Are Your Managers Part of Your Team?

April 30, 2006

I just read a great post from Johanna Rothman's blog titled Are Your Managers Part of Your Team? In response to someone saying "Managers aren't part of the team.", Rothman writes "Blow me over with a feather. I agree that managers aren't part of the technical work that their team performs day-to-day (although some of my clients try to use their managers that way). And the more agile the team is, the less the manager can participate in the same way that the developers and testers do. But I thought managers were part of the team." She goes on to try and define what a team is:

  • Teams are small, generally 5-10 members
  • Teams are committed to a common purpose or goal
  • Teams have an agreed-upon approach to the work
  • Team members have complementary skills
  • Team members have interrelated or interdependent interim goals
  • Team members make commitments about tasks to each other

I agree with the above definition and the belief that managers are a part of "the team". Granted, many organizations insulate managers or bury them in bureaucracy, but if you aren't connecting with your team and providing the necessary guidance and support, you aren't really a manager – Or maybe your a manager but you're not really good at it? Here's some final words from Rothman's post:

Here's what I've seen. Yes, the manager (project manager, functional manager, whatever manager is associated with the team) has additional goals than just one project or team's work, especially if that manager is managing several projects or teams. The manager has additional commitments than just the ones with a given team. And managers who don't take their commitments to the team seriously are not part of that team. (I've been part of teams where we were united in our goals against the managers.)

There's always a tension between the managers and their management work–especially managing up–and the team's work. But I guess I'm still missing why great managers are not a part of their teams. Are your managers part of your team?

The direct link to Are Your Managers Part of Your Team? is: Be sure to check out the comments following the post for more insight on the subject and interesting comments on the content and final question posed by Rothman. It's definitely food for thought and should get you thinking about your role as a project/program/product/functional/etc. manager with respect to your team. Your comments are always welcome. As always – Enjoy!

source post : Raven (


Do Engineers Use Their Software?

April 30, 2006

As a software and product development project manager I always find it interesting when other's write about developers/engineers testing their code. I just read a brief post by J. Rothman: Do Engineers Use Their Software?. I know, I know – it's a touchy subject. A lot of the time there is such a schedule crunch that dev's barely have time to check an update in before the next scheduled build, and test/QA is often pushing for the code ASAP so they can get a head start on preparing test cases or updating automated smoke tests. However, far too often we see sub par code simply tossed over the wall with no thought of going beyond a few clicks on the engineers dev box. How worn out is the phrase "It works on my box." and how frustrating is it when a capable coder continues to churn out sloppy code or considers it QA's job to run the first pass? When did accountability for complete functionality, including, at a minimum, a first pass, and personal quality stop counting, and when did "good enough to get by" replace the desire to be the very best at what you do? I know, it sounds like I'm picking on developers today and perhaps I am, but only the sloppy Joe's that rip through a task and head for the door with no thought on ensuring the code will integrate successfully, or even function, for that matter. For all of the brilliant engineers out there – I salute you! It's a dirty job and you do it well! Now I'll step down from my soap box and refer a great post from J. Rothman: Do Engineers Use Their Software?, which is what brought my diatribe on. Check it out:

My friend and colleague, Stever Robbins, has started a blog, and one of his early posts is Are engineers living on another planet? Don'?t they use their software?

Unfortunately, not always. It takes self-discipline and the desire to look for problems to cause people to create systems that allow them to use their own software. If a project team only builds once a week, they're not going to use their software. If they fix a bunch of defects at one time, the testers can't do a complete install and test pieces in isolation. Instead, the testers need to install the whole darn thing and test everything together.

The current phrase for using your own software under development is "eating your own dog food." (Anyone know the origin of that phrase? I'm fairly sure I was using in the 80's, before Microsoft popularized it.) It's not easy to use the product under development. And, it's a great idea.

Direct URL to post:

Thanks to Johanna Rothman for the great info and check out the post she references: Are engineers living on another planet? Don'?t they use their software? for another interesting view point on the topic. As always your comments are welcome – Enjoy!

source post: Raven (

Transforming Bicycle Cart

April 29, 2006


If you're tight for space on the subway and don't mind looking like a doofus on the street, Lutz's bicycle-cart saves you from owning a bike and a luggage roller. Bicycle by day, cart by later that day, the Carry-Bike is useful in both modes.The next time some BART (that's the mass transit system here in the Bay Area) conductor gives you a hard time about your bike, change it into a carry cart and tell him that his job will never allow him to afford this fancy contraption. Then watch as he beats you with said cart.

Now available for $380 USD. We're just kidding about that conductor jab, too. Seriously.

source post  [Gizmodo –Carry-Bike]

Luggage with built-in scales

April 29, 2006


I've long accepted that I'll never be one of those people who travel light. Add that to my shopaholic tendencies, and you have somebody for whom the baggage check-in counter holds a particular kind of terror. Bathroom scales are not very precise with suitcases, and while some hotel staff will oblige using more suitable scales, chances are that you would have exceeded the limit by then – a little late to change your mind about those last few purchases.

The Solutions range by Ricardo Beverly Hills includes 2 large suitcases (25 inch and 28 inch) which are perfect for people like me. Each comes with built-in digital scales. After packing, push the "on" button, lift the carry handle, and the LCD displays the combined weight of suitcase and contents in either pounds or kilograms.

I think this idea is ingenious, and I can only hope that it catches on with other luggage manufacturers.

source post [PopGadget – OhGizmo!]

地瓜葉的養分 稱霸蔬果界

April 29, 2006




她表示,研究發現,每天只要吃300公克的鮮綠地瓜葉,就能滿足1個人1天的維生素A、C、E及鐵的需求,黃色與紅色葉的地瓜葉營養成分雖然比綠色低,但 其抗氧化物的含量,較一般日常食用的蔬菜高5到10倍,紅色葉又富含花青素,有抗氧化效果,而所有的地瓜葉都含有多量的酚,具有抗氧化及抗癌性。

楊瑞玉指出,地瓜葉中還含有dicaffeoyl quinic acids成分,這種成分對愛滋病患者來說,合併藥物治療能提高治療的效果。


source post [聯合報] 2006.04.29

New Yahoo! Widgets

April 29, 2006

Yahoo Widget – Taiwan Satellite Weather

This displays satellite weather imagery of Taiwan, which is fetched from

Yahoo! Widget – Babylon Box

Single-click online translation service. Enjoy the world's leading dictionary and thesaurus by Babylon and Wikipedia. Get instant translations, information and conversions with Babylon. Translate to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and other languages.

Office 2.0 Database: Web-based office app directory

April 26, 2006

Office 2.0 DatabaseHaving trouble keeping track of all the companies that are building the current crop of web-based office apps? The Office 2.0 Database is a handy directory of all of 'em, broken down into categories. Need a web-based word processor? You've got eight to choose from. PowerPoint replacement? Five of 'em, and so on. There's even quite a few on the list that I hadn't heard of, like Calcoolate, a simple web-based calculator that stays out of your way but has some nice features like keeping track of all of your previous solutions and letting you give them names for easy access later on. The Office 2.0 Database has lots of columns of metadata and even links to TechCrunch's reviews of almost every single one.



source post [download squad]