A Software Manager’s Number 1 Job

As a software manager, I’m responsible for a lot, I go to meetings, I run project and feature development, I interview new employees, work with my team through design meetings and yes from time to time I still do some coding to keep me honest. But at the end of the day there is one piece of my job that is the most important and if I don’t do it all others would fall by the wayside. No it’s not status reports, team meetings, enterprisey design like architecture stuff or anything else really related to technology… no it’s something much simpler – the professional growth of every member of my team… and no… this is not done through annual performance reviews.So why’s this so important? Well the hallmark of a great team is when they can execute without their manager around, that means the ship stays on course and keeps heading North, maybe making some well-thought out corrections along the way, but they get there. This is not an easy thing to do and cannot be done overnight, it involves a two things a) working with everyone as a team so everyone understands the skills that member A brings to the table and b) working with everyone individually – you know where you want your team to be and now YOU need to push them in the direction to get it done. So how do you do this?Hire the Right People
If you hire bad people, you WILL get bad results. That little voice going off in your head, it is little now, but if you hire this guy, the moment he screws up the first time (like maybe being 10 minutes late) that voice is going to become a blaring siren, Game Over, time to move on. Trust your gut instinct, at the end of the day you might get pressure from HR or others to just “make a hire” but at the end of the day, they are not the one that has to work with this person for a hopefully long time. Chemistry is important in an interview, some people get very nervous, what’s the best way to relax people? Get them to talk about their accomplishments, then dig in some very open-ended questions so you see how they think. Remember you are not looking for someone like you, but someone to complement your group, fill the gaps you have and bring some extra-added value to your team. At the end of an interview if you’re not willing to fight to get that guy, then you don’t really want him, so move on. But if he is a great fit for your team well then the real fun begins.Challenge Them
I have not many a person in my life that does not want to try something different or new at some point in their lives. People might have different thresholds for when they want to do this, but at some point they will. It is your job to get them to identify when they are getting close to that point and give them the boost they need to motivate them for the next big thing. I am constantly asking my team if they are happy with what they are working on, is there something else they want work on, etc, etc, not because I like job sharing or copious knowledge transfer but because I want them to enjoy what they are doing and I want them to keep pushing themselves to be better. If you are not challenging your team, then they’ll get bored and start looking elsewhere and then you’re done for.Give them Feedback
Everyone wants to know how they’re doing but what everyone doesn’t tell you is – “Hey can you tell me when I really blow it so I know not to do it next time?” Yeah sorry, no one is going to stand up and tell you that… but if you don’t tell them when they screw up they are never going to get better and really bring their game to the level you need it to be at. I’m not advocating telling someone they are a piece of garbage with no future, but if mistakes are made on a feature you gotta put them in the shoes of your customer or support group? If code blows up because it was sloppy you need to point them to it and hard – “Look I know you wanted to make it faster, but really 45 threads? That was the silver bullet here?” The key is to give them feedback in a way that you clearly indicate the bad but at the same time highlight how you know they can get there and then give them the opportunity to do it. They will get mad at you, most likely they will cross their arms when discussing it and look like they want to leave… the keepers are the ones that go away and cool off and come in on Monday with new ideas looking to get better, these are the guys you want to hold onto because you know they want it as bad as you.Back in the early days when I had just became a manager I made a massive misstep by hiring someone I knew was not a good fit, but I bowed to the pressure and hired them… six months later I sent them packing, I ignored my instinct and wasted 6 month’s of their time and mine. I can now look at every person in my group and tell you I am at a different stage of growth with all of them, some are ready for the next challenge, some are chewing on feedback and some are doing a kick-ass job day in and day out while helping others on the team grow. It goes counter to popular culture, but I’m willing to miss a few dates to see a guy work through a problem and come out the other side better for it because the next project he’s on he’ll do it better then if he never had the opportunity to try at all.

Travel and the Recognition of Pets

At last pets are being recognized by the Department of Transportation, airlines, airports, hotels, restaurants, and other establishments. May 13, 2009 the Department of Transportation established regulations designed to assist passengers with service animals. All airlines must make certain there are pet relief areas and airports have been instructed to work with the airlines in establishing these pet parks. Although the ruling is for service dogs most airports allow the use of the pet parks for all travelers with dogs.Note that LAX of Los Angeles World Airports has expanded their number of pet parks for its travelers. All pet parks are on the arrivals levels between Terminals 1 and 2, Terminals 3 and TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal), and TIBIT and Terminal 4, across from Terminals 5 and 6, and at the end of Terminal 8. The new parks all have water spouts a water bowl, doggie poop bag stand, a trash receptacle and are recognizable by the carved out doggie bone and fire hydrant. Additionally, note that you can find all current airport pet parks at http://petfriendlytravel.com.When traveling with your pet, research all airlines and hotels to see what their policies are. Also, check on pet policies at restaurants and inquire if there are boarding facilities at or near airports. A few airports and airlines have pet boarding facilities. A fairly good resource is the North American Pet Book.Aside from transportation, lodging, and dining, you should provide your pet with proper identification, medication, collars and leashes when traveling. Note that heart worm medication is important during mosquito season. Being aware of all the support that is available for you and your pet these days as it should make it easier for you to travel with your furry family member.

Do You Want More Payday Loan Info? Read This Article

The current economic climate has made it necessary for more people to seek financial help than ever before. If you really need money, a payday loan might interest you. As is always the case, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of the obligations you may incur. Read this article to learn more about these loans.Take some time to make sure a payday loan is right for your situation before signing the contract. This can be hard during an unexpected financial difficulty, but it is very important to avoid damaging your credit or setting yourself up for even worse difficulties. Talk to friends and family about your financial difficulties before taking out a loan. They may have solutions that you haven’t been able to see of because of the sense of urgency you’ve been experiencing during the financial hardship.You should know what the payday loan will end up costing you. Everyone is aware that payday loan companies will attach very high rates to their loans. They may also charge fees for taking out a loan. Those processing fees are generally disclosed only in the fine print.The Better Business Bureau contains information about payday loan companies and should be consulted prior to making a decision of which payday loan company you are going to use. There are a great deal of unreliable companies that try to scam you for various reasons. It is well worth your time to check out the company and verify that they are reputable.Before you get a payday loan, ask all the questions you can. It is very important that you know all that is required of you in a payday loan contract. Ask all the questions you want in order to avoid surprises down the road.It is important that all terms and conditions are read and understood before an agreement is signed. You may need money right away, but if you’re not careful and can’t pay it back on time, you will end up in a worse situation than the one you were already in.There are things called rollover clauses that you may have to contend with via a payday loan, so learn about them. It may be the case that your lender has a system that automatically renews your unpaid loan and deducts fees from your bank account. You may think that everything’s over and that you’re in the clear, only to have funds drawn out of your bank. It’s just one of the many ways in which lenders try incredibly hard to earn extra money from people. Make sure you know what you’re doing.It is important to quickly pay back any loan. If you can afford to pay more than your minimum payments, you can save yourself from a lot of extra expense. Pay more than the minimum payment. That way, you will pay the loan off quickly and avoid fees.It’s important to do your homework on the kind of payday loan you’re looking to get. Like everything else in life, you have to be fully aware of what you might be getting into. Read all fine print within the contract of your payday loan. Never blindly apply for a loan out of desperation.Use payday loans carefully. Read the payday loan company’s contract very carefully, before signing and ask about all fees and interest rates, how they work and in what circumstances they apply. Try to find a lender in good standing that has been doing business for five years, at least. This will help you avoid being scammed.Evaluate your household budget and your needs as you determine the amount you want from a payday loan. Be aware of the amount you require to pay for your necessities. This money needs to remain untouched for borrowing. Base your borrowing on the amount of money available to you once your budget expenses are covered. For safety’s sake, never borrower an amount greater than 1/4 of your entire paycheck.It is important to only deal with a lender that you determine is safe to do business with. Many individuals believe that safe payday loans usually give out good terms. That is the reason why you will find a safe and reputable lender if you do the necessary research.Make sure you have a proper plan for paying back your loan. With most lending institutions, you will be required to pay your loan back within a few weeks or you will charged late fees and your interest rates will quickly add up. Before getting a loan, consider work income you can use to repay your loan when it becomes due.Many people are looking for other options besides loans. Banks have become stricter about lending and you may not qualify for a traditional loan. Sometimes, a payday loan is the best way to resolve your problems, and this article has hopefully prepared you to secure one in a responsible manner.