Why it’s so hard to follow schedules?

ScheduleThere is nothing new in the fact that timelines established for the projects are rarely met. Actually, we got so used to this part of workplace reality that we consider it a problem only in the most outrageous cases – when the project’s cost exceeded every budgeting expectation or when it outlived its usefulness by becoming irrelevant.

Is there a way to improve this situation? Before we are able to answer this question, we need to understand what prevents us from following the schedule in the first place. Continue reading

Judging people: External vs. Internal

AngryHappy New Year, everybody! 🙂

AnyaWorkSmart is back online and will continue with discussion of every aspect of Management that can be improved by fighting Biases. I decided that the first post of the year should deal with a situation where the negative influence of Biases is most critical – our attempts to judge others based on their appearances and actions. Continue reading

A Happy New Year present for my readers: my Top 5 Favorite Movies for Managers

office spaceAs Season Greetings are almost upon us and Anyworksmart will traditionally go into well-deserved recess for the next month, I decided to finish the year with something light yet meaningful in order to thank my readers for being with me during the last two years. The best thing that came to my mind was to provide you with a list of five of my favorite movies and TV shows that you can watch with your family during the holidays, while also benefiting from their very serious insights about being a Manager. Continue reading

“Biases: Where do they come from?” – From Ask Anya mails

Ask Anya MailFollowing post: Biases: Where do they come from?

“I’ve been interested with cognitive biases and misconceptions for some time already, reading all available material on the subject, including your blog.  However, I noticed that just knowing about biases doesn’t really help to get rid of them. Last week I was talking to a friend about politics and was suddenly faced with a sad reality of failing to see through “Halo effect” bias. What happened was that as we were discussing with my friends a politician who recently achieved infamy by openly demonstrating unwanted behaviors in his private life, I made a statement that someone who behaves this way in his social life has no chance of filling his office properly. It seemed logical to me when I said it, but when my friends pointed to a fact that there is no known correlation between someone’s personal and professional life, I immediately understood that my statement was caused by “halo effect”. This situation made me wondering:  is there any benefit in learning about biases, if it only helps you to understand what you already did wrong? Continue reading

“Can a Non-Expert manage Experts?” – From Ask Anya mails

Ask Anya MailFollowing post : An Eternal Argument: Can a non-Expert manage Experts?

“I read your post carefully and I have to say that I completely disagree. In my experience, any attempt to manage IT developers without also being a technical expert is doomed to failure for several reasons. For one, the developers have no one to talk to if they encounter serious technical problems and need further guidance – non-technical manager cannot provide this guidance by definition. Continue reading

More on Delegation: Micro-management and “Hands-On” Management Style

micro or hands-on managerAfter talking to people about my post on Delegation I decided to expand the discussion to other related issues in Management that everybody knows about, but the general understanding remains vague, preventing fruitful actions. Today I would like to talk about the most frequent complaint of employees about their Managers – them being Micromanagers.  Continue reading

When it is right to throw money at the problem

throwing money at the problemWe all are familiar with situations when decision-makers keep throwing money at the problem instead of trying a structural solution that could potentially be much more beneficial to the system. The examples are too many, especially in our austere times.

Naturally, we tend to be critical of such wasteful strategies, but a story told to me last week by an older friend about his time in the Military reminded me that sometimes solving the situation by spending more resources may be more beneficial than attempting a structural decision. Continue reading

When to delegate and when to do it yourself

DelegationDelegation is such an integrative part of Management that it seems everything has already been said about it. We all understand its benefits for grooming potential Leads and know how to redistribute the load of responsibility according to people’s natural tendencies.  However, in real world we sometimes find it hard to apply our knowledge for the simple reason that delegation basically means trusting people with important things, and having some actual experience in dealing with employees sometimes makes trust a very rare resource. Continue reading

An Eternal Argument: Can a Non-Expert manage Experts?

you are not an expertCan you put a non-engineer to lead an IT development team? How effective would be a financial product development team when managed by someone who has no previous experience with financial systems? When looking for someone to fill an executive position in an aviation sales department, should you be looking for someone who has more experience with aviation, a better salesman or A BETTER MANAGER?

I think it’s easy to understand what I’m getting at: there is an eternal argument going on in every possible industry – when looking for Managers, should you prefer people from the same industry or people with good managerial skills but without any previous knowledge of the industry. Continue reading

Lessons Learned: How to Deal with Failure

lessons learnedA few weeks ago a friend sent me an amazing piece of memorabilia – a journal article from the year 1905. It made such an impression on me that I immediately decided to share its wisdom on the ever discussed question of what is success and what is failure and how can we influence their relationship by learning the lessons our life experience provides us with. Continue reading