JJ's Tips in
* Filling the Gaps With Awareness
* JJ's Quotes (on attitude, getting what you want)
* Resources to Learn More
Use these tips as training tools.
Present the problem to your group and
brainstorm solutions together.
Submit your own situation question to be
answered in an upcoming newsletter.
Communication and teamwork seem to be breaking down in some of our departments and
companies lately. What are a few of the possible communication gaps that we should be
aware of that might help us?
The solution to finding possible gaps was submitted by Jay Michlin, Senior VP and General
Manager of the Transitive Technologies Ltd. Manchester Design Center. He shared this
summary of some of the popular business-rule-of-thumb "laws" that could
effectively show gaps in your thinking and communication. Whether youre managing a
company (in any industry), department or just yourself, apply these to adjust attitudes
and improve your communication and teamwork.
'Laws' to Work By
Seven laws. No court in the
world will lock you up for breaking any of them. But for corporate IT people, they're
crucial - not just because of what they mean, but because of what users, managers and
executives think they mean. That gap is what will really get you in trouble.
Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for
Who said it: Historian C. Northcote Parkinson, in a 1955 article in The Economist.
What it means: We can stretch any work to last as long as necessary.
What too many people think it means: We can compress any project into a shrinking
Why the difference matters: We can't squeeze into impossible schedules, no matter how
loudly the executives scream.
"Transistor density on a manufactured semiconductor! die doubles about every 18
Who said it: Intel founder Gordon Moore, in a 1965 article for Electronics magazine.
(Moore originally said density doubles every year.)
What it means: Chip makers keep getting better at cramming transistors onto chips.
What too many people think it means: Computers double their ability to get work done every
Why the difference matters: Transistor density doesn't equal computer power. And even if
it did, computer power doesn't equal the ability to get work done.
Brooks' Law: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it
Who said it: Frederick P. Brooks Jr., in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month.
What it means: Getting new team members up to speed delays development even more than just
finishing the job with the existing team.
What too many people think it means: A crazy idea. If throwing more people at the problem
doesn't help, how could it hurt?
Why the difference! matters: Developing systems isn't like picking sweet corn. Until we
all understand that, we'll keep wasting the time and people we throw at projects that slip
Murphy's Law: "If there is any way to do it wrong, someone will."
Who said it: Air Force Capt. Edward A. Murphy, 1949.
What it means: Unless you bulletproof a procedure or system, things go wrong.
What too many people think it means: Things will always go wrong.
Why the difference matters: Failure isn't inevitable - unless we assume it is.
Hoare's Law (of Large Problems): "Inside every large problem is a small
problem struggling to get out."
Who said it: Oxford professor C.A.R. Hoare, in a 1984 article for the journal The
What it means: Big problems are really made up of smaller problems.
What too many people think it means: Big problems are really small problems.
Why it matters: Finding a small problem at the center of a larger problem isn't enough to
solve the larger problem - it's only a start. If you mistake the little solution for the
big solution, you'll end up testing Brooks' Law.
Metcalfe's Law: "The value of a network grows as the square of the number of
Who said it: Ethernet inventor Robert Metcalfe.
What it means: The more users who can communicate with one another on a network, the more
useful it is.
What too many people think it means: The more users who are on the Internet, the more
profitable it is.
Why the difference matters: Just ask any dot-com that's now a flaming wreck on the
Weinberg's Law: "If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote
programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization."
Who said it: Software engineering guru Gerald M. Weinberg.
What it means: It is possible to build better software.
What too many people think it means: All programmers are incompetent, and all software is
Why the difference matters: Never mind professional pride - if users really believe
software is junk, why should they keep paying for their own expensive software developers?
They can get junk anywhere.
Column in 9/3/01 ComputerWorld
Attitude: Life is 10% what happens to you and
90% how you react to it. We are in charge of our attitudes.
What you dwell on is what you get.
RESOURCES To Hone Your Skills:
Book: Customer Service Management-How to Manage Customer Relations
Programs by JJ: http://www.jjlauderbaugh.com/Programs/programs.html
JJ Lauderbaugh, CPCM
408 866-7673 or 800 500-9656
189 Altura Vista Dr.
Los Gatos, CA 95032.
JJ works with companies that want to give world class service and with
Directors and Managers who want to grow their people. Specialties are
performance improvement, customer care, teamwork, up selling, outbound calling,
soft skills and management coaching, training and consulting.
For training resources, free articles, tips and streaming video, go to our web site at
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