Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tips for moving from dev to management

Management isn't for everyone, but without it we'd probably be unable to get anything done in a corporate structure.   It's planning, organizing and leading, delegating tasks and letting other people succeed.  These skills aren't completely diametrically opposed to strictly technical positions, but it's pretty close.  It's probably why everyone is familiar with some of the most talented engineers struggling to succeed in a management role.

With that being said, it can be done, and if you' have the right temperament and frame of mind, you can not only succeed at it but you might even enjoy management.  Here's a couple of points stick out that are good to keep in mind.
  1. You don't get to manage 10 of you. You were put into this role because you probably outperformed your peers, so don't think that you'll get to manage ten top performers.  However, hopefully you'll get complimentary set of skills that you can leverage to 
  2. Build a team, a team is a group of individuals working towards a common goal.  Be a constant reminder of what your team is working towards.
  3. Realize your words carry more weight than they did before, so choose them carefully.  Have select people to confide in "off the record" is important, but it's also important to not vent everything to your team.
  4. Think small at first.  It's amazing how a series of small, incremental improvements can affect employee morale, you won't be able to complete restructure the organization, but you can make your team more customer service focused and as a result, end up with happier customers, either internal or external.
  5. Get to know who is working for you, weekly or bi-weekly informal one on one sessions are great.  Ask lots of questions, find out how they tick, every single person has a unique viewpoint and way of thinking and working.  By learning how your team members think and learn you will be better suited to managing them and assigning them the work most likely to keep them happy.


Recently, I reminded myself that I used to write, volumes and volumes of nonsense.  Although some of it made sense, most was just stream of consciousness  that really didn't make any sense.   When I wrote with pen I seldomly used the back space and didn't worry too much about misspellings.  In this blog I can see already that it doesn't like the word seldomly so I should check if I am spelling it correctly.   Interesting that seldom is an adverb and seldomly isn't really a word, I'm not going to correct it now or else the context would be lost.

So, I found some old pictures today while cleaning out the garage and that got me thinking.  When I look back on pictures from ten or twenty years ago, there's usually a consistent progress of thought.  Initial thoughts usually are around how much fun I had in those days, second thoughts are around how much better I looked 15 years ago, finally a sense of contentment comes over me where I'm grateful to have those memories but even more grateful to be where I am in my life today.

Today, right now, is the best possible moment in the world.  Every single breath is a gift from God not be taken lightly, the breath is a gift from God, what we do with that breath is our gift to Him.  I find myself crying all the time these days at the simplest things, simple movies will bring me to tears, just today I cried at the end of "Sandlot", remembering those days with me and my friends playing baseball, but also crying for my children who don't know such simple unstructured pleasures in today's strictly regimented extra curricular society.  Now, I don't feel sorry that for my kids per se, because this is the world that they know and all they need to know is that they are loved.  It's only my knowledge of my past that shapes that emotion.

Writing like this reminds me of why I could never be a writer, because I could never get to or make anything to could be remotely construed as a point.  In conversation as in writing, I enjoy the journey more than the destination.  Kerouac would never allow his rambling to be edited, always saying the words came straight from God to his pen and were not to be altered.   Of course he was actually a gifted writer and story teller, if he rambled to this extent with no point, he would have never had much success as a writer.

There was something else, and it was about love.  I was sitting outside in the backyard looking at our house, and thinking how cool it is that me and my baby have had so many magical moments and have created so many incredible memories in this house.  With so many more to come, it's unfathomable to think what is to come, but I have no fear, zero fear of the future. Why?  Because I wear a coat of love,  a coat of love and gore-tex.  The love protects me and comforts me, the gore-tex keeps the water out while still breathing.  Both are important, but the love never wears out, and if you care for it correctly it actually gets better over time.

Now I remember why I used to write so much, the act of writing in and of itself is cathartic.  I do it for no one else other than me.  It is a cleansing experience; putting a stake in the sand of time, capturing where my head was at that singular moment.