Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

Don't get overconfident… Tiny minds also think alike

Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

Cogito Ergo Sum Pragmaticus

November 10th, 2008 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 2 Comments

“Cogito Ergo Sum Pragmaticus” (= I think, therefore I am Pragmatic | I am not a native latin speaker but the sound felt right ;)

I will dare to claim that eating restrictions and drinking contradictions for breakfast* is one of the first steps in the pragmatic** manager journey.

The ability to combine a revolution-like sense-of-urgency characteristics

  • Opportunistic result oriented thinking with basic strive for early result (a.k.a. Constant search for simple low-hanging-fruits)
  • Edgy pro-activeness in identifying and mitigating possible risks, bottlenecks or any other result-pooper
  • Choosing the right battles with healthy pareto mindset

Spiced with René Descartes methodological skepticism

  • Constant questioning and reflection: Why are we doing it? What problem are we solving? Is it really worth it? Is there an easier way? What will happen if we will drop it?
  • Embrace doubt in current assumptions, restrictions, taboos, procedures, personal and corporate comfort zones or any other sacred cows
  • Decipher the important vs. the urgent

With some Chinese long-term thinking

  • Define a clear vision and goals
  • Team building
  • Invest time in analyzing market trends and technological direction

Are only some of the basic elements needed to reach a pragmatism Zen (!)


Three Pragmaticus Tips:

* Don’t Skip Breakfast – Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day! ;)

** Schedule a weekly recurring meetings in your schedule to proactively reflect on your life contradictions

*** Google engineers have launched a new Google Blog Directory – Very inresting reading…

→ 2 CommentsTags: Leadership · Management · Project Management

Project Management Tips

October 25th, 2008 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 2 Comments

“All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients”Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jerry Madden retired from NASA in 1995 as Associate Director of Flight Projects at Goddard Space Flight Center.
During his distinguished 37-year career, he have collected more than 100 observations about project management

IMHO, these are the best three:

(#14) Never ask management to make a decision that you can make. Assume you have the authority to make decisions unless you know there is a document that states unequivocally that you cannot.

// I have deleted the last part since I really think that people should strive to make decisions even if there is a document that states that you can’t…

(#16) Never make excuses; instead, present plans of actions to be taken

// IMHO, NO Results with a GOOD excuse will never even resemble Results

(#59) Running does not take the place of thinking. For yourself, you must take time to smell the roses. For your work, you must take time to understand the consequences of your actions.

//You better THINK!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Leadership · Project Management · Software Management

Managing Engineers is like Herding Cats

October 4th, 2008 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 2 Comments

When “The Moscow Cats Theater” came to New York, the Russian clown Yuri Kuklachev was interviewed:  the secret of training them is realizing that you can’t force cats to do anything […] If the cat likes to sit you can’t force her to do anything else […] Each cat likes to do her own trick […] Maruska is the only one who does the handstand. I find the cat and see what they like to do and use that in the show […] I have a cat now that loves to be in the water…”



Personally, I think that managing engineers is much more complicated than herding cats (although I didn’t have the twisted pleasure to herd a cat yet)

When you go out of your way to hire the best people around than soon enough you will find yourself herding a superior, class A, hyper-developed mutant Ligers* who are much more knowledgeable than the herder (a.k.a. you)

In this environment you have to learn to simply trust your people (although this is not simple at all :), mark the vision, let them loose and only help to get rid of the stones in their way (this concept was best described as the Open Kimono** policy in Peopleware)

Well…. Managing the Delver Engineers is like Herding Legendary Ligers and you need to make a superior effort to see what these ligers “likes to do” and run fast enough to set the Vision and move the rocks out of the way.


* The Liger, is a (huge) hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger

** Open Kimono Attitude: You take no steps to defend yourself from the people you have put in positions of trust.

By the way, The best answer I found on the origin of the term “Herding Cats” was in Google Answers

→ 2 CommentsTags: Delver · Development · Leadership · Management · People · Project Management · Software Management

People, People, People

July 24th, 2007 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · No Comments

‘A’ TeamThe major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.” (Peopleware, 1987)

I think that human capital is the silver bullet* for successful software projects – productivity, personalities, teamwork and group dynamics will make or break a project.

Picking the right people is maybe the most important managerial task so on your next interviews please remember** that knowledge can be easily acquired but personality is there to stay.

Don’t spend 90% of your interview time on knowledge when personality (and potential) is the real key for successful recruitment.

* Although “Peopleware” have a full chapter on how there is no silver bullet… but I partially agree since I never said it will be easy to get to the human capital silver bullet…
** Also remember: Somewhere today a project is failing… and I can personally guarantee that people were somehow involved in its failure!

→ No CommentsTags: Leadership · People · Recruiting · Software Management

Green Managers

July 19th, 2007 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · No Comments

Dilbert ManagementGreen Managers – Five top common mistakes with two cent tips.

Managing is more then juggling day-to-day tasks – Make a difference, lead to change… Construct a vision, set goals and encourage innovation.Delegation-less: “Never mind, I will do it…
Simply start delegating like hell!

Sagemet – (Hebrew Slang, The sickness of a green officer in IDF) – You don’t let yourself be human and you fall in-love with your new title.
Remember, management title does not elicit automatic respect and obedience and just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you can’t be human – Feel free to laugh, show emotion and you can even make an occasional mistake ;-)

Mr. Know-all – You think you know everything.
Be sure you don’t know everything is maybe is maybe the most important part of getting into new managerial position. Listen to the people around you and keep an open mind.

Ooops, employees…
As a manager you must remember the three most important success factors: 1. People 2. People and surprisingly enough 3. People
Listen to your employees, take the time to know them, empower them, tell people what you want, not how to do it, don’t put policies ahead of people etc.

Good Luck!

→ No CommentsTags: Leadership · Management · People · Software Management