Stay Balanced

January 18, 2016 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

There are a few terms that are front-and-centre these days around the workplace, with gender equity and cultural diversity often leading the pack. During a presentation a few months ago, I asked the group about the challenges they face on projects. One woman, from the back of the room, suggested there were too many men on her projects. While at face value I don’t have enough information to agree with her particular case, I do believe this thinking leads to an area where we need to focus – not on equity, but on balance. Read more

That Vitamin Distraction

April 14, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Quality, Teamwork 

There’s an old (and frankly, tired) query that investors will pull out of their bag of clichés, usually when they are leaning away from funding your idea: “are you building vitamins or painkillers?”. The suggestion is that painkillers fix an immediate need and sell better – more attractive to those that want instant financial gratification as well. Hopefully, we’re not all consumed by that myopic view. Read more

Come Together

July 5, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Teamwork 

Conflict in a team setting is one of the natural hazards of the workplace. Unless you are on a project with no schedule pressure, and no technical challenges, and a single obvious way to get the job done, there will be some form of conflict (if you do happen to work on that sort of project, then you’re probably going to have to deal with the challenge of keeping yourself awake). Different perspectives of how to get the work done are healthy, but when we get into situations where it gets personal, trouble is brewing. Listening to how we express our frustrations with someone else on the team can be quite revealing. Read more

Norms and Rules

October 13, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Project management, Quality 

I was chatting with someone the other day about my upcoming trip to Germany (I’m actually writing this one in the departure lounge). He was over there during the summer, and as a way of helping me ensure I had a good time, he noted “just remember, there are social norms over there, but there are no social rules”. Makes me ponder the relationship between the two. Read more

Blurring the Boundaries

May 15, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Agility, People 

We have been running our own small business for more than 7 years now, and from most accounts, everything is running quite smoothly. While the pipeline has thinned a little as training budgets are slashed, there are indications that even this is turning around. Receivables have been very good, something that I would attribute to personally knowing who cuts the cheque in most places (the biggest challenges have come from the biggest vendors, where I am an anonymous ‘little guy’ with no apparent clout, but I have my ways to get things done there as well…). There remains one area that I struggle with – the traditional boundaries of the workplace. Read more

Ethical Dilemmas

May 4, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

There have been a couple of times in my career where I have encountered people that are not willing to take on a position because they perceived a collision with their own value system. Indeed, there have been times when I have stepped away from an otherwise lucrative gig because it involved something that didn’t quite sit right with me. It is worthwhile to sit down periodically and visit our boundaries, to understand what we will and won’t do, to explore what ethics means to each of us. For me, this is the time for some of that reflection. Read more

Cultural Vital Signs

December 2, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

Once in a while, I get the opportunity to work with a great team, in a company that ‘gets it’. Read more


December 10, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: People 

One of the things that I have found to be very powerful in bringing teams together, while at the same time severely lacking in most teams, is a sense of curiosity. Read more

Descent into Conflict

November 26, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Teamwork 

I facilitated an intense 2-day offsite for a group recently. High expectations for lots of learning, lots of communication and lots of progress. As the group had not done many of these in the past, part of the session was intended to allow each other to learn about the diverse groups represented. Read more

You Are What You Eat

October 2, 2005 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Even without going to the dietary extremes taken on in the documentary Super Size Me, we can certainly tell when we’ve had too much to eat, when we are hungry, or when we have eaten something that doesn’t agree with us. Despite my acknowledged cravings for sweets, I know that I’m not going to be happy after the fact if I indulge in something that’s not good for me. It’s not too different in software development, where the adage of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ is an unfortunate fact of life that few of us heed. Read more

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