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Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to be a Good Project Manager

Show appreciation - thanking people for their assistance is not only the right thing to do it is expected.

Listen effectively - think before speaking. Listen attentively. Make the person feel like they are the only thing you are focusing on.

Give credit to others - always give credit where credit is due.

Don't be negative - negative people can kill team creativity. Eliminate them from your team if possible.

Have a work/life balance - don't forget that all work and no play makes for a dull life.

Don't have hidden agendas - they are only hidden for a while, and most people realize what you are doing.

Be willing to publicly admit your failures - there is nothing more pathetic than the person that never admits a mistake.

Talk about the problem not the person - don't personalize problems and make them about a person or group. Be willing to focus on only on the problem.

If you lie down with dogs you will get fleas - be careful of your relationships in the workplace. Trust, but verify.

Don't gossip - gossip can hurt careers and projects. Don't participate in gossip and don't allow it on your team.

Use Empathy not Sympathy when dealing with delicate issues - Empathic listening is listening with intent to understand. Sympathetic listening is a form of agreement and judgement.

Diagnose before your prescribe - if people don't have confidence in your diagnosis, they won't have confidence in your prescription

Keep your commitments and promises - enough said.

Remember while you are free to choose your actions, you aren't free to choose the consequence of those actions.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cool Gadget for Thirty Bucks!

Use coupon code MCU2009-06 when checking out

Overview from TI

Texas Instruments (TI) introduces the eZ430-Chronos, which is the world’s first customizable development environment within a sports watch. Taking the popular line of eZ430 development tools to the next level, the kit allowsdevelopers to easily harness the leading integration, ultra-low power and wireless capabilities of TI’s CC430 microcontroller (MCU).
The eZ430-Chronos is priced at $49. Key features and benefits are listed below:
  • Wearable form factor allows customers to conveniently develop in remote locations
  • TI’s SimpliciTI and BM Innovations’ Blue Robin™ RF protocols enable developers to easily establish wireless links regardless of RF knowledge, right out of the box
  • Available in three different RF frequency bands – 915, 868, and 433 MHz – allowing for worldwide usage
  • Integrated 3-axis accelerometer for motion sensitive control as well as sensors for measurement, including altimeter, temperature and batteryvoltage
  • Internal CC430 memory available for data storage, holding up to 11 hours of data such as heart rate
  • eZ430 emulator for simplified programming and debugging on top of basesoftware framework and RF functions
  • USB-RF access point for PC communication and automation, supported by production-ready source projects, including, but not limited to, motion-based mouse control, sensor data logging with wireless PC download, keyboard and presentation control as well as time and calendar sync
  • Large 96 segment LCD display driven directly by CC430
  • Low cost system includes all supporting hardware and software, increasing accessibility and reducing development cost

Monday, December 14, 2009

Geek Culture Diagram

A Leadership Void

"What creates trust, in the end, is the leader's manifest respect for the followers" - Jim O'Toole, Leadership Change.

A leadership void exists when the goals of the leaders aren't embraced by the followers.  Respect, or lack of it plays a big part in helping to create this void.

Some leadership principles I have come to believe are:

Be consistent in what you say and do. Inconsistency shows a lack of focus. Being inconsistent will undermine your credibility with others.

As a leader you will need to provide focus, constancy of purpose, and clear direction to your team. The problem with many leaders isn't a lack of personality or charisma, it is a lack of focus and follow-through.

When leading remember "beware of no man more than thyself" - Thomas Fuller. Ask for feedback from others. Remember the higher the leader is in an organization the more blind spots he or she will experience.

A good leader is a master of the big picture and is knowledgeable of the details. A leader that isn't willing to get involved in the details is just plain lazy and won't have the respect of the team they are leading.

Be careful about negative assumptions. Leaders that are high achievers know their behavior tells the truth about their assumptions.

Leaders ensure that their followers know where they fit into the big picture.

Leaders who underestimate the intellect of others tend to overestimate their own.

Other things that are always displayed by a leader are the ability to:

Create and nurture a vision


Leave your ego at the door

Think before acting (not quick to criticize)

Be a risk taker

State and meet commitments

Be a role model

Have a can do attitude

Encourage success

and finally...BE VISIBLE

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Most Important Things

Florida Power and Light management came up with the list below of the ten most important things they think helped them complete the St. Lucie 2 Nuclear Power Plant on schedule, within cost, and without major quality issues.

  1. Management Commitment
  2. A realistic and firm schedule
  3. Clear decision-making authority
  4. Flexible project control tools
  5. Teamwork
  6. Maintaining engineering before construction (design before build)
  7. Earlsy start-up involvement
  8. Organizational flexibility
  9. Ongoing critique of the project
  10. Close coordination with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (strong, fair oversight)
This is an awesome list that can be adapted to any environment and project.  Do you have a top ten list of things you need for your project to be successful?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Keep IT Simple! - Redesigned

There was a popular survey some time ago that asked leaders in several mid-sized companies about their success. One of the main reasons that many were successful is they focused on simplicity in everything they did. The study concluded that simple, focused companies were more profitable.

The Pareto or 80/20 Principle can help us realize the power of keeping things simple.

Some popular statistics that relate to the Pareto Principle are below:

80% of beer is consumed by 20% of the beer drinkers

80% of classroom participation comes from 20% of the students

80% of traffic jams occur on 20% of roads

20% of your clothes will be worn 80% of the time

80% of sales are generated by 20% of the sales staff

80% of problems are generated by 20% of the employees

80% of problems come from 20% of the customer base

Now that we know this, how do we make things simpler?  Try looking at your business processes to eliminate waste and complexity.

Questions to ask yourself and your organization when seeking to simplify your business processes:

What are our processes?

Who are our customers?

What systems do we use? Do we have the right systems in place to support our business?

What services do we offer internally and externally? Are they still valuable today?

Look for the 20% that adds value and eliminate or redesign the rest. 

We are looking to automate, minimize, isolate, reduce, redesign, throw away, reinvent, rejuvenate, refresh, retire, or reallocate those things that are not helping us to achieve simplicity.  Achieving simplicity can be hard, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Keep it Simple!!! 

Free Christmas Music

Want some free Christmas music?   Head over to this page on and download  29 free holiday songs. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Doing Things!

Another short, excellent Tom Peters Video - Click Here

Tom is one of my heros.  I have posted several of his videos here in the past.  Check out his website at for more stuff