Nerd, Geek, and Gear HerdingTips and Tricks for Technical Managers
CPE Credit•   In order to receive CPE credit for this session, you must be present for    the entire session.     –   Sess...
Your Partner in Dialogue                     Grant Howe                 •   Vice President of R&D w/Sage                 •...
“I wouldn’t do nothin’ else”EDS “Cat Herder” Commercial
What are we talking about today?Best Practices for:          Managing technology selection          Managing emergencies  ...
Q&A Experimentat the end of the session  • Note cards on the tables.  • Jot down your real word Nerd / Tech herding    iss...
“Paging Dr. Nerd”MANAGING TECHNOLOGYSELECTION
Paging Dr. Nerd • Talking to a technical solutions specialist is   like going to see the doctor. • Most people have a prec...
Tip: When to                          call the doctorWhen to Call Dr. Nerd• Are you first line of  contact for staff?   – ...
A successful office visit agenda                       • Tell me where it hurts.                       • Tell me what your...
Tip: Prepare a                                                          list so youTell me where it hurts                 ...
Tip: Think big!What are your desired results                           Dr. can’t help                                     ...
Discuss and choose a treatment • “Your MRI shows you have a   slipped disc in your lower back,   here are our options…”  ...
Ask questions about each solution                 • What will this cost (in time, resources and                   money)? ...
Compare the Solutions                    • Write down the pros and cons of each                      solution and compare ...
Take your Medicine                  • “Take these, 3 times a day…”  Tip: This is    YOURresponsibility!   • Many people go...
Most poorly performing organizations donot suffer from lack of plans or strategy.        They suffer from lack of         ...
“The House is on Fire!”LEADERSHIP DURINGEMERGENCIES
Tip: DON’T                                                           PANICThe House is on Fire!  When faced with a severe ...
The House is on Fire!          Survey the Situation          Assemble the Team          Act Now!
Survey the situation               • What is impacted and what is the current risk?Tip: Reality               • What’s the...
Assemble the Team• Assemble the team. You’ll need the right resources to  investigate more thoroughly and come up with pos...
Act Now• Get your team working to understand the problem right away.  While they’re doing that, you should be managing the...
Been asked these questions before?                “How could this happen?”                  “Who is responsible?”  “What d...
Get the Children out First!  • Focus all efforts on diagnosis and    resolution of the issue.  • Postpone discussions that...
Tip: An ounceArson investigations are                                   of preventionperformed on cold ashes• Debrief the ...
How can you win?MOTIVATING ANDREWARDING TECHS
The IT SituationIt feels like you just can’t win…                   • IT infrastructure and Software isn’t thought        ...
Tip:                                                     EveryoneBest Practice - Scoreboards                              ...
Scoreboard example
Best Practice – Celebrate Winning• Make success visible:   –   Mail server uptime cookie celebration   –   Project Milesto...
Best Practice – “Motivation” for the cash poor • Say thank-you often – Do not underestimate the value of these   two words...
Best Practice – Coaching •    30-45 minute special 1:1 meeting every 8 weeks. •    Staffers submit two “did wells” and one...
Lets make it happenQ&A CROWDSOURCEEXPERIMENT
Q&A Experiment • Note cards on the tables. • Jot down your real word Nerd / Tech herding   issues or best practices to sha...
Additional Learning Opportunities•   For information about additional learning opportunities visit    www.SageU.com (Sage ...
Your Feedback Is Important to Us!•   Completing a session survey is fast and easy:    Stop by a Sage Summit Survey kiosk o...
Contact Us•   Presenter Contact Information:     – Grant Howe, VP R&D Sage Nonprofit     – grant.howe@sage.com     – @geek...
Sage Summit 2012: Nerd, Geek and Gear Herding
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Sage Summit 2012: Nerd, Geek and Gear Herding

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Managing technology and "techies" that we don't completely understand is often a part of the job for a business manager. We will discuss the unique challenges that make managing technical projects, employees, and contractors sometimes feel like herding cats.

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Sage Summit 2012: Nerd, Geek and Gear Herding

  1. 1. Nerd, Geek, and Gear HerdingTips and Tricks for Technical Managers
  2. 2. CPE Credit• In order to receive CPE credit for this session, you must be present for the entire session. – Session Code: C-0177A – Recommended CPE Credit = 1 – Delivery Method = Group Live – Field of Study = Specialized Knowledge and Applications• Visit the Sage Summit Connect kiosks to enter CPE credit during the conference.
  3. 3. Your Partner in Dialogue Grant Howe • Vice President of R&D w/Sage • 15+ years in Software Development • Favorite food: Italian (anything with Alfredo sauce) • @geekbyte if you want to tweet nice things • @darthvader if you want to use the dark side
  4. 4. “I wouldn’t do nothin’ else”EDS “Cat Herder” Commercial
  5. 5. What are we talking about today?Best Practices for: Managing technology selection Managing emergencies Growing and rewarding technologists “Crowd Source” your current technical management issues
  6. 6. Q&A Experimentat the end of the session • Note cards on the tables. • Jot down your real word Nerd / Tech herding issues or best practices to share. • We will collectively “crowd source” suggestions and best practices.
  7. 7. “Paging Dr. Nerd”MANAGING TECHNOLOGYSELECTION
  8. 8. Paging Dr. Nerd • Talking to a technical solutions specialist is like going to see the doctor. • Most people have a preconceived notion of what the treatment should be. • The best solutions usually come from meaningful dialog about the problem or task and a discussion of the “treatment options”
  9. 9. Tip: When to call the doctorWhen to Call Dr. Nerd• Are you first line of contact for staff? – “Hey Mom, my ear hurts!”• Recognize when to call the “doctor” – Scope – Bandwidth – Timing – Risks of failure
  10. 10. A successful office visit agenda • Tell me where it hurts. • Tell me what your desired results are post treatment. • Discuss and choose a treatment. • Take your medicine.
  11. 11. Tip: Prepare a list so youTell me where it hurts don’t forget anything! • Focus your initial discussion on the symptoms of your problem. • Do your best to help me understand your current state. Examples: • Performance of technical assets? How slow? When did you start noticing this? • A capability you do not have in your environment? Tell me about the business processes and workflow and how this should fit in.
  12. 12. Tip: Think big!What are your desired results Dr. can’t help if you don’t • “I want to play tennis three times a week ask for it. without knee pain.” Examples: • I need a collaboration tool for 20 users that are both on premise and remote. • I don’t want to buy / manage servers anymore. • I want users to be able to boot and login to the network in under 5 minutes.
  13. 13. Discuss and choose a treatment • “Your MRI shows you have a slipped disc in your lower back, here are our options…”  Lets discuss the top 3 options I have come up with.  Additional solutions we come up with are likely to be flavors of the top 3.  Lets talk about these instead of emailing. Real time discussion is important.
  14. 14. Ask questions about each solution • What will this cost (in time, resources and money)? • How does this solution compare to my original desired end state? • What other “side effects” can I expect from the solution, good or bad? • What is the risk of something going wrong orTip: There are causing damage? Is there a mitigation? NO stupid questions! • What skills are required to implement and have you done this before? How many times?Ask, Ask, Ask
  15. 15. Compare the Solutions • Write down the pros and cons of each solution and compare them.• Walk me through your thought process of making the choice. I want you to be successful and if you’ve forgotten to consider something, I’ll discuss it with you. Tip: A good Dr. won’t be• You are also entitled to seek a second opinion insulted by 2nd and talk to others about the solutions. I opinions encourage you to do so.
  16. 16. Take your Medicine • “Take these, 3 times a day…” Tip: This is YOURresponsibility! • Many people go through all this effort but don’t follow the prescribed treatment. • These people usually don’t get results and neither will you if we don’t follow the plan. • Solutions are holistic; often we see poor results from not following the full plan.
  17. 17. Most poorly performing organizations donot suffer from lack of plans or strategy. They suffer from lack of consistent execution.
  18. 18. “The House is on Fire!”LEADERSHIP DURINGEMERGENCIES
  19. 19. Tip: DON’T PANICThe House is on Fire! When faced with a severe technical crisis (think mail server down, fried DB server, website hacked) it’s important to approach the situation methodically and in an organized manner. When the “fire alarm” sounds, be the calm leader in your organization.
  20. 20. The House is on Fire! Survey the Situation Assemble the Team Act Now!
  21. 21. Survey the situation • What is impacted and what is the current risk?Tip: Reality • What’s the possibility of it getting worse? check! • What skill sets are needed for recovery? • What level of alarm should be raised and to who? • Volunteer firefighter example
  22. 22. Assemble the Team• Assemble the team. You’ll need the right resources to investigate more thoroughly and come up with possible solutions.• What skill sets are needed for recovery? Tip: Not the• Where can you get them? time for OJT!
  23. 23. Act Now• Get your team working to understand the problem right away. While they’re doing that, you should be managing the situation with the rest of the organization.
  24. 24. Been asked these questions before? “How could this happen?” “Who is responsible?” “What do we need to do to make sure this never happens again?” “Who do we need to fire because of this?”
  25. 25. Get the Children out First! • Focus all efforts on diagnosis and resolution of the issue. • Postpone discussions that could either become emotional or will not further crisis resolution. • Promise that a root cause analysis will be delivered to all interested parties after crisis resolution.
  26. 26. Tip: An ounceArson investigations are of preventionperformed on cold ashes• Debrief the team post-crisis, documenting how the situation began.• Investigate and define operational changes that could prevent the crisis from reoccurring.• Compile a report detailing the crisis, resolution, root cause, and recommended preventive measures.• Insist that the preventive measures be implemented. Accidents happen, but shame on you if they happen twice.
  27. 27. How can you win?MOTIVATING ANDREWARDING TECHS
  28. 28. The IT SituationIt feels like you just can’t win… • IT infrastructure and Software isn’t thought of much unless its not working. • When its not working, staff in general have a low opinion of those who build / maintain it. • When the issue is fixed, few will consider the effort successful because they were impacted. • Few staffers call the support desk to report that “things are working great, keep it up!”
  29. 29. Tip: EveryoneBest Practice - Scoreboards loves a gold • Setup a public scoreboard in a highly star on their trafficked location. paper! • Track meaningful metrics: – System uptimes – Project milestones • Make it clear whether the team is winning or losing to the reader in 5 seconds. • Update weekly or monthly.
  30. 30. Scoreboard example
  31. 31. Best Practice – Celebrate Winning• Make success visible: – Mail server uptime cookie celebration – Project Milestone completion happy hour – Public congratulations from executives – High internet availability pizza party Place more focus and visibility on consistently winning than on occasional failures
  32. 32. Best Practice – “Motivation” for the cash poor • Say thank-you often – Do not underestimate the value of these two words. • Spend more time talking about “did well’s” and less on “next times” • Give paid time to learn between projects.Tip: Nurtureyour team – • Provide career growth advice and help them mentoring.learn to fly! • “Best Companies to Work for” example.
  33. 33. Best Practice – Coaching • 30-45 minute special 1:1 meeting every 8 weeks. • Staffers submit two “did wells” and one “next time” 24 hrs to manager prior to the meeting. Manager may add to the list during the meeting.. • Staffer to discuss each “did well” and what the key factors were in creating success. • Staffer to discuss each “next time” and what should be key factors for creating success next time are. • Spend more time talking about “did well’s” and less on “next times” The point is to have dialog with staffers about what they think is important and listen intently!
  34. 34. Lets make it happenQ&A CROWDSOURCEEXPERIMENT
  35. 35. Q&A Experiment • Note cards on the tables. • Jot down your real word Nerd / Tech herding issues or best practices to share. • Or tweet w/ ? • We will collectively “crowd source” suggestions and best practices.
  36. 36. Additional Learning Opportunities• For information about additional learning opportunities visit www.SageU.com (Sage University).• Training options include: – Anytime Learning—Recorded online training sessions. – Realtime Learning—Live, online learning. – Replay Learning—Recordings of live classes.
  37. 37. Your Feedback Is Important to Us!• Completing a session survey is fast and easy: Stop by a Sage Summit Survey kiosk or complete the survey on your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet through the Sage Summit mobile app. – IOS, Blackberry, or Android users may download the app from the App Store by searching “Sage Summit” – Laptop users may use this link www.sagesummit.com/webmobile• Remember each completed survey is another entry for one of several daily prize drawings, including an Apple iPad!• Your feedback helps us improve future sessions and presentation techniques.• Session code for this session: C-0177A
  38. 38. Contact Us• Presenter Contact Information: – Grant Howe, VP R&D Sage Nonprofit – grant.howe@sage.com – @geekbyte• Follow us on Twitter: @Sage_Summit – Use the official Sage Summit hashtag: #SageSummit• Don’t forget to use the Sage Summit mobile or web app for all your conference needs.• Access presentations on Sage Summit VirtualTotebag. – www.sagesummit.com/virtualtotebagThank you for your participation.

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