Is Technical Debt Strangling Your Department and Your Career?

“It just feels like most of the time, we are trying to crawl up a muddy hill while people push boulders from the top at us.”   A developer speaking about tech debt Pat, a director of a team of software developers, cried out with dismay. “What do you mean that technical debt is strangling […]

Create a Frame for People to be Heroes

Through a Picture Frame Seeing a Bright Future

“PASSION IS ENERGY. FEEL THE POWER THAT COMES FROM FOCUSING ON WHAT EXCITES YOU.” OPRAH WINFREY Recently, I witnessed two different ways to handle the same challenge. I attended two meetings. The goal of each meeting was to choose a way forward that would affect many people for a long time. In each meeting, there […]

Focus on the Big, Scary, Long Term Goals


“YOU’LL FIND I’M FULL OF SURPRISES.“ LUKE SKYWALKER Despite how much we complain, there is a joy to working on urgent items. They give us a ready excuse for not working on the hard things.   We might shout, “Oh, I can’t work on the crucial long-term work. This crisis must be dealt with quickly!”   […]

Everyone Makes Mistakes

Oops Cartoon Captions

“I HAVE LEARNED ALL KINDS OF THINGS FROM MY MANY MISTAKES. THE ONE THING I NEVER LEARN IS TO STOP MAKING THEM.”  JOE ABERCROMBIE About 23 years ago, I did a course in software development where I tracked every mistake I made. It was shocking and disheartening. I made too many mistakes. And I found […]

Are You Prepared

“I’VE HAD A LOT OF WORRIES IN MY LIFE, MOST OF WHICH NEVER HAPPENED.” MARK TWAIN Last night, it snowed about 7 inches. The snow was not a surprise, and we were prepared. I was out at daybreak, clearing pathways for all to enjoy. I have always appreciated the Mark Twain quote noted above, but […]

Why Invest $ in Training, Coaching, & Making Leaders Better?

Training Pays Off

YOU MUST HAVE CONVICTION. THE FIRST SALE IS TO YOURSELF. “THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN TRAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES AND HAVING THEM LEAVE IS NOT TRAINING THEM AND HAVING THEM STAY.” — HENRY FORD Leadership is the number one factor in organizational and team productivity. In one of my Masters of Science courses, I learned an important […]

Without Data, Talk About Quality Is Just Talk

Data Everywhere

IMMUTABLE LAW OF SPEED #4:THE HIGHER THE COST OF REWORK, THE SLOWER YOU ARE GOING.— FROM ALAN WILLETT’S BOOK, LEAD WITH SPEED This old picture I found well represents what I am talking about today. That broken axel has disrupted everyone’s workday. This disruption removes everyone involved from any creative work they were doing to […]

When Sparks Fly, Use The Heat To Forge Stronger Ideas

“WHEN SPARKS FLY, SOME TRULY GREAT IDEAS COME TO LIGHT.” — DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON Even on the small screen of the video conference, the body language was clear. The teammates were about to engage in an argument based on some firmly held beliefs. The sparks were going to fly. At points like this, the two most […]

Leadership Value is Measured in the Improvements of Those You Lead

Business professionals at work

“IF YOUR ACTIONS INSPIRE OTHERS TO DREAM MORE, LEARN MORE, DO MORE, AND BECOME MORE, YOU ARE A LEADER.“— JOHN QUINCY ADAMS I have recently been engaged in a discussion around an important question. “How do I know that my leadership is valuable? What are my measures of success?” During this discussion, I received a note […]

Thank Some Engineers, FOR OUR SECOND LIVES

Climbing to Success

“IT AIN’T NO SIN TO BE GLAD YOU’RE ALIVE.”  — BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, BADLANDS This Thursday in the United States is our Thanksgiving holiday. This holiday means many things for many people.  For me, this is a week of conscious gratitude. Today, I want to thank the engineers and scientists who have advanced the state of […]

That Feeling When What You Delivered Doesn’t Work

That Sick Feeling

INSTEAD, KNOW IT WILL WORK “GIVE THEM QUALITY. THAT’S THE BEST KIND OF ADVERTISING.”  — MILTON HERSHEY Everyone in the NASA mission control live feed was in varying states of despair. I vividly remember watching this with the same feeling of worry myself. One of the Mars probes had failed to respond after the estimated […]

How Do You Know If the Team Has Taken Ownership?

Team Buy In

THEY KNOW MORE, CARE MORE, DO MORE THAN YOU “THE SUCCESS OF A VISION IS DETERMINED BY ITS OWNERSHIP BY BOTH THE LEADER AND THE PEOPLE.“   — JOHN C. MAXWELL “How do I know if the team has taken ownership of the challenge they have been given?” When I have been asked this question, I know […]

Focus First on What is Necessary

Speed To Value Diagram

“IT IS NO USE SAYING “WE ARE DOING OUR BEST.” YOU HAVE GOT TO SUCCEED IN DOING WHAT IS NECESSARY.” — WINSTON CHURCHILL In my consulting, I have seen some organizations working long hours but not achieving the organizational mission. In their minds, they are giving their “best-effort” because they are working so hard. Often, they are […]