Change the Indispensable Employee Mindset

Years ago, I was the expert for two specific products in a small development organization. When it came time for my manager to divide up the work, I always got those products to add features to, or maintain. That was fine for a while, until I got bored. I went to my...

New Year’s Tips Posted

I have posted my most recent Pragmatic Manager newsletter on my site. Read Johanna’s 2014 New Years Tips. I have a question for you. I send the newsletter to my subscribers the last week of the year. I call them “this-year” tips. Some people ask me...

Team Competition is Not Friendly

I once worked in an organization where the senior managers thought they should motivate us, the team members. They decided to have a team competition, complete with prizes. I was working on a difficult software problem with a colleague on another team. We both needed...

Who Removes Your Obstacles?

In self-organizing teams, teams remove their own obstacles. It’s a good idea. It can be difficult in practice. In Scrum, the Scrum Master is supposed to facilitate removing the team’s obstacles that the team can’t remove. It’s a good idea. It...

Five Tips for Tactical Management

Sometimes, you just need to get on with the work. You need to give yourself some breathing room so you can think for a while. Here are some tips that will help you tackle the day-to-day management work: Schedule and conduct your one-on-ones. Being a manager means you...

Is Your Culture Working the Way You Think it Is?

Long ago, I was a project manager and senior engineer for a company undergoing a Change Transformation. You know the kind, where the culture changes, along with the process. The senior managers had bought into the changes. The middle managers were muddling through,...