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Nerd Herding v2


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Latest presentation on Nerd Herding : People management tips for techincal managers

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Nerd Herding v2

  1. 1. Nerd, Geek, and GearHerding: TechnicalManagement Techniques forManagers v 2.0#12NTCNERDGrant HoweStacy Dyer 1
  2. 2. Evaluate This Session!Each entry is a chance to win an NTEN engraved iPad! or Online at
  4. 4. Your Partner in Dialogue Grant Howe • Vice President of R&D w/Sage • 15+ years in Software Development • 30 years experience with Nonprofits Boy Scouts of America, Sig Tau Alumni Association Board Member • 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
  5. 5. Your Partner in Dialogue Stacy Dyer • Product Marketing Manager w/Sage • 8 years in Nonprofit Technology • 15+ years experience with Nonprofits Ballet Austin, Asolo Theatre, FSU School of Theatre • Techie, Mom, and puzzle solver • Favorite food: Coffee ( • @stacydyer (if you want to talk #nptech) • @helenalauriat (if you want to see cute baby pictures) 5
  6. 6. Sage, 30 years of experience 6
  7. 7. “I wouldn’t do nothin’ else” EDS “Cat Herder” Commercial 7
  8. 8. 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 8
  9. 9. 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. • Or tweet w/ #12NTCNERD • We will collectively “crowd source” suggestions and best practices. 9
  11. 11. 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” 11
  12. 12. Tip: When toWhen to Call Dr. Nerd call the doctor • 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 12
  13. 13. 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. 13
  14. 14. Tell me where it hurts • Focus your initial discussion on theTip: Prepare a symptoms of your problem. list so you don’t forget • Do your best to help me understand your anything! current state. 14
  15. 15. What are your desired results • “I want to play tennis three times a week without knee pain.” Tip: Think big! Dr. can’t help if you don’t ask for it. 15
  16. 16. 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. 16
  17. 17. Ask questions about each solution • What will this cost (in time, resources andTip: There are money)? NO stupid • How does this solution compare to my original questions!Ask, Ask, Ask desired end state? • What other “side effects” can I expect from the solution, good or bad? • What is the risk of something going wrong or causing damage? Is there a mitigation? • What skills are required to implement and have you done this before? How many times? 17
  18. 18. 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. 18
  19. 19. Take your Medicine • “Take these, 3 times a day…” Tip: This is YOURresponsibility! • Many people go through all this effort to make 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. 19
  20. 20. Most poorly performing organizations donot suffer from lack of plans or strategy. They suffer from lack of consistent execution. 20
  21. 21. “The House is on Fire!”LEADERSHIP DURINGEMERGENCIES 21
  22. 22. Tip: DON’TThe House is on Fire! PANIC 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. 22
  23. 23. The House is on Fire! Survey the Situation Assemble the Team Act Now! 23
  24. 24. Survey the situation • What is impacted and what is the current risk? • What’s the possibility of it getting worse?Tip: Reality • What skill sets are needed for recovery? check! • What level of alarm should be raised and to who? •Volunteer firefighter example 24
  25. 25. 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? • Where can you get them? Tip: Not the time for OJT! 25
  26. 26. 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. 26
  27. 27. 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?” 27
  28. 28. 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. 28
  29. 29. Arson investigations areperformed 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. Tip: An ounce of prevention 29
  30. 30. How can you win?MOTIVATING AND REWARDINGTECHS 30
  31. 31. 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 Tip: IT is like support desk to report that a box of kitty “things are working great, litter... keep it up!” 31
  32. 32. Best Practice - Scoreboards • Setup a public scoreboard in a highly trafficked location. Tip: • Track meaningful metrics: Everyone – System uptimes loves a gold – Project milestones star on their paper! • Make it clear whether the team is winning or losing to the reader in 5 seconds. • Update weekly or monthly. 32
  33. 33. Scoreboard example 33
  34. 34. 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 34
  35. 35. 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. 35
  36. 36. 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! 36
  37. 37. Lets make it happenQ&A CROWDSOURCEEXPERIMENT 37
  38. 38. 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/ #12NTCNERD • We will collectively “crowd source” suggestions and best practices. 38
  39. 39. Thank You! Grant @geekbyte Stacy @stacydyer 39
  40. 40. Evaluate This Session!Each entry is a chance to win an NTEN engraved iPad! or Online at