Disagree and Commit

Great article talking about how to move past conflicting opinions and executing on a project.

Process and Culture in an Engineering Environment

Insightful article talking on engineering management process and culture.

An interesting tidbit:

The reason was always that the given organization’s culture was not compatible with them and rejected them just like body’s immune system rejects alien cells. Agile – and all New Wave approaches and methods – work only in a culture of openness and trust, in organizations that have a clear, engaging vision and a mission that is relevant and true.

Media Companies Rocking It

“There are the three [digital media companies] have sold for nine-figure exits — DailyCandy, Bleacher Report, and Huffington Post. Then there are the many that are almost certain to sell for nine-figures one day — BuzzFeed, PopSugar, Vox Media, Refinery29, Curbed, Mashable, Gawker, BusinessInsider, Thrillist, etc,” he writes on PandoDaily. “And what else do you notice about the dozen companies that I just mentioned above? They are all experiencing record traffic and revenue. Every single one. Not one of those sites has ever seen better days.”
From Business Insider

Analytics ROI

Here’s a great article on calculating the ROI on analytics activity in a company and some templates to help make your own model.

Great Company Culture Document

Priorities are not the only story

43 Folders has a great article that blows away the idea that priorities are the only consideration on what gets worked on.

Scrum: Estimating larger stories

I was searching for best practice in some ways to do rough estimating of development resources on projects for business decision planning. I’ve scene a chief architect or architecture team make these estimates for an engineering group before but wanted to explore other methods for capturing high level estimates and came across this article suggesting they be treated as stories with points attached to them. Although it breaks the practice of points being only being used for user stories it is a great way to get team visibility into the various projects coming down the pipe.

Good Scrum Articles

Freshmeat Introduction to Scrum
Scrum roles and their interactions
Kanban vs Scrum – a practical guide

Capturing New Business in Government

There are many unique aspects of capturing business for your company in government compared with private industry. First of all contracts must be publicly announced, allowing newcomers to the field to be able to find new opportunities. For NASA the website to monitor is the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS) website. You can search using specific criteria or register to be notified of new business opportunities in a certain area.
So once you identify an opportunity how do you go after it. Initially the government posts a synopsis describing the details of the contract. After determining that some of the work in a given contract is in your area of interest the next step is to see if there is any restrictions on what type of businesses can go after the work. A very common thing to do is to only allow small businesses or small disadvantaged businesses go after the work. Some common types of small disadvanted businesses include:

  • Veteran Owned
  • Disabled Veteran Owned – Owned by a veteran wounded in combat
  • Women Owned
  • Hub-Zone – Your company is headquartered in the Ghetto
  • 8a – Your company is owned by someone of minority decent

You can find more information on the specifics of small businesses by reviewing the Federal Acquisition Requirements website. In order for your company to qualify for this type of work they need to go through a certification process first. Even is the contract is not a small business set-aside there is often requirements for including small businesses on your team. It is very common for small businesses that want to go after work in the government but do not easily qualify to have a wife own 51% of the company or to open up an office in a HUB zone.
I’ll get into more into this subject in a later article.

Knowledge Management from a government contractor done wrong

Check out this great article on the wrong way to implement Knowledge Management on a government contract. Thanks to J$ who posted this on his blog.

Request For Proposals

This is an excellent article covering some of the difficulties in dealing with RFPs. Working for a government contracters I have had experience in writing responses to RFPs and agree with most of the points mentioned in the article.

Management Lessons

Lesson Number One:
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow and asked him “Can I sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered, “Sure why not.” So the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Management Lesson:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
Lesson Number Two:
A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”
“Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.
The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. The turkey was promptly spotted by a farmer who shot him out of the tree.
Management Lesson:
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.
Lesson Number Three:
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!
Management Lessons:
1. Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy
2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
3. And when you are in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!

The importance of risk management

One of the bigger areas my company is involved in is Risk Management. This article from CIO is a great example of the importance of risk management.

Sparring with a VC

Awesome post on why, if you should get in the position where you get calls from them, should take every call that comes along from a Venture Capitalist.