Productivity

Most of us despise meetings, and for good reasons. A typical meeting is unnecessary, annoying, has the wrong invitees and sucks energy for little or no benefit. We’d rather keep working on our priority projects than going to a meeting. However, when done right, meetings can be very productive, engaging, and fun. Throughout my career, I have collected a few tips, and now I genuinely love productive meetings. You can easily meet your objectives when you incorporate several of these tips to your firm. Read more →


Our productivity depends on innovation, and innovation is driven by intense curiosity – the quest to find out: “Is there a way to do this better, cheaper or faster?” This type of question prompted Elon Musk to found SpaceX, Larry Page and Sergey Brin to start Google, Jeff Bezos to create Amazon, and Michael Dell to start Dell. Asking “Why” prompted Sean Moore to invent the Crescent Rod, a curved shower curtain rod; and four Harvard students to invent Soccket – a soccer ball that generates electrical power for underprivileged families through kinetic energy. In her book “The Power of Why” business journalist Amanda Lang reveals how asking “Why?” can fuel innovation and promote a spirit of inquiry in your workplace. She offers valuable insights and excellent case histories. Her findings have helped executives and people from all sorts of life to be innovative and productive. Read more →


The performance of the team is one of the critical factors for a successful project. Therefore, Google conducted a study to find out what makes a Google team effective. They used extensive data and rigorous analysis. The study took over two years, consisted of more than 200 double-blind interviews, and 250 attributes. Through this process, they busted a few myths and realized their assumptions were wrong. The characteristics of the team members are not as important as how they interact, structure their work and view their contributions. Read more →


Your written, verbal and nonverbal communication skills are instrumental, especially in today’s working environment. Nevertheless, many professionals make a number of common communication mistakes that damage their image and credibility, in addition to conveying an unintended and unclear message. The full expression of your message includes not only what you say, but also how you say it, and how you present yourself. You achieve true, accurate communication only when the other person understands what you mean exactly. Follow these 17 practical tips to overcome everyday speaking and presentation blunders. By removing these barriers, you will be able to work productively with people from different backgrounds, roles, and levels in the organization. Read more →


To achieve extraordinary results in both work and life, we must do two things: 1) turn our to-do-everything approach into a targeted “One Thing” approach, and 2) manage our time productively. Multitasking is not effective since success requires long periods of laser-focused concentration. If you find your “One Thing,” everything else will fall into place. In this article, I summarize seven recommendations based on his research and experience. These methods are helping managers and executives become more productive and create habits that build success. Read more →


We want employees to complete projects and tasks, and perhaps more importantly, we want them to learn the skills that make them more competent and more self-sufficient. Conversely, very few managers coach their employees on a regular basis. Of those who coach, few have the necessary skills to do it right. Most people think of coaching as an advice session. However, as Socrates figured out more than 2,000 years ago, a better strategy is to coach by asking intelligent questions that encourage people to talk about their work, their thoughts, and their concerns comfortably and openly. To accomplish this task with little effort, managers can have a prepared list of essential questions and use a questioning process to help their employees enhance their skills, reach solutions on their own, master their jobs, and understand and own their actions. This technique will improve your relationship with your employees. Also, it will reduce their dependency on you, giving you more time for your projects. In his recent book “The Coaching Habit - Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever,” Michael Bungay Stanier, the first person honored as Coach of the Year in Canada, presents the vital seven coaching questions to teach managers how to coach effectively. This concept will help you become a successful coach with little strain. Read more →


No matter which industry you are in, it is critical to employ top performers. I often hear managers complain about a particular employee who is not performing. After talking for a couple of minutes, it usually becomes evident to me that the manager should not have hired this individual in the first place. Most of us agree that the hiring process is more an art than a science. What rules can we follow to increase the odds of hiring the best candidate, rather than the best job seeker? Read more →


The levels of disengagement in the workplace are growing fast. Some blame it to technology, newer people generations, an increase on stress levels, growth in job complexity or the perceived need to know everything instantly. This lack of engagement negatively impacts productivity, creativity, and profitability. What can leaders do to correct this startling concern effectively? In this article, I describe how leaders can make personal interactions and decisions to raise... Read more →


Managing your direct reports might be challenging at times, but managing people outside of your reporting lines it’s even more taxing. How can we effectively influence and manage people when we lack the authority? This skill is becoming very relevant as we have more and more matrixed organizations. Managers and leaders who are new to this venture may feel that they are doomed to fail. However, when handled properly, it... Read more →


In the last few years companies have been increasingly allowing employees to use their own devices to access the company’s email, calendar, employee directory, and other corporate data. This phenomenon is known as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) programs or IT Consumerization. BYOD gives employees more flexibility and mobility, which in turns makes them happier and more productive... Employees are no longer imposed to use specific types and brands of... Read more →


Companies have been outsourcing for many years, but often they have been outsourcing the wrong functions and for the wrong reasons. Lower labor cost repeatedly lures investors and executives, without considering the real total cost. Are you disappointed about the results you have been getting from your outsourcing initiatives? In this article, we will explore the reasons, benefits and potential disadvantages of outsourcing technology functions, such as development and testing.... Read more →


Why are companies using more and more the agile application development methodology compared to the waterfall model? One of the main reasons is that agile application development results in business agility. This model helps build the right applications, make swift changes, provide nimble deliverables, and allow a faster product to market. Build the Right Applications Agile development characterizes for getting business people involved in the process throughout the whole application... Read more →


How do you create unbreakable passwords that you can easily recall when you need them? You use a password manager. If you are like me, you have a plethora of passwords for the numerous websites and apps that you use. Keeping track of all these passwords in your brain, or in a secure document eventually becomes a very painful challenge. In response to this, more and more companies are starting... Read more →


Are you serious about implementing a DevOps culture? Perhaps you are already using DevOps, but haven’t yet realized all the DevOps benefits on quality, automation, measurement, predictability, and reliability? Then your next step is to make sure you hire the right people and get the whole team committed to your mission. Below are 11 key traits you should look for in job candidates. If you already have a team, you... Read more →


The competitive market of today is always looking for faster, cheaper and better products and services. This is no different in the application development area, whether it supports internal or external customers. The application development methodologies have evolved throughout the years. In turn, DevOps has been around since 2009, and it has gained wide acceptance. Are you deciding whether to adopt DevOps or are you wondering what DevOps is? Then... Read more →


Stress and pressure are two different things. While some level of stress may be good for you, any level of pressure is usually harmful. It is extremely important to recognize and differentiate between these two feelings so that you can apply the correct solution techniques. Most of us are familiar with two types of stress. Positive stress, called eustress, is usually good for you. It motivates, focuses energy, feels exciting,... Read more →


Would you like to have two more hours per day? Personal time management is a key trait of successful people. They know how to achieve their goals in a fraction of the time that it takes most people. By learning and applying their techniques, we can also accomplish more in less time. Here are 22 time management tips that I am sure you’ll find very useful. First Decide If You... Read more →


Have you ever had a situation where you need to give a presentation in a short period, even in just 30 seconds? Imagine you want to present a great idea or a big problem to a senior executive. Perhaps you have spent a good amount of time preparing a formal 30-minute presentation complete with PowerPoint slides. What happens if the senior executive says something like, “I’ve got to go to... Read more →


No matter which industry you are in, it is critical to hire good performers. I often hear managers complain about a particular employee who is not performing. After talking for a couple of minutes, it usually becomes evident to me that this particular employee should not have been hired in the first place. Most of us agree that the hiring process is more an art than a science. What rules... Read more →


In his book “Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology,” Paul Glen explains that we cannot manage geeks the same way we manage other knowledge workers. The one-size-fits-all leadership approach won’t work. Then how should we manage geeks? What are the key differences? In the following paragraphs, I summarize the key cultural differences of technology teams, and what managers and leaders can do to create... Read more →


This technique can be used to deliver a persuasive presentation or speech. It uses a five-step pattern called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and has been used successfully for political, sales, and marketing campaigns. It can also be used to sell your idea, initiative or project. The sequence is named after his creator Alan H. Monroe, who taught public speaking at Purdue University. Wouldn't it be nice to have this skill in... Read more →


One of the basic leadership and management principles is to communicate a clear vision. How can we apply this principle to project management and substantially increase the odds of success of our projects? The project vision statement provides a simple, clear, and concise description of the purpose of your project. It allows team members and stakeholders to quickly have a good understanding of the project’s goal. New employees and new... Read more →


Today more and more employees want to telecommute while some employers still prefer to have their whole staff working on-site, and this is a cause of significant concern for HR departments. We can argue about the pros and cons about telecommuting, but the truth is that employees from Generation Y (the Millennial generation, born from 1981 to 2000), and especially those in the technology industry and technology jobs are demanding... Read more →


It is very important that each employee becomes familiar with the company’s business, and how the company does business. This helps employees, including IT employees, to really feel part of the business, to become a more valuable resource, to participate in the innovation the business processes, and to provide better solutions to problems and opportunities. One way I’ve seen companies provide the appropriate business knowledge to their employees is as... Read more →


If we want to make sure we do something, then we need make sure we do that first thing in the morning. This is the recommendation from Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.” People who have become professionally successful are following several of these principles. They set aside the first few hours of their day and invest them on their... Read more →


From time to time, you may have the need to share confidential information with partners, vendors, customers, family, and friends. QLink.it is a new tool that allows you to encrypt confidential information and then safely send it through the web or your preferred social media tool, like Text Message, Email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. QLink.it is a new web app (mobile apps coming soon) that doesn’t require you to install... Read more →