Category Archives: project management

IEEE Offshore Panel Discussion

Today’s engineering managers need to be able to manage projects where some, or even all, of the engineers are located offshore. While the situation is becoming more common, the challenges and opportunities are still not widely understood. On the evening of March 6, the Silicon Valley IEEE Technology Management Council is bringing together 4 panelists, with diverse backgrounds and experience, to answer your questions about managing with offshore engineers.

Richard Danielson is Founder and President of PlanV Software. He has been a consumer and a provider of outsourced software development services since the mid-80s, working with offshore engineers from India, Russia, Israel, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam. One of Rich’s projects was helping Honeywell set up their Bangalore development center. In early 2007 Rich founded PlanV Software which provides Vietnam-based web and mobile device application development services to small and young companies.

Rakesh Gowda is the Director of Software Development at QuinStreet, a provider of online marketing and media services for nearly 600 clients, headquartered in Foster City. In 2005, Rakesh traveled back to his home country of India to set up QuinStreet’s development center in Pune, outside of Mumbai. He is pleased to report that the Pune team no longer requires his direct supervision for day-to-day operations. Rakesh holds a MS in Computer Science from Stanford and BE from the University of Mysore in India.

Accelerance CEO Steve Mezak has more than 25 years of software development experience and is a veteran of six Silicon Valley startups. He has served in a variety of management and technical roles, including CTO and CEO. Steve is also an internationally acclaimed speaker and author. His most recent book is Software Without Borders: A Step-By-Step Guide to Outsourcing Your Software Development. Steve holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he now serves as an advisor to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Dmytry Mykhaylov is a software engineer and project manager who has been working on geographically distributed projects for over 6 years. As a project manager he specializes in helping small to mid-sized projects in the Bay Area effectively incorporate offshore engineering talent. Dmytry firmly believes that an agile approach to project organization on all sides of a distributed team is key to a project’s success and profitability.

Chris Sims, founder of the Technical Management Institute, will moderated the panel.

Full details and registration can be found here.

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Agile Development Resources

Tonight I’m a guest lecturer at USF Cupertino, thanks to Juan Montermoso. Juan is an instructor as well as being president of Montermoso Associates, a marketing and training consultancy based in Silicon Valley.

Tonight’s talk is a subset of the material that I cover in my Agile Overview class.

Here are some links for those who will be at the class:

Wikipedia on:

Methodologies and Such:




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New Classes Available – For Free!

To celebrate America’s two hundred and thirty first birthday, The Technical Management Institute is reducing the price of our one-hour and two-hour classes to zip, zero, or free! For about the cost of a drink of tap water, you can have me come to your company and put on one of these short-format workshops. This will only last a limited time, so act now!

The current list of free short workshops:

The up-to-date list of all classes offered can be found here. Contact me to arrange your free class.

Happy birthday USA!

Photo courtesy of sarboo

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A Different Kind of Tolerance in the Workplace

Dannyman pointed out this quote from William L. McKnight, past Chairman of the Board at 3M.

As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way. Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it’s essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow.

This idea applies to the manager leading a small team, not just to the CEO. While giving guidance is necessary, controlling all aspects of how your team members work is not. Nobody wants to be micro-managed.

The other bit in there is tolerating mistakes. There are two broad categories of ‘mistakes’ that your people will make. The first type isn’t really a mistake at all, though you will think it is. They will choose to do things differently than you would. Very often, our instinct is that different is wrong, or at the very least, not as good as the way we would do the thing. After all, you are the manager, the leader, and the expert. Right? Remember all the times your boss wanted you to do things some way that was clearly not as good as the way you wanted to? Now that you are a leader, work hard not to be that boss.

The second type of mistake that your people will make is a mistake. It can be hard to tell this type of mistake from the first kind until the results are in. When these mistakes happen, err on the side of tolerance. Help the person to examine the mistake and learn from it, in a way that is supportive. Good people don’t like to fail. The pain of the failure will be punishment enough for them.

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