Ahmed’s Dev-Shop

Don’t let them leave, don’t get them changed

Posted in Management by Ahmed Siddiqui on May 26, 2008

I don’ t know whether it’s a common phenomenon or not and whether it has been written in HR books or not. Having being hunted by this problem during my early days, when I got the first chance to lead people, I started observing them silently, without showing any reaction, letting them be more and more exposed.

I collected events and behaviors, analyzed and discussed these behaviors, concluded the results, and to make the decision making process complete and fool proof, I started getting feedback. The results were positive.

So being a line manager, are you able to identify some precious resources under your supervision who seem to be ordinary?

Common characteristics of these resources

  • These people are often too shy to communicate
  • They often seek opportunity to add any value to their company, even if they are not satisfied
  • They do not show unusual efficiency in the presence of their seniors because of their honesty
  • Often they seek for a chance to help their colleagues without expecting any return
  • You may find them helping others even if they have their own tough time lines
  • If they respect you, they would not tell you, instead they’ll work for you harder
  • They’ll contradict you , in your own interest
  • Sometimes they fail to meet the time lines because they do not want to compromise on hidden quality, while others do
  • They utilize their leisure time in solving some other problems your company may face
  • Sometime they silently solve some potential problems which can become a disaster for you in future


How to deal with them

If their responsibilities are some back office or technical tasks, their weaknesses may be in your favor along with their strengths

– Most probably they would not ask you for appreciation and incentive. You have to identify their micro achievements which may have resolved some macro problems; appreciate them

Don’t let them get rid of innocence and honesty, appreciate these characteristics

Be aware of some smart asses under you who can exploit these innocents by taking their credit

When they lose they time lines because they were helping others, don’t criticize them for it. Just appreciate them and tell them:

  • To prioritize the criticality
  • To prioritize their own task, if criticality is same
  • Or to discuss it with you (supervisor)

Being a line manager, you are not necessarily dealing with managed people. They may lack some skills while having some others. You have to study your resources thoroughly and closely. Identify their actual value instead of the perceived value. May be you would have a different perception after this practice.

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Trends in Software Job Market

Posted in Uncategorized by Ahmed Siddiqui on May 26, 2008

Following trends have been concluded by me after conducting interviews and discussing with my juniors, peers, seniors, and some students.

  • Most of the small software houses have the following hierarchy:

CTO/Dept. Head >> PM >>TL >> SSE >> SE

  • Most of the Resource Managers (Team Leads) are planning to become Project Manager
  • Senior technical positions–Architect, for instance–are not available for seasoned technical people
  • Senior Software Developers are planning to become Team Leads to get raise in benefits instead of focusing on scarce senior technical positions
  • Most of the resources have working experience of small-size offshore projects, they don’t have the experience and expertise of Enterprise Solutions
  • Most of the fresh graduates prefer better salary on career growth & learning
  • After initial 2 years, having some quick job-switches, some of them realize that if they could learn, they could earn more. Then they change their mind to prefer learning over adhoc monitory benefits
  • It’s becoming general perception among software industry that to become a project manager is the shortest path to get fat salaries
  • Computer Science Graduates are preferring to get admission in MBA instead of MS
  • In MS(Computer Science), Project Management is becoming a buzzword
  • It seems that in few years, we will have greater number of Managers and lesser number of technical resources, at least in software development

Disclaimer: This are my personal observations, not unnecessarily true.

Laws of Systemantics by John Gall

Posted in Engineering, software by Ahmed Siddiqui on May 15, 2008
  1. The Primal Scenario or Basic Datum of Experience: Systems in general work poorly or not at all. (Complicated systems seldom exceed five percent efficiency.)
  2. The Fundamental Theorem: New systems generate new problems.
  3. The Law of Conservation of Anergy{sic}: The total amount of anergy in the universe is constant. (“Anergy” := ‘human energy’)
  4. Laws of Growth: Systems tend to grow, and as they grow, they encroach.
  5. The Generalized Uncertainty Principle: Systems display antics. (Complicated systems produce unexpected outcomes. The total behavior of large systems cannot be predicted.)
  6. Le Chatelier’s Principle: Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function. As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.
  7. Functionary’s Falsity: People in systems do not do what the system says they are doing.
  8. The Operational Fallacy: The system itself does not do what it says it is doing.
  9. The Fundamental Law of Administrative Workings (F.L.A.W): Things are what they are reported to be. The real world is what it is reported to be.
  10. Systems attract systems-people. (For every human system, there is a type of person adapted to thrive on it or in it.)
  11. The bigger the system, the narrower and more specialized the interface with individuals.
  12. A complex system cannot be “made” to work. It either works or it doesn’t.
  13. A simple system, designed from scratch, sometimes works.
  14. Some complex systems actually work.
  15. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
  16. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.
  17. The Functional Indeterminacy Theorem (F.I.T.): In complex systems, malfunction and even total non-function may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.
  18. The Newtonian Law of Systems Inertia: A system that performs a certain way will continue to operate in that way regardless of the need or of changed conditions.
  19. Systems develop goals of their own the instant they come into being.
  20. Intrasystem{sic} goals come first.
  21. The Fundamental Failure-Mode Theorem (F.F.T.): Complex systems usually operate in failure mode.
  22. A complex system can fail in an infinite number of ways. (If anything can go wrong, it will.) (see Murphy’s law)
  23. The mode of failure of a complex system cannot ordinarily be predicted from its structure.
  24. The crucial variables are discovered by accident.
  25. The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.
  26. “Success” or “Function” in any system may be failure in the larger or smaller systems to which the system is connected.
  27. The Fail-Safe Theorem: When a Fail-Safe system fails, it fails by failing to fail safe.
  28. Complex systems tend to produce complex response (not solutions) to problems.
  29. Great advances are not produced by systems designed to produce great advances.
  30. The Vector Theory of Systems: Systems run better when designed to run downhill.
  31. Loose systems last longer and work better. (Efficient systems are dangerous to themselves and to others.)
  32. As systems grow in size, they tend to lose basic functions.
  33. The larger the system, the less the variety in the product.
  34. Control of a system is exercised by the element with the greatest variety of behavioral responses.
  35. Colossal systems foster colossal errors.
  36. Choose your systems with care.