behaviour patterns people team work

Location, location, location of the Engineering team

Where’s the team? Is it in house? Why is it remote? People are interested. They have a right to know. However, I am always interested to find out what’s behind the question.

My data sample is small and built from my experience as CTO and working on consulting projects. So I am biased. Nevertheless, I think once you find more about the person asking the question you can correlate their view fairly accurately to the perceived right answer.

If the person is a recruiter or a talent manager, commonly the view is that in house creates better team dynamics and creates more hiring work which people with local hiring experience are more comfortable with.

If the person is from a finance department, the outcome is diagonally different. The cost, time to market and scale play a big part as to what good looks like.

Is the person is a CEO or an investor, there is no given right answer usually as there is awareness that not one answer fits all situations. And usually the strategic decision about the team make up is taken considering many variables but primarily where can I hire the best people to grow my business fast.

Finally, if the person is an engineer, she or he won’t care. Why? Because engineers want to work with the best engineers, making location irrelevant.

Having managed teams of 2 people to 60+, I think what’s important is how one is organised, what processes are followed and how well work is documented and tracked.

Usually default opinion backing the in house teams option is hidden behind poor communication, undeveloped technology strategy, immature operating model and incomplete documentation (stories, roadmap, tests). Lack of any of above is not a good enough reason to pick any option. Don’t miss on top talent for being lazy.


Why write software

I keep reminding my self almost daily that the only reason we write software is to create business value. We don’t write software because it serves some higher purpose. It’s very simple. Business aims to solve customer’s problem or reduce friction in its operations. Software solves those problems and business captures created value.

design startup work

Cost of complexity in startups

As in architecture adding complex operational or marketing processes is pricy. Frank Gehry, an architect, said about building complex structures: flat costs $1, one curve $2, double curve $10.


Permission v Forgiveness

“It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” – Grace Hopper

code future leadership other short work

Short eats Long for breakfast

As  Sir Arthur Helps, a 19th century aphorist, said: “Almost all human affairs are tedious. Everything is too long. Visits, dinners, concerts, plays, speeches, pleadings, essays, sermons, are too long.”

My equivalent list for today’s managers would be: “Everthing is too long. Business plans, board presentations, management accounts, sales reports, project updates, standup checkins, system’s architecture, code.”

other work

Do Less

The best people I worked with understand the essentials in their business and posses a true sense of urgency.

The key is not to try to do too many things but concentrate on a small number of things that truly matter – and execute them well.

“Our lifes are frittered away by detail: simplify, simplify.” Henry David Thoreau.

other work

Short Presentations

My advice on expressing yourself clearly:

  • Use short sentences.
  • Always make your speech shorter than the audience is expecting.

“The more you say, the less people hear.” Harry Beckwith in Selling the Invisible.

other work

Data Exchange: behind Bitcoin

Bitcoin is unregulated, censorship-resistant shadow currency. Blockchain, a shared ledger, ensures “cash like” coin passing: unique, immutable, final.

Bitcoin is the first Blockchain application but Blockchain is not Bitcoin. Digital currencies (digital USD, for example) are different from cyptocurrency (Bitcoin, for example).

leadership other team work

Unplanned work

If you want to work hard and not have visible results to show consider tracking unplanned work. Unplanned work is the main reason for missing deadlines. Use Kanban to lay out your planned work for a week. Keep gate shut to all unplanned work.

leadership other people support team tools work

Bridging Tech-Business gap

Best way for Tech to bridge gap with the Business is to be helpful and to ensure that tech works 100% of the time.

How to be helpful? Organise knowedge sharing sessions with functional teams (finance, for example), focus on their needs and their core apps, show them how to use the tools to make their job easier. Do this to establish a baseline of Tech knowledge across organisation.

If you are a smaller business or have a developed support function, follow up with one to ones that can be between a few minutes to 30mins. Check user set up, show tools shortcuts, explain new tools use case. Use a check list to ensure consistency.

100% useful/works: Needless to say ensure that Tech works by making common tasks seamless: login, email, change password, file sharing, system updates, printing.