Book Review: “The Manager’s Path” by Camille Fournier

The Manager's Path book cover

I wish I had read The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier twenty years ago when I started down the path of being a manager. I could have avoided a lot of pain, confusion, and conflict for myself and those I was managing. I agree with much of what is in the book about what works mainly because I learned the hard way about what doesn’t work.
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How I Want My Team to Feel After Meeting with Me

gauges from Jeanne Masar
“Gauges” by Jeanne Masar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A few years ago, I went through some executive coaching individually and as a group. In one of the individual sessions, the coach and I were talking about my team and the meetings I had with them. The coach asked me how I wanted someone on my team to feel after meeting with me. I had to think about it because I had never been asked that question before. And yet, it was an incredibly important answer to have. After a minute or two, I came up with the following answer.
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Book Review: “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown

Essentialism book cover

Many of us have too much going on. Busy is the new status symbol. I’m no exception. And yet many of us also feel that while we do more and more, we actually accomplish less and less. I’m no exception on that point, either.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a response to that trend. It advocates for whittling down what we spend our time and energy on so we can focus on the few activities and efforts that will have the most impact. In truth, it should have been subtitled “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less but Better” (which is an actual quote from the book).

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.” (emphasis added)

If there is the concept of “essentialism”, there must be one of “nonessentialism”. In fact, the book contrasts the mindset, assumptions, decisions, and choices between “essentialism” and “nonessentialism”.
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Book Review: “Out of the Crisis” by W. Edwards Deming

Out of the Crisis book cover

I’ve spent some time around John Willis, one of the thought leaders in the DevOps movement. If you spend any time at all around John, you’re bound to hear him talk about W. Edwards Deming and the idea that Deming laid many of the foundational principles and practices of DevOps. After reading Deming’s book, Out of the Crisis, I have to agree. And now I’m a fan of Deming, too. Not as much as John (just look at his Twitter avatar), but a big fan nonetheless.
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DevOps and Audit Resources

binary and magnifying glass

I’ve heard a lot of questions about DevOps, audit, compliance, and how they all fit together. I’ve fielded more questions from more people recently. In my mind, that means more people are applying DevOps patterns and practices to their work and the work they’re doing is real (as opposed to sandbox, pilot, or “let’s try this stuff out” projects). Why else would they be interested in audit and compliance?

Here are some resources that might be helpful if you’re “doing the DevOps” and interested in making audit and compliance efforts go more smoothly.
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ACT-IAC’s Legacy System Modernization Approach Too Legacy

Anchor from Kyle James
“Anchor” by Kyle James is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Federal Government has a lot of legacy systems and spends a lot of money on them. In fact, according to a white paper on legacy system modernization from The American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC), the Federal Government plans to spend $37 billion on “legacy” IT in 2017.

Lots of organizations struggle with legacy systems. Or more to the point, they struggle to maintain and make changes to them in a way that provides the pace and value the organization wants. So given the scale of this issue in the Federal Government, ACT-IAC took a crack at providing a “best practice” approach for modernizing legacy systems in the white paper I just referenced.

I read the paper a couple of times. I definitely had some strong thoughts and feels as I read it. I couldn’t keep them bottled up so I suggested some changes to how the Government should think about legacy systems modernization on Excella’s blog. I could’ve written a lot more (like on the role of DevOps, which shouldn’t be in the “DevOps/Sustainment” phase — see page 20 in the white paper), but the post was already getting lengthy. Let’s consider this a good start for discussion and iterate from there.