Friday, May 30, 2008

Do Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)?

My son was off to his job at the bike shop wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I made the comment that I could almost dress that casual in my new job. It got me thinking about clothes and work.

Before landing at Lombardi Software, I interviewed with few other companies. In a number of cases, they were moving away from business casual back to business formal dress, which meant either a shirt/tie or sport coat. While I like dressing up, and I did my share of it in the Navy, I have to wonder, does it really matter what we wear?

Obviously, anyone can take it to an extreme, and anytime I'm with clients I make sure I am dressed as well as them, but if I'm in the office with my co-workers, does it matter if I'm in jeans?

I think the military had it right, it's about conformity. Some public schools are also going to uniforms for a similar reason. If we're all dressed about the same, no one is going to feel singled out because of what they wear, and ideally, everyone will work better together. I don't need a suit to make me a better worker, I'm fine in my jeans and polo shirt as long as that's what everyone else is wearing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So what's the culture like at the place you work? Is it focused on the success of the company, or individuals? Do people work well together or is there friction? What have you done to make the culture better?

I worked in one organization that started to rank employees as part of the annual performance evaluation. The people ranked high got raises, the ones at the bottom of the list were at risk for loosing their jobs. This made for a very competitive workplace (i.e., backstabbing). I am glad not to be there anymore and as I was looking for a new position, I asked about the culture and how they handled performance reviews to make sure I didn't get into the same boat again.

At my current company, they took the time as part of the on-boarding process to talk about the culture of the organization, and it wasn't just an HR person reading off a set of slides. It was one of the VPs that had been with the company and could talk to how the culture has evolved over the years. This step keeps the culture evolving in a positive manner so that the company continues to be successful.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Projects at Work

I am officially part of the Projects at Work editorial board, see this (you have to scroll all the way down to find me).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

This is a theme where I work. The company looks for people that are passionate about what they do, whether it's someone like me who's passionate about process improvement and project management, or one of the developers being passionate about developing outstanding software.

The idea is that we should have this passion, but at the same time, be open to new ideas. Based on my research, this quote originated with Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future.

As an example, while I am passionate about project management, in the last few years I've moved more toward agile project management. What are you passionate about? Are you open to new ideas in this area?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Virtual PM Tools

I had an article published today in Projects at Work on virtual tools such as Second Life for project management. Read it here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Web Based Software

I was reading the June issue of Macworld on my flight back to Austin last night and it had an article about the rise of web-based programs. One program it specifically mentioned was Adobe's Photoshop Express, which I've started using. You can see some of my photos here.

I was having a discussion with someone using Rally's web-based agile project management software over the weekend. His conclusion was that while it was ok, there were some desktop features that this program didn't do as well because it was web-based. To me, the biggest limitation to web-based stuff is that you have to be connected to use most of it (though that is starting to change). For someone that does a lot of work on airplanes, this is a problem, at least until more planes start offering in-flight wi-fi. So for most things, I'll stick with my desktop application.

On a side note, I was featured in today's post on Dan Schawbel's blog, Personal Branding.

Monday, May 05, 2008

IT Does Matter

So I'm reading the book Does IT Matter by Nicholas Carr. His premise is that IT, like the railroads or other past technology innovations, gets to the point that because they are available to everyone they don't offer a competitive advantage and should be viewed as a commodity.

I think the difference between the railroads or the introduction of electricity and IT is that IT is continuing to evolve, and I'm not saying that just because I started a new job today with a software company. Successful companies will continue to take advantage of the latest innovations to stay ahead of the competitors. Companies in IT that want to stay in business will continue to find solutions to make customers successful.