Managment by walking around

As promised some thoughts about managment. For those that do not know currently I am working as a „Head of Engineering“ which means 25 engineers and 2 Scrum Masters are my direct reports.
One of the main challenges I am facing is how to get at least a glympse about how people are feeling and what they do to be able to provide feedback and advice at the right moment. On the other hand people want to know what I am doing because also this is mostly not obvious to the people. And this os not their fault because beside people managment I have some projects and also I am quite often on the road either becuase of the projects or also th show face in one of the other locations.
Basically the question is how to take care about a certain level of interaction and providing information to the people. Yes, regular one-to-ones are one option and I do it. But to be honest I am not capable of do that more often than once a month with each of them.
People als tend not to come and ask their „boss“: What are you doing? Or stating: Mhhh, today I feel not well today.
So, it might sound funny, but I really try to spend half an hour a day, walking around the office and the kitchen, drinking a coffee with the guys or just approaching them at their desk talking to them about projects or even work unrelated stuff. One might think that really distrubs them and distracts them from their current work but you get a really good feeling if they are in the tunnel or have some minutes for chat. From my point of view it is even the other way around so they really appreciate me, coming around and being interested in what they are doing. And this is not pretending because I am interested. Sometimes it is even enough to stick your head in the office and have a look around and you feel if something is going on or everything is okay.
For me this is really super important and this half an hour has imho one of the best ROIs of all management tools that I know so far.

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Why I blog

Often I ask myself what is the reason to write articles in my blog. Is it useful? Does somebody read the stuff? Or is this just a waste of time?

Perhaps the last question is easy to answer. I would not do it if it would be useless. But why do I do it?

This is much harder to answer. According to the stats some people are reading my blog. So do you 😉 At the moment approx. 70 per week. So thanks for that. But back to the topic…

Basically for me the main reason is that I use this blog as a kind of notepad for stuff I did. It is quite cool to browse back in history and see what I have blogged about. It started as a blog to tell about my holidays to Australia and then evolved to something completly different: A blog about coding and other tech related topics. Kind of cool for me.

So what will this blog look like in the future? I don’t know but for sure I will continue to blog. Quite likely there is the idea to switch a bit more into the direction of IT management and organisation topics what fits to my current role as a Head of Software Engineering. But still there will be some more tech topics, too.

So stay tuned and I feel free to share and comment my articles.

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Bragi’s The dash – first short review

I kickstarted nearly 18 months ago The Dash from Bragi.

So what I can say so far after 2 weeks of testing:

  • The fit is excellent
  • Step no one is updating the software
  • Microphone quality is really poor
  • Bluetooth range is very limited

To summarise it is really a nice gadget if you want to listen to music while on a bike or running but doing phone calls is really a mess for the guy on the other end of the line.

What I really miss is an integration into third party fitness apps. But seems to be more like a general problem in the industry that everyone does his own hardware bundled with his own app. Hope that changes in the future.

But definitely this is the right direction of a device and I hope that more stuff likes this comes to the market.

I’ll keep you updated if I have more insights on The Dash.

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