Thursday, July 31, 2008

Response to "11 Behaviors Most Disliked by IT Leaders" by Simon Stapleton.

My Comments:

1) On procrastination: People who don't want to make any decision except for 100% certainty decisions are afraid. Afraid of what, you ask? Afraid of being criticized by their supervisors.

2) People BS to cover their perceived inadequacies. They want to look good. Again, out of fear their true nature will seem lacking.

3) Too much detail: They want to preempt the uncomfortable questions by higher ups. Higher ups have a way of asking questions that often make the underling feel belittled/threatened.

4) On over-use of process: it's classic CYA. If the shit hits the fan, then you can point to the process and say: "But, I followed the process".

5) Coffee-machine diplomacy, or, what I like to call "back-door shenanigans" are a symptom that open meetings and discussions do not foster openness and frankness from the rank and file.

6) Irrational Management: Nobody can be an expert. Granted. But in many companies, "I don't know" is the wrong answer. So better an answer that doesn't make sense than no answer. People would rather be known as hard-asses than ignorants.

7) Defensiveness. Being defensive comes from fear. Fear of not being accepted, valued, and recognized.

8) Victim Mentality. Sometimes, just sometimes, people might accurately see themselves as victims of a system that is designed to grind them down and spit them out. The only way out of that is to foster very open communications and to have great management skills. An anecdote: my 2007 performance review was abysmal. I blamed poor management of the resource I provide. Management disagreed. But wait: here's an interesting fact: in 2007 I had (count'em) 8 different managers. Did I play the Victim card or did I point out a real problem?

9) Email-itis. Again, fueled by fear. Much email is of the CYA sort. Also, it's easier to bring someone up to speed when there's an email trail. As far as bcc: that's either CYA or politics/gossip. As far as mass-email, that's disseminating information. A management function. If people are doing it in email, that means management is not doing it well.

10) Blackberry ignorance. Doing anything in a meeting besides being involved is detrimental. Perhaps, though, the meeting is rambling endlessly and the people who want to get work done have to do it in spite of the meeting. My recommendation: post a clear meeting agenda ahead of time and invite people on a voluntary basis. If they don't want to come to meetings, this says a lot about the value of the meetings.

11) Merit-whores: People do it because it works. it works at getting raises, promotions, visibility. It works because companies don't have a good systems or valuing individual contributions.

My take: the IT leaders are the ones who cause most of these problems. I would suggest they read about the Victim Mentality (point 8 in the post), as well as pick up The Elegant Solution: Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743290178/ - less than $5 used).

Simon, overall, quite interesting information.

This is also posted at 11 Behaviors Most Disliked by IT Leaders.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A list apart web developer survey

I just took the web developer survey at AListApart. Took about 3 minutes. Interesting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

appsnap

I downloaded, installed and ran appsnap, a pseudo-application package manager for windows. So far it has worked very well.

Jennifer Oya's blog

Hasn't been updated in a while, but I'm gonna work on getting service restored.

Update: August 18, service restored. See here for the latest and greatest!

Todd's Place on Sunday

I went to Todd Loewenstein's house last Sunday (july 27 2008) and had BBQ tri-tip, sausage, chicken, as well as good beer, ice cream, oreo cheesecake, and chips. There, I met his friend Curtis, and spoke to Drew, who's a teacher/administrator at Inglewood School District. Drew said he had a good idea on how to fix the educational system and I look forward to that conversation.

Thanks for the great food Todd!

Todd runs arcostream.com, and I'm doing some work there.

fsrm quotas and free space

My company recently implemented windows 2003 server file servers with directory quotas. So far so good. The problem is how does the user find out the amount of space remaining on the directory. google.com and even cuil.com (not that I was expecting much from it) can't get me much help. In both cases I get led to a technet article, but it doesn't help.

I'll be looking on and off for a solution, and if I find anything I'll post here.

Update: found this basically describing the problem.

Friday, July 25, 2008

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Rosemary at FreshBooks.com

So right after my post on freshbooks, I get this email:

Hi Chris,

I noticed your mention of FreshBooks on your recent blog post and wanted to send you a note thanking you for the coverage! (I work as their pr representation) If you haven’t seen it yet, I thought you may want be interested in their new upgrade! Details below, enjoy FreshBooks!

Best,

Rosemarie


Nice!

Tim Peter's blog, a puzzle, and instant solution.

I was at http://www.timpeter.com/blog/ and I thought to myself, woah, the web site is slow, is he that busy? I hop to twitter, and what do I find? Tim complaining about dreamhost. Riddle solved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The twitter fail whale is in the house.

Instants after my twitter post, the failwhale rears its sleepy head. Coincidence?

Volunteer Community Organizer Job for pmclinic

Scott Berkun put out the call. Let him not be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

OpenProject

I've been looking for a SaaS (hate that acronym already) that helps doing project management. I've found openproj, and while I tried it, I can't help but think that this is an overkill... What else should I use for simple, simple stuff?

Started using FreshBooks

I started using freshbooks, and so far, so good!

Easy to use, feature-rich, and fast.

Go Sign Up!

Note: The link above will get me referral cash from freshbooks. You want me to be financially prosperous, right? Right?

Thank you :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Immigration Lawyer

I thought very highly of Eli Rich, the immigration lawyer who took care of my wife's case and that of a few friends. He got rich and sold his practice, and it's still there: http://www.johnperrylaw.com/

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Twitter shows the whale

I'm liking twitter a lot more when it is down daily, or even twice-daily. It seems more human. Humans aren't available 24x7. The biology of humans doesn't support that kind of uptime, and neither does the whale's.

I am strangely reminded of the tagamotchi. Shall we all become virtual whale well-wishers?

Just an observation that sporadic unavailability makes a bunch of bits on platters and ram seem more human.