dimensional team? Managers regularly make statements to recruiters like, "I need another test engineer just like Charlie." Sometimes hiring people with very similar qualifications makes sense, but sometimes breaking the mold makes a better team.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
A Problematic Truth

"No Fred, we're not considering you for that promotion. You're too valuable where you are." How many of us have heard those words, or said them at least once to our staff? Sometimes, we use the "too valuable" phrase to avoid discussing problems with a staff member, problems you can bring out in the open and manage.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get...Gentle?

Software projects are filled with productivity needs and deadline pressures. As a project manager, you may feel responsible for project deliverables yet highly dependent on others to complete their work. It's common to push, prod, and heavy-handedly coerce your team to go faster. Sometimes this has the desired effect. And even if it doesn't, you can at least claim you pushed as hard as you could. But is that really all that can be done? Eileen Strider suggests another tool at your disposal.

Eileen Strider
T-shirts Are Not Enough

Watching the recent Olympic teams in their matching uniforms reinforced the value of connecting with your team. What other gear might your team need? I'm not sure where we got the idea that T-shirts were enough. Are we too arrogant to admit that sometimes a bulletproof vest would be handy?

Eileen Strider
Shhhhhh! You Can't Say That!

Treating symptoms instead of the root cause of symptoms is a mistake that dates back millennia (just ask Socrates). The current-day workplace is no different. In Johanna Rothman's column, we get a glimpse at what happens when a company doesn't value its people.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman

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