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Welcome to the EL SIG Management Resources Page

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EL SIG Vision: We are a vibrant and valuable part of the careers and lives of Bay Area engineering leaders, improving the quality of their performance and enabling them to realize their full career potential. Our areas of focus are: Leadership, Strategy, Tactical Nuts & Bolts and Career Management.

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EL SIG – ProjectConnections Partnership: supports EL SIG members with a wide range of resources for managing organizations, projects, and people. Members will get recaps of EL SIG meeting topics and Q&A, along with links to related ProjectConnections templates, checklists, articles, and more. All Premium resources are available to the EL SIG members who signed up for a special partner account in April of 2010. If you have questions about this partnership, please contact the EL SIG chairs at

Management Resources for EL SIG members

Notes and Resources from Monthly EL SIG Meetings
Compliments of - our Management Resources Sponsor

August 19, 2010 Meeting
Wage Slave to Entrepreneur -
Practical Advice from Engineering Guys Who Now Lead Their Own Companies

Andy Do, Founder and CEO of Embedded Works, the Amazon of the embedded/wireless world.

This gutsy and creative startup founder shared the straight scoop on what he's learned about business, leadership and himself during the long, challenging, sometimes bone-crunching - always exhilarating - journey from wage slave to founder of his own successful company.

Andy Do is founder and President of Embedded Works Corporation, an integrator of wireless technologies for the OEM embedded space. Embedded Works is a value-added technology distributor and integrator aimed at the RF and wireless market, offering a full spectrum of wireless products and services to help engineers, marketeers, sales and executive management succeed in overcoming the challenges of wireless integration.

July 15, 2010 Meeting
The Path to SaaS: From On-Premise to On-Demand

Eileen Boerger, President of Agilis Solutions

Agilis Solutions provides software development, maintenance and testing services for companies who build software, primarily Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) serving the high technology, security, healthcare, financial, distribution, transportation, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries.

Many companies have by now likely considered migrating their software from its current on-premise basis to an on-demand deployment model. What might not have been considered in detail are the key issues that must be planned for in order to successfully make this this move. Companies also wrestle with the best approach or selecting the right architecture.

To address these questions and help the audience prepare for the move to SaaS, this presentation discussed:

  • How to determine which level of SaaS maturity best fits a company's product(s) and business
  • The 12 dimensions of a successful on-demand architecture
  • How SaaS deployment can be achieved incrementally
  • The six critical success factors for a smooth migration to on-demand deployment

Download the presentation file here.

June 17, 2010 Meeting
Up Close and Personal -
Real World Stories about Agile Software Development Methodologies

Rob Myers, founder of Agile Institute and a founding member of the Agile Cooperative

Rob Myers has been recently working on a variety of larger, multi-team Agile transitions, and shared stories of what has worked well, what went very badly, and how to avoid many of the pitfalls of transitioning multiple teams towards Agile software development methodologies. His stories were primarily derived from first-person experience and as promised, there was little Death By PowerPoint in the presentation.

For 12 years, Rob has played a pivotal role in many successful Agile, Scrum, and Extreme Programming (XP) projects. He has 25 years of professional experience on software development teams, and has consulted for leading companies in the aerospace, government, medical, software, and financial sectors. Through Agile Institute and the Agile Cooperative, Rob teaches a variety of courses, including Essential Test-Driven Development, and Essential Agile Testing.

Related resource on ProjectConnections:
May 20, 2010 Meeting
Leading People – An Executive Panel Discussion

Mala Devlin

SDForum Engineering Leadership SIG and Tech Women Group were proud to co-sponsor a special panel on leadership, moderated by Mala Devlin, the author of "The Software Soul". The panel consisted of seasoned executives who shared their experiences and words of wisdom.

The panel was especially designed for anyone who is tired of "Executing to a plan that makes no sense, with an organization that is not set up for success, with people who cannot work with each other and a leader who is unprepared to lead." It examined how a leader can tap into a project's most important element – the people – to maximize the odds for project success. It examined the unique and critical cultural values of teams (project teams in general, and software engineering teams in particular) that fuel greater vitality, productivity – and ultimately profitability and success.

This panel covered subjects such as recognizing signs of trouble in your teams, formulating strategies to overcome them and transform a project team, and utilizing leadership to navigate the inevitable project challenges and unleash the full energy and potential of your teams.

Panelist Info

Mala Devlin, Moderator: Mala is the author of "The Software Soul." She has over 20 years of software engineering experience as a software engineer, product manager, and engineering manager. Mala has led many large, complex, cross-functional projects to successful completion. She enjoys developing strong software teams.

Anne Hardy: Anne is the VP Technology Strategy at SAP Labs. She leads Technology Innovation initiatives where she assures SAP's early awareness and planning with respect to all critical enabling technologies that might disrupt SAP's platform business. Prior to joining SAP in 2003, she held technical and management positions at Alcatel, Nortel Networks and Sophia Euro Lab fund.

Bob McDonald: Bob is a senior executive with over 35 years of broad-ranging management experience, with extensive background in corporate restructuring, new product development, operations enhancement and profitability improvement. He was a CEO of Entrepo, President of Commodores's Computer Division, and General Manager of General Instrument's Memory and Microprocessor Division.

Michelle Fisher: Michelle, the founder and CEO of Blaze Mobile, is a visionary leader who has conceived and launched over a dozen online initiatives in dial-up, broadband and the wireless space, including and Microsoft Network in Europe. While at SBC, she launched Media Park, a broadband service for creative professionals in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and New York.

John Welder: John is the Director of Engineering Operational Excellence at Ericsson. He has managed and helped grow the careers of international engineering and operational teams for over 10 years. John also enjoys spending time with his family and playing acoustic guitar.

Related resource on ProjectConnections:
April 15, 2010 Meeting
Panel Discussion:
If Agile Teams Are Self-Managing, What Do Managers Do?

Moderator: Ron Lichty, VPE of Fix-It;
Panelists: Chris Sims, Agile Learning Labs Founder, Trainer, Coach; Earl Everett - Lyris, Director of Engineering Practices; Rafat Alvi - Eduify, CTO and VP Engineering; Ted Young - Guidewire Software, Dev Mgr, BillingCenter team

This meeting was composed of an introduction to the topic, a period of interactive brainstorming about it, and a panel discussion to dive deeper into areas of questions and disagreements. At the beginning of the brainstorm session, all attendees came up with what they believe the most important job of a software development manager to be. Then in round-robin form everyone relayed their item to the group and it was written on a large post-it, and the group collectively decided where to place that item among these categories: Related to Agile - is this a responsibility that goes away for the development manager? remains the same under Agile practices? Or remains but gets adjusted somehow?

The large room of attendees (over 70) brought up a huge range of expected responsibilities including everything from ensuring staff development to ensuring design quality to developing technology roadmaps and many more and had a lively discussion.

The following quotes from several Agile luminaries were shared in Ron Lichty's closing presentation slides — and were very consistent with the group's brainstorming results.

  • "Managers are still needed. Not so much for their planning and controlling ability, but for the important job of interfacing on the team's behalf with the rest of the organization."
    --Diana Larsen, Industrial Logic
  • "Leaders can influence how a team or teams self-organize... Leaders do not sit idly by while their organizations evolve. Instead, they help guide the organization's evolution... Managers and leaders provide the energy that sustains self-organization and evolution by inspiring and challenging employees... There is more to self-organization than buying pizza and getting out of the way."
    --Mike Cohn, Succeeding with Agile
  • "Managers become facilitators, liaisons and network builders, boundary managers, resource allocaters, team champions and advocates, and in most cases, still have responsibility to watch the budget.."
    --Diana Larsen, Industrial Logic
  • Lean-Agile management is the art of leading people, not managing them... Leading people involves creating the correct environment, focusing them on the right things, and trusting them to do their work... In Lean-Agile, the manager has two primary responsibilities: setting the outcomes or goals expected of the team; assisting the doers in creating a better process and workspace to get their jobs done... The Lean-Agile manager should be relentless in raising awareness of the two biggest wastes in software development: delays and building what is not needed.
    --Alan Shalloway, Net Objectives
Related resource on ProjectConnections:
March 18, 2010 Meeting
Bust The Silos - How to Improve Groups Working TogetherJeff Saperstein

  • "The way we work is our most important innovation." Keying off this assertion, Jeff Saperstein provided an interesting perspective on the changing organizational orientation that's evolving in the workplace. He outlined a shift from the supply-chain model of information flow and relationships among organizations in a sector, to that of demand creation (marketing of an organization's capabilities) and "on demand collaboration." This new structure is based on new cross-company business processes supported by technology—to enable organizations to be more customer-centric and responsive by working together in unique ways, resulting in increased productivity and sustained, profitable growth for everyone. He discussed examples of multiple entities in a sector finding new ways to work together to innovate and serve customers, including university-government-industry collaboration.
  • To enable these new models to work, Jeff focused on the differences in people's work and attitudes within a company, moving from old, more silo-based orientations to more flexibility in people and processes. For example, he contrasted heavily functional organizations with narrow and deep specialists with rigid vertical orientation and static, predictable workflow; and an organization where groups are multi-disciplinary and people are multi-knowledgeable, and training and support systems are set up to enable that approach. Organizations are more permeable, able to work in shifting ways with a constellation of vendors and partners. And they are able to respond flexibly in the midst of chaos rather than being tied to a rigid product life-cycle approach.
  • One key he discussed is enabling new work processes for creating intellectual property. Another is for organizations to get much better at recognizing patterns in the marketplace—for example, new patterns of consumption or changes in how certain technology is being used—so they can recognize shifts ahead of time and respond quickly with new products and services.
  • A big issue to address to make all this possible for organizations is the infrastructure for their sector and this way of collaborating. As one example, Jeff mentioned greatly speeding the time to get new intellectual property commercialized, which requires systems and processes across university, legal, government, and industry entities to make every step much faster.

Jeff finally talked about one of his major focus areas: preparing young people to function in this new world, and how they're already in a place where they share information more freely, do not understand our hierarchical structures, and have no patience for all our organizational nonsense. If we train them for multi-disciplinary work, strong communication skills, and other soft skills, they'll be able to marry their already-collaborative mindsets with strong skill sets to help make this new model possible.

Learn more from the book, Bust the Silos: Opening Your Organization for Growth.

Related resource on ProjectConnections:
February 18, 2010 Meeting
Learning as LeadershipShayne Hughes

Shane Hughes is CEO of Learning as Leadership and spoke about what we have to know about ourselves in order to be able to lead others. Some key points from his talk:

  • Shayne asserted that the single most important factor in an executive's ability to lead an organization is his/her ability to manage their anxiety.
  • Teams that know each other's weaknesses and strengths can compensate naturally and perform better.
  • Fear and time management are tied. We have to get around what our fears cause us to do, e.g. procrastinate.
  • We need to understand this chain of causation: How we think affects our feelings, which affect our behaviors, which in turn affect the results we get.
  • Our ego hijacks our thinking ... and leads to a constant preoccupation with our own self-worth. We can get defensive and go into "vulnerability avoidance"; we can get obsessive about getting acknowledged.
  • We need to be aware of our anxieties and have intentional goals—know what we care most about even if our worst fears are realized. We have to understand what triggers make us want to shut down, and know what things help us keep going and let go of our fears.

Related resource on ProjectConnections:

Resources for Personal Leadership Development Resources for being a leader on projects
January 26, 2010 Meeting
Secrets of Successful Networking: Expanding Your Professional Network Jeff Richardson

Jeff covered principles and process designed to transform your networking into process that generates results, based on the seminars he puts on through his company Empowered Alliances. He used a very active experiential approach to get everyone engaged in and comfortable with practical networking approaches. To get the full story see the presentation "Secrets of Successful Networking - Jeff Richardson" in the EL SIG Resources Library. Three main points that came out of the session as Jeff's main admonitions to people working to put the networking approaches into use:

  • Keep in mind that you need to learn from everything you do
  • Building trust is key and they you've got to give something of value to create a memory
  • Take a 3-step approach: prepare objectives, network to achieve, and follow-up on achievement during networking and reflect on what could be better
Related resource on ProjectConnections:

Resources for Roles in the EL SIG Engineering Management Career Path
(EL SIG members have Premium access to all ProjectConnections content.)

Coming soon: Specific links to resources for each step in the engineering leadership career path. Meanwhile, check out the links below:

Other Recommended Resources on the site
(EL SIG members have Premium access to all ProjectConnections content.)

Quick Links to ProjectConnections Resources Libraries
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