• Management

    Management is not a game of perfect

    After months of failed attempts, my best man eventually convinced me to start playing golf. It is a game for old men, I thought. In my mid-forties, I am not that young anymore.It is a game for rich men, I thought. Not more expensive than many other things we do.It is hard to learn how to play, I thought. Damn right I was! When I started to handle those clubs trying to hit the ball, I soon realized there was much I could learn from the game; a parallel between golf and my job immediately formed in my mind. Let me try to quickly summarize some aspects of this equivalence;…

  • Management

    Motivation is a mindset

    I come from the old school: when I was a kid, around eight years old, there were no mobile phones, and computers were uncommon. Technology was definitely less ubiquitous than today; working in tech was not something we heard a lot of; connecting computers to other computers could only be done by using an expensive phone call, and only a few people knew how to do it. When my father bought me a Commodore VIC 20, I was just one of three schoolmates out of thirty (!) owning a so-called home computer. We were the nerds. Long story short that was the moment when my life changed forever. I started…

  • Management

    What is a manager’s top attribute?

    It was a warm Italian night as I sat on a terrace with a friend, sipping a good glass of tasty white wine. A friend’s friend joined us, we introduced ourselves and I learned he was a manager in tech, just like me. After a few minutes of talking about our experiences, he shot me a sharp question: What is the most important attribute of a successful manager? I had never thought about it before, so I was surprised when I saw my uncertainty last less than 5 seconds. My guts took control of my brain and spoke for me. Self-Confidence – I said. “Now I have to articulate the…

  • Onboarding

    I love swag!

    When I joined Nokia, back in 2011, remote working was not really a thing. Neither was swag. However, that company marked a big change for me because I could visit internal swag shops and purchase from there. I thought it was cool: wearing garments bearing the logo and the name of the company felt great.It just leveraged a very common human sentiment: belonging. Like it or not, as much as we can look at ourselves as detached from boundaries, borders, and groups of any kind, there is an ancestral need within us to aggregate with people that share the same values as us. And this is exactly what swag is…

  • Management

    Delegation = laziness?

    Why don’t you delegate? Books have been written on the importance of delegation.Frameworks have been defined, along with diagrams and thorough explanations of what should be delegated and what not, for example: There are also diagrams and guidelines to help identify whom to delegate tasks to, but that is definitely outside of the scope of this post. Now, many managers agree on the importance of delegating tasks. However, surprisingly enough, throughout my career, I have met many managers who struggled with delegation. What were the main causes? In short: Fear of losing control. Fear of becoming useless to the company. Fear of being perceived as “lazy”. Are those valid reasons?…

  • Management

    Communication is empathy

    When I was working at Automattic, we used to say “Communication is oxygen“. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. From the Automattic Creed But as an inner joke among fellow Automatticians was: too much oxygen kills. The importance of communication Books have been written on this topic but as a kind reminder, I will just point out what is the most important aspect of good communication in my personal opinion, with a specific focus on software engineering. Ready for the revelation?Here it is: The goal of good communication is to help our colleagues.And in doing so, helping ourselves. When we communicate with…

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    Just do it Now. Or, improve every day.

    The 1% marginal gains rule There has been quite a bit of buzz on the so-called 1% marginal gains rule. This “rule” became famous after Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling, set about breaking down the objective of winning races into its component parts. The basic concept is easy: if we work on improving a mere 1% a day – or a week, or else – then the cumulative gain would be massive. Nothing new, really. Is the 1% marginal gain rule a recent concept? I don’t believe so. If we think about anything we do in our lives, a tiny bit of knowledge is added to our brain…

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    Make Meetings Productive

    One thing I have learned very soon in my career is: meetings must be useful for all the participants. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… I have vivid memories of managers of mine looking very busy, always telling people they had a meeting in a few minutes. Sometimes it was true, while some other times they just wanted to dismiss whoever stepped into our office, but the effect they obtained was, either way, powerful: people believed they were really busy, with much more important things to do than listen to their colleagues.And those managers felt powerful: they could wear cool suits and ties and meet important…

  • Management

    Know Yourself AKA You are not Perfect

    In my previous article, I wrote about a vital aspect of leadership: knowing the individuals forming the team, in order to help them discover and express their potential, and make the team efficient. Now that you know your team, the next question is: how well do you know yourself? And can you identify your own strengths and weaknesses? And more importantly, once you have figured out your weaknesses, are you able to stop hiding them? The Myth of the Flawless Leader I have seen this around, a lot: people pretending to always have the answer to everything.Some people even take the practice to the next level. Let me tell you a story A…

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    Know Your Team

    In my previous installment of this series of articles about how I see leadership in tech, I mentioned one of the most important aspects of our work. And of our lives. Humanity. A Matter of Perspective Being humans means that we can do great things on our own selves, but are capable of doing wonders if we join forces. It is the nature of social animals: you can think of one ant or one bee as almost insignificant, but when you consider the whole community, they are much more powerful. Same applies to us humans, of course. That’s why we organize in bigger structures like companies: each one of us brings their…

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