The other day I had an opportunity to address my team, almost half of the audience were new to my organization, including our summer interns. I saw it as a chance to capture the imagination of these new members, and I thought it went well. As I did some self-reflection on the event, a little nugget emerged as a general lesson in leadership: Know Your Numbers.
Know Your Numbers means that leaders ought to have an inventory of key statistics in their back pocket, along with an understanding of how to use these numbers appropriately to make the desired point. In my case, I lead a growing laboratory so I used the relevant leading indicator to make that point. Upon doing that, I did notice multiple and very clear non-verbal cues from the audience that the message was received.
So, leaders, what are your numbers? Can you pull them out on the fly and use them to support points during crucial conversations? As I found out, it can really help shape other’s perception of your leadership.
The link above is to a nice opinion piece about the “No Budget, No Pay” act that recently passed, and has now been signed by the President.
Obviously not a cure-all for Washington’s ills, but it is a step in the right direction toward holding Congress accountable for passing a budget.
Congratulations to nolabels.org for spearheading the effort. It shows yet again that grassroots efforts can make a difference, and this one is great as it prioritizes progress over ideology.
Posted in Buzzing Topics, Leisure, Management and Leadership Topics, Personal Stories, Rants
Tagged 2013, accountability, bipartisan, budget, congress, Feb 2013, government, leadership, legislation, no budget no pay, no labels, obama, politics, progress
Some of the cool stuff we are doing at 3M in software are some of the industry’s best kept secrets. One example is our Littmann 3200 Bluetooth Stethoscope. My team worked with the division to create this system. This telemedicine technology is some really cool stuff. Here’s a link to a great video about this project. Also, it’s getting some great press from healthcare leaders, highlighted by a great post coming out of Microsoft.
We’ve got several more examples of great software technology coming out of 3M. Stay tuned as I intend to share more about what we are doing!
Posted in Buzzing Topics, Management and Leadership Topics, Software Development, Technology Topics
Tagged 2013, 3m, best kept secrets, bluetooth, Feb, Feb_2013, gadgets, great software, healthcare leaders, Littmann, microsoft, stethoscope, technology, telemedicine technology, work
I just got my hands on Delivering Mobile-Friendly Websites with MVC4, authored by my colleague and friend Lyle Luppes (blog). I am really happy for him and this accomplishment.
I am not a software engineer, so I would not get much personal value in reading this book. However, I would not hesitate recommending this work to any software engineer interested in this topic. I have worked with Lyle for many years, on many projects, and I know his work to be thorough. Great job, Lyle! Congratulations on this accomplishment!
Posted in Buzzing Topics, Management and Leadership Topics, Mobile Development, Reading, Software Development, Technology Topics
Tagged 2012, august 2012, book, book review, mobile, MVC, mvc4, software, software_engineering
Last night I finished 12 Seconds to Project Management Greatness. Mr. Everett is a former colleague of mine, and we have fought the good fight together some years ago. I can say with great certainty and experience that the concepts discussed in the book are well rooted in reality, and any project manager could benefit from reading this book.
I appreciated the approach Mr. Everett took in creating this work, as it read more like a screenplay or novel which made what is a pretty dry topic a lot more interesting. I enjoyed meeting the Master Project Managers in the respective locations around the world and hearing some of the well-crafted stories. There were a few nuggets I took from the book that I can apply to my daily work, as well as a few reminders of things I instinctively knew, but haven’t practiced effectively for some time.
I agree wholeheartedly that if one was to master each of the Project Management Imperatives written in this book that they would be a great Project Manager. As the book concluded, our hero Alex is suddenly transformed into a great Project Manager, and his world is made right almost immediately. It made for a great story, but as the story was winding down, I couldn’t help but being reminded of a recent encounter with one of Minnesota’s great baseball heroes, Tony Oliva.
I was with my son at a Twins baseball game, and we had the rare opportunity to have an extended conversation with Mr. Oliva as we were introduced by a mutual acquaintance. My 11 year old son asked him, “what is the secret to hitting?” Mr. Oliva responded with two thoughts. The first comment was very simple, “Practice.” The second piece of advice regarding practice came a few seconds later, “When you practice, don’t try to be perfect, just make better” (broken English intended). That’s good advice to young baseball players and Project Managers alike regarding development – it is important to view development as a journey.
The tools found in the back serve effectively as a roadmap to go on that journey, and I recommend any Project Manager take the time to leverage those tools for their own development. For me, that was a key value of the book.
Congratulations to Mr. Everett on a fine piece of work, and I look forward to the continuing story of Alex Pilgrim.
I am wiped out as I am on the plane home from my most recent experience at MIT. This week the topic was Big Data. Big Data is a big topic around the water cooler these days, so I thought it would be important to learn more about it. The title of the course was Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler. This was a 2 day Executive Education course designed to brief managers and executives on this exploding field.
First of all, if you are interested in this topic I highly recommend making the investment of time and money to attend a future offering. Professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Sandy Pentland, leading researchers in Big Data present a well-crafted curriculum that connects a great deal of their research around how Big Data now provides the technology framework to do, very quickly, what researchers have done for years – create hypotheses, design experiments and analyze results. Because of Big Data technologies, organizations can become more data-driven in their operations and/or product development. Key issues including data privacy and data ownership are discussed as well, but this landscape is changing very rapidly, so it was challenging to go into too much depth.
If you are looking to better understand Big Data technologies, this is not the course to take. However, if you are looking to spend a few days better understanding the ramifications of Big Data and how they impact organizations, I highly recommend making the investment. The participants in the class contributed greatly to the discourse, which I appreciated as well. Plus, it was a great place to network and find out what is happening in other industries related to Big Data.
Posted in Agile, Big Data, Buzzing Topics, Management and Leadership Topics, Mobile Development, Software Development, Technology Topics
Tagged Big data, change, data, management, research, review, technology
At last, the new iPad has arrived. This post will capture my very early impressions. I will have more to say after I have gotten to work with it a bit more.
First, the setup was smooth and was done using a backup I had stored in the iCloud. That was really neat, and it saved a lot of time — I was done in less than 5 minutes. I was up and running in just a few minutes. After the initial setup was done, I went back in and changed some sync preferences since this iPad had a little more space so I could carry some movies with me now.
The display is absolutely amazing. The HD clarity is a big improvement over the iPad 2. The dictation feature seems to work well also. The device itself looks almost identical to the predecessor. If I had to say anything, it might be a tad heavier, but if it is actually it can’t be by much.
More to come later as I use the device a little more. At this point, I say “well done, Apple!”
Samsung Galaxy Note at CES 2012
Perhaps one of the most compelling announcements at the CES event last week was the Samsung Galaxy Note phone. Their pitch was that this larger form factor phone removes the need to carry a tablet (e.g. iPad) and a phone. The picture to the right highlights some of the key features. The most prominent is the presence of a pen/stylus which enables the ability to do very precise drawing and sketching. It’s thin profile and very soft display make it very easy to use (on the eyes, that is).
Caricatures on the Samsung Galaxy Note
The photo on the right was taken in the concourse of the Las Vegas Convention Center. People were lined up hundreds deep to get their caricature done by a professional artist on the Galaxy Note. It was arguably one of the most popular exhibition of the show. I think it’s a neat device that will probably do well this year.
Here’s a link to their promo on YouTube.
Here’s a blog post with some of the technical details, including lack of an actual release date in the US.