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Guest Blogger Melina Leary : How to stop your inbox stopping you

This is the first ever guest post to appear on my blog. It was written by Melina Leary, my long suffering partner, about the blight that affects so many of us, so much of the time. Enjoy! Introduction Although the ability to send messages between computers has been possible from the early 1970s, when I started office work in 1987 it was not widely used as a mechanism for communication. Things were
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You Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

There's no shortage of internet articles and books about toxic workplaces, toxic co-workers and how to avid them. But I rarely see articles about the best people to work with, so I've put together my own set of stereotypes of the best sorts of people to have around you in the office. If you can't choose your work colleagues, and you know the types of people to avoid, this guide will help you gravitate
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Teamwork - Eight Characteristics to Describe a Great Team

Back in March this year I wrote a post about Teams where I suggested that the managerial obsession with team building is sometimes not only inappropriate but actually has a negative effect on the individuals being shoe-horned into an artifical construct. I’ve continued thinking about teams and teamwork and recently started reading "Teamwork Is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When
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Blueprints for Success or Recipes for Disaster?

I've seen a few articles recently about using 'blueprints' for the successful implementation of organisational change, especially in the IT industry. I rarely read beyond the title because I believe there is a fundamental problem in the concept of using a blueprint for anything other than what the original term designated, namely:  A blueprint is a reproduction of a technical drawing,
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Meetings - Corporate Procrastination

Hands up if you've been in a useless meeting this week. It's Friday, so I'm guessing most people reading this have probably been in several useless meetings by now. If you're very lucky your useless meetings may have been interspersed with some useful activities some which involve people other than yourself but would you call them meetings? I could write a few paragraphs about how you could make
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Orchestrated Knowledge - not really a book review!

I'm not big on technical book reviews, not reading them and definitely not writing them. And I'm not really going to start now, because in my opinion, technical books tend to be either useful or not, and my reviews won't add to their usefulness or lack thereof. However, I do feel quite happy recommending books, articles and other useful sources of well thought out argument in pursuance of understanding
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I Am Not A Resource...I Am A Person

The most frequently repeated quote from the 1960's cult TV series, The Prisoner, is probably "I am not a number, I am a free man". Much has changed since then, and global corporations now rule the world. I'm repeatedly find myself getting drawn in to discussions resonating around a similar theme in this brave new world where managers insist on calling me a resource. I am not a resource, I am a person! Some
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A Message to the New Breed of Software Developers

With the advent of the "App" and their associated distribution stores (Mac, iPhone, Android etc.)  the act of developing software has never been more popular or more accessible. The opportunity to create the next "Angry Birds" in your bedroom or living room and become an overnight millionaire is clearly very enticing to many individuals. Before I became involved in Quality and Process Management,
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Acting Under Pressure - Free Thinking or Conditioning

I've been having some pretty restless nights since I came back from Switzerland and last night was no exception. I woke up at 04:45 clutching at some snippets of a rather bizarre dream, but sadly wasn't conscious enough to jot them down. The gist of it was that I was in a war zone with some close friends from both work and personal life and I was questioning some of the decisions that were being taken,
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The Sleepwalkers Have Taken Over the Asylum

There's an English Bookshop on the main shopping street in the centre of Zurich. It's quintessentially English and apart from books you can purchase such goodies as Marmite and Coleman's English Mustard. I always wander in to browse whenever I'm in town with a few minutes to spare even though the prices here are astronomical so I have to demonstrate a huge amount of self-constraint. There isn't a great
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A Trip Back to the "Bottom of the Ladder"

I've worked as a "management" consultant, either internally or externally, for the best part of 20 years now, and I've often heard people say that all consultants should occasionally step down from their ivory towers, and go back to their roots. It's not very often that I've heard of any consultants taking their own advice, unless it's a career move, but recently I did just that, although not through
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Criteria for Creating Project Artefacts

If I take a look at the people I follow on Twitter (currently about 1100) they fall into roughly several main categories listed here but not in any specific order:- Process and Quality Experts (including CMMI, ITIL and ISO specialists) Apple technical experts (including magazines and developers) Apple fanboys and girls Business leaders (non-IT) Musicians and other "celebrities" Journalists IT professionals
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The Trouble(s) with Software Process Improvement

Fifteen or more years of software process improvement efforts have not lead to the remarkable changes that people like Watts Humphrey may have envisaged when he wrote "Managing the Software Process". The reality is that despite our efforts software development projects continue to fail either completely or to meet their intended budget, time and quality objectives. Even high maturity organisations
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement (or Change Management)

No-one ever said that Process Improvement was easy but there’s no reason why we have to make quite so hard. By understanding some basic principles it is possible to give ourselves a fighting chance of success. Gerald Weinberg famously said: “No matter what the problem is, it's always a people problem”, so it might make a bit of sense to start looking at some fundamental people problems which
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Leave "Stealth Mode" to the spy planes

Over the years I've heard numerous references to "Process Improvement by Stealth". The New Oxford American Dictionary defines stealth as "cautious and surreptitious action or movement". Neither cautious or surreptitious are words that should be associated with process improvement or indeed any change initiative where the first three laws for success are Communicate, Communicate and Communicate. Stealth
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SPEG Conference - People and Culture

This is the final blog entry for this year’s SEPG Conference in Europe, albeit a few days later than intended. In my blog from 16th June, I suggested that there were two underlying themes to the conference, namely multi-model synergies and people and culture. So what about people and culture? Previous conferences have had their share of presentations on Change Management, People-CMM and other people
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