What Does Exceptional Engineering Management Look Like?

By Gary Hinkle Managing engineering and other technical functions is mind-bogglingly difficult for many people in these roles. It’s more difficult than managing non-technical work because of the complexity involved and what’s at stake. The challenges related to managing technical work require special skills and suitable people who embrace the challenges. There is a severe…

Getting Started with EI

By Susan de la Vergne What We Didn’t Learn in School The education systems that hatched us emphasized logical reasoning and memorization. That’s the way to maximize our brain potential! Courses are designed to use our cognitive intelligence, and once we successfully complete a lot of them (the courses, that is), we’re ready. That’s led…

The Art of Telling People What to Do

The Art of Telling People What to Do – Advice for Project Leaders By Gary Hinkle When you were a kid, people told you what to do. Later in life, the same. We don’t like to be told what to do. When we think about delegation, it comes with this baggage: that being told what…

What is “Job Satisfaction” Anyway?

By Susan de la Vergne
Scenario 1) Mark, a software engineer in Silicon Valley, disliked his boss. “If only I worked for Ekan instead of Sean. Sean argues with me all the time. It’s like he doesn’t think I know what I’m doing.” So Mark manages to get transferred to Ekan, who has a reputation as a hands-off, high energy manager. But after Mark makes the move, he finds out Ekan has a short fuse, gets furious and comes unglued when a sev 1 problem hits the team, as it often does.

Are We Just Grouchy People?

By Susan de la Vergne
Have you ever noticed how often we’re dissatisfied about how things are going or about what other people are doing? People are stupid / wrong / mean / impossible. Systems are slow. Traffic is a nightmare. Management doesn’t get it.

Why Active Listening Stinks

By Chris Sheesley
Anyone motivated to read this article already knows active listening skills through exposure to it in training and books. Yet, if you’re like most people, you find it strangely distasteful to be either the giver or receiver of active listening technique.

What Keeps Engineers from Advancing in Their Careers?

By Gary Hinkle
Chris is an engineer at a leading scientific instrument company, and his career is stuck. He hasn’t been promoted in years. He’s an Engineer III, but he thinks he should be at least a IV (out of six levels altogether). He has more than ten years of experience, and he knows he’s made several significant technical contributions to the company’s products.

Write Better. I Dare You.

By Susan de la Vergne
You’re in the airport, about to board a five-hour flight across country. You stop at the paperback stand, looking for something to read. “I’d like to find something kinda boring, something formulaic, written using a template,” you say to yourself. “I’m looking for something that’s very predictable, no surprises, and the writer should use a lot of boilerplate language.