Giving Away Your Service for Free on Weekends

Copilot is a cool application that lets you control someone else’s computer. So you can receive technical support remotely. You let someone access your computer and copilot takes care of the sometimes very complex task of linking the two computers up (getting through firewalls, etc.). You can use it to fix your parents computer after […]

Management Improvement Carnival #6

Management Improvement ideas from around the web: Lean Q&A by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “There is no recipe, no three-ring binder approach to lean. If someone brings you an approach and says “here is the best way to implement lean,” please, run away.” Seven steps to remarkable customer service by Joel Spolsky – “The superficial and […]

Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service

Once again Joel Spolsky spins a great post with, Seven steps to remarkable customer service. Read it. It’s crucial that tech support have access to the development team. This means that you can’t outsource tech support: they have to be right there at the same street address as the developers, with a way to get […]

The Psychology of Too Much Choice

An understanding of psychology is one of the four components of Dr. Deming’s management system. This understanding lies behind practices such as: driving out fear, respect for people and eliminating slogans. In an organization all the components (practices, processes, investments, training, people, suppliers, customers…) interact with the others. Dr. Deming tried to develop a system […]

The IT Iceberg Secret

The Iceberg Secret, Revealed by Joel Spolsky It’s pretty clear that programmers think in one language, and MBAs think in another. I’ve been thinking about the problem of communication in software management for a while, because it’s pretty clear to me that the power and rewards accrue to those rare individuals who know how to […]

Sub-Optimize

From the “you call this agile?” department by Joel Spolsky: Yes, context switching is painful. Yes, you need to take into account the costs of context switching when you interrupt someone’s work. But every decision has pros and cons and when I hear a manager who is just talking about the cons without considering the […]

Dangers of Extrinsic Motivation

The Econ 101 Management Method by Joel Spolsky. Once again Joel presents interesting ideas very well – past posts referencing Joel. But when you offer people money to do things that they wanted to do, anyway, they suffer from something called the Overjustification Effect. “I must be writing bug-free code because I like the money […]

Interviews with Innovators

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston is an interesting looking book to be published in a few months. The book consists of interviews with founders of technology companies exploring the initial efforts to create a new company. Interviews include: David Heinemeier Hansson [the broken link was removed] (who many of […]

Problems Caused by Performance Appraisal

People are increasingly challenging the notion that we just have to live with performance appraisal systems. As usually, I will make my suggestion that chapter 9 of the Leader’s Handbook offers great material on performing without appraisal (and the rest of the book is great too).