Posts

Resources for Leadership

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I was asked recently for a list of resources for management by a fellow manager. I have so many, but I didn't have it readily available. This post is for that. I'll regularly update it with references and the like. Podcasts Simon Sinek Podcas t; interesting interviews with various leaders Jacko Podcast ; the discipline of leadership. Interesting US military leader view of the world. Good stories and lessons learned. HBR IdeaCast  - Harvard Business Review's collection of stories about business. The Knowledge Podcast - Really interesting interviews with various leaders of the world Making Sense with Sam Harris - Most of these are pretty good listen. Sometimes relevant to leadership, other times just about humanity. Video Channels Simon Sinek - a collection of lectures, cuts from the podcast recordings, and tips of the day. Leadership Nudges - Great collection of 2-5 minute reminders. This comes from the author of "Turn the ship around". Books See my book

75 Day Challenge

My wife came across this interesting challenge over the weekend, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. SO, here it is. We are diving in!  Things we will do during this challenge and many of which we'll move forward with: For a quick summary, here are the 5 things required during the 75 days. Exercise twice each day for 45 minutes — it doesn’t matter what the exercise is but one of these sessions must be outdoors. Drink 4 liters of water per day. Pick a diet or eating plan and stick to that plan. You don’t necessarily have to count calories but be intelligent — no chocolates, no cake, no soft drinks, and NO ALCOHOL (this is the one I’ll struggle with the most). Read a minimum of 10 pages every day of growth mindset material or self-help book. No fifty shades of grey content! stick to real-life material to work on your mindset. Take one progress photo each day — even though this is more of a mental challenge, the byproduct will be a physical change at the end of the 75 days. Cre

6 tips for working remote during these social distancing times

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In the light of recent events (read that COVID-19) a lot of companies are going remote for the first time in their existence. These are troubling times but also time for evolution to take place. The human race is brilliant, bringing sound solutions to complicated scenarios. So when we are asked to practice social distancing, we move our businesses online. I've been working remote for close to 2 years at Sonatype, here are some tips that helped me thrive in this environment. Get ready for work I'm serious, it's super important. I wake, shower, shave, and put on jeans every workday. This to me is my way of gearing up for the day. It's a mental practice I carried from my days of office work that I still do because if I didn't I don't feel I'd be ready mentally. Dedicated space Critical, you have to have an office, for a few reasons. First, having a dedicated quiet space is a way to block off other family that may be home with you. It allows you

An Elegant Puzzle

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Image credit, amazon.com An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson is a new book that was released this year. I was not paid to read/review this book. I am an engineering manager and the book peaked my interest. I've read a few Will Larson blog posts throughout the years. These posts were pretty helpful in navigating the engineering manager work and so I thought I'd see what they had to say. The book is broken up into 5 major sections. Organizations, Tools, Approaches, Culture, and Careers. Organizations was an interesting section, its main focus was discussing how companies grow, what role each stage is and what to do during transition. It brought light that organizations are not static, they are forever evolving, always chasing the next step. I really enjoyed the section about "Succession Planning". I've seen so many times in my career where there is someone that has jumped from one role to another not fully giving up their old role. They didn't do great suc

One way to take notes during 1:1

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Backstory One of my goals for Q3 2019 was to find a good way of collecting notes for 1:1s. Historically I just had a rolling document that had a spat of notes from various meetings. I wanted to get a little more organized. First I was listing off what I should cover and how often. Not as a hard rule but just as a guideline. Second I looked into a medium to share this information with the people I support. I read a blog post from Trello 1 that suggested having a board per connection with various boards. Check that out for more details. Implementation My Template (link in summary) I really liked the idea from Trello, so I did an experiment and created a template 2 . Then I took one of my teams and created a board for each individual. It was pretty well received from the teams. For the repeatable tasks I listed out the things that I thought about during my first part of this goal. 1) performance feedback, 2) company news I've heard, 3) ice breaker questions, and 4) quarterl

Elon Musk on Project Management, how he built a Starship mk1 in 4 months

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Space exploration has been an amazing newish frontier that we are tackling in the past 100 years. Elon Musk's team at Space X has been hugely successful with Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and are approaching first launch of Starship mk1. They just had a party where they hosted a Q&A session for Elon. One of the reporters asked "How did they pull off a ship build in 4 months time? Typically that is over a year to build a ship". His answers below were a great reminder on agile methods. How skewing toward speed can have a positive impact on the end line. How feedback loops and adjustments help. How non-process can have a big impact. Elon's mantra: "If a Schedule is long, it's wrong, and if it's tight it's right". Apparently Elon is a bit of a poet. He elaborated; "Recurved improvement with feedback loops. Did it make it easier/faster and still safe? Great, if not, stop doing that." This is a great reminder to reflect on you

Car Camping with a 1 year old

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Can it be done? Why yes, yes it can. Our little one just turned 14 months and we had a 4 day weekend coming up in late August. It is a perfect time of year for camping in Wisconsin.  The days are getting shorter, the nights are cool, and the days are tolerable. Here are some tips we learned along the way. The Food One thing I noticed that was different than just camping as a couple is all the prep work. Cassi planned, A LOT! She is simply amazing at this sort of activity. We, well really she, food prepped for every single meal, snack, etc... Everything was precooked so we only had to heat it up over the fire or with our little camping grill. S'mores were a must for a nightly snack. Day 1 we had hotdogs over the grill with watermelon (precut) for dessert. Day 2 we had eggs, sausage, and diced potatoes (precooked) for breakfast. All cooked on the travel grill. For lunch we had chicken salad sandwiches and for dinner we had burritos cooked in a grill pie press. Day 3 we ha