Three top Management skills

Similar to top leadership skills, a list of three top management skills may depend more on the situation than anything else. So picking three top ones remains a risky task but yet one I was asked to perform recently.

Here’s an expanded version of how I responded:

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Three top Leadership skills

There are dozens of skills that every leader should develop and each assumes a different importance in a different situation. So picking three top ones is a risky task but one I was asked to perform recently.

Here’s an expanded version of how I responded:

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If necessary, use your favorite tool

Editor War

Editor sometimes found in Unix/Linux

My “Emacs versus vi” post still brings in a significant number of page views each month.

Much to my surprise.

You see, I figured more sysadmins, programmers and users would recognize and emphasize the need to get things done over prolonging the great editor holy war.
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Acting on a good idea

Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.

Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.

Earlier I mused on suits, haircuts and good ideas and opted to support “what’s between the ears”, those brains, smarts and ability to execute.

A day or so later my family were eating Chinese takeout when we got to the ritual of reading those little slips of paper you find wedged in fortune cookies. My son’s read:

Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.

And of course I grabbed it for this blog post.
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When “Free” upsets your model

Free Beer Here (tomorrow)

Free Beer Here (tomorrow)
( by Tom Morris, from wikipedia )

When something is free (free as in beer, not free as in speech1), how many of us are tempted to over-consume? What if we’re separated from the true cost of something by policy or tradition? Do we find ourselves over-consuming something that is perceived as “free”?

At a previous employer some years ago, we found ourselves having to combat physical server sprawl, that data-center condition in which new servers proliferate faster than old ones are being eliminated. Several factors were at work in this case Continue reading

  1. See Gratis versus libre and Richard Stallman‘s many thoughts on this.
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It’s not the haircut, but what’s between the ears

I was at a tech Meetup, talking with an Android developer about how he writes code to handle background processes on that platform when he stopped abruptly and asked me about my work experience. I briefly explained my history in Unix ops, etc. (since that’s what seemed relevant) and he replied:

Oh, so you do understand; it was your suit that confused me.

Apparently we’d ducked down into a space so geeky he didn’t expect someone in a suit to really understand it.

I’d been profiled based on how I was dressed.

And I couldn’t really blame him. Continue reading

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A Different Diversity

lots of M&M candies

Superficial diversity

Diversity in the workplace isn’t just about people, backgrounds, ideas and knowledge. Nor is it also just about inclusion.

Let’s talk about server operating systems (OS).

We all know that having multiple server operating systems (Windows, Solaris, RedHat, AIX, SCO, Ubuntu, HP-UX, etc.) in your organization is horribly inefficient: you need an army of talent to deploy, support, update and manage all these different OSs in your enterprise. With a single operating system, the organization is able to save on licensing costs, implement a single deployment process, reduce support and administration headcount and utilize a limited toolset to patch, maintain and upgrade that single operating system.

And yet, having only a single OS can be risky.
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A case for condensing fix/test cycles

Black Box Model

Black Box Model

A while back I posted on the strategy of changing only one variable at a time when working to resolve an incident and determine root cause.

I’m amazed at how much discipline it takes to implement this simple strategy. If you’re truly interested in determining the sole root cause, this is the best way to go. But, as as Mike Plant so correctly pointed out, it’s not the fastest method for debugging.

Speed sometimes needs to be sacrificed.

Here’s a non-programming example:

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Top Posts and Commenters for April 2011


201104  - Wordle-dot-net

Word Cloud provided by wordle.net

In case you missed one or more of these, here are this blog’s top ten posts based on traffic during the month of April 2011.

Much to my surprise, the Emacs versus vi post remains on the top. The longest “Average time on page” post was Virtual Lunches? Perhaps readers were “lingering at the table”!

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Virtual Lunches?

Picnic table sign (D5-5a)

Let's have lunch

Joel Spolsky takes on an important topic in his post today on lunches and I share with him a firm belief in the value of intentionally sharing a meal. It can be an important tool in your work-life balancing act. It can help you transition to leading a team from being a team member.

And it is particularly valuable in sharing ideas and growing trust. Building a team-friendly environment is an intentional act and “lingering at the table” can be a vital part of that.

What about virtual?

But what about your virtual team? Continue reading

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