The Soft Side of Software

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10 Ways to Be a Better Interviewer:
Plan ahead to make the interview a successful one.

Of course, there is no right way to do an interview, but you can always be better. Make an effort to make your candidates as comfortable as possible so they have the greatest chance for success.

by Kate Matsudaira | July 18, 2017

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

Bad Software Architecture is a People Problem:
When people don’t work well together they make bad decisions.

It all started with a bug. Customers were complaining that their information was out of date on the website. They would make an update and for some reason their changes weren’t being reflected. Caching seemed like the obvious problem, but once we started diving into the details, we realized it was a much bigger issue.

by Kate Matsudaira | July 18, 2016

Topic: Business/Management

1 comments

Breadth and Depth:
We all wear many hats, but make sure you have one that fits well.

When people ask me the question of where they should focus their time I ask them what is the one thing you could be the best in the world at? The answer might be going deep or going wide. The important thing is to spend your time on building the skills that will move you to where to you want to go.

by Kate Matsudaira | September 6, 2017

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

Conversations with Technology Leaders: Erik Meijer:
Great engineers are able to maximize their mental power.

Whether you are a leader, a programmer, or just someone aspiring to be better, I am sure there are some smart takeaways from our conversation that will help you grow in your role. Oh, and if you read to the end, you can find out what his favorite job interview question is - and see if you would be able to pass his test.

by Kate Matsudaira | May 10, 2017

Topic: Business/Management

1 comments

Delegation as Art:
Be someone who makes everyone else better.

When I started my career as a junior engineer, I couldn’t wait to be senior. I would regularly review our promotion guidelines and assess my progress and contributions against them. Of course, at the time I didn’t really understand what being senior meant. Being a senior engineer means having strong technical skills, the ability to communicate well and navigate ambiguous situations, and most important of all, the ability to grow and lead other people. Leadership isn’t just for managers anymore.

by Kate Matsudaira | April 18, 2016

Topic: Development

1 comments

Design Patterns for Managing Up:
Four challenging work situations and how to handle them

Challenges come up all the time at work. Spend time now thinking about how you want to be seen at work, and then think about how that version of you would respond to the challenges that you could encounter. When you have a plan in place, you are much more likely to succeed.

by Kate Matsudaira | January 16, 2019

Topic: Business/Management

3 comments

Does Anybody Listen to You?:
How do you step up from mere contributor to real change-maker?

An idea on its own is not worth much. Just because you think you know a better way to do something, even if you’re right, no one is required to care. Making great things happen at work is about more than just being smart. Good ideas succeed or fail depending on your ability to communicate them correctly to the people who have the power to make them happen. When you are navigating an organization, it pays to know whom to talk to and how to reach them. Here is a simple guide to sending your ideas up the chain and actually making them stick.

by Kate Matsudaira | March 1, 2017

Topic: Development

0 comments

Fresh Starts:
Just because you have been doing it the same way doesn’t mean you are doing it the right way.

I love fresh starts. Growing up, one of my favorite things was starting a new school year. From the fresh school supplies to the promise of a new class of students, teachers, and lessons, I couldn’t wait for summer to be over and to go back to school. The same thing happens with new jobs. They reinvigorate you, excite you, and get you going.

by Kate Matsudaira | September 12, 2016

Topic: Development

0 comments

How Is Your Week Going So Far?:
Praise matters just as much as money.

None of us hears "thank you" or "awesome job" enough at work. Being the person who praises other people is an amazing person to be, especially when you follow this formula for making your praise ridiculously effective.

by Kate Matsudaira | January 30, 2018

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

How to Come up with Great Ideas:
Think like an entrepreneur.

No matter what your profession, learning to think more innovatively and spark new ideas can help you. I have included some points and inspiration that have helped me, but the real key is changing your behavior and taking action.

by Kate Matsudaira | March 29, 2018

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

How to Create a Great Team Culture (and Why It Matters):
Build safety, share vulnerability, establish purpose.

As leader of the team, you have significant influence over your team’s culture. You can institute policies and procedures that help make your team happy and productive, monitor team successes, and continually improve the team. Another important part of team culture, however, is helping people feel they are a part of creating it. How can you expand the job of creating a culture to other team members?

by Kate Matsudaira | April 3, 2019

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Feel Like It:
Five strategies for pushing through

If you want to be successful, then it serves you better to rise to the occasion no matter what. That means learning how to push through challenges and deliver valuable results.

by Kate Matsudaira | September 18, 2018

Topic: Business/Management

4 comments

Lean Software Development - Building and Shipping Two Versions:
Catering to developers’ strengths while still meeting team objectives

Once I was managing a software team and we were working on several initiatives. Projects were assigned based on who was available, their skillsets, and their development goals. This resulted in two developers, Mary and Melissa, being assigned to the same project.

by Kate Matsudaira | October 31, 2015

Topic: Development

2 comments

Nine Things I Didn’t Know I Would Learn Being an Engineer Manager:
Many of the skills aren’t technical at all.

When I moved from being an engineer to being a dev lead, I knew I had a lot to learn. My initial thinking was that I had to be able to do thorough code reviews, design and architect websites, see problems before they happened, and ask insightful technical questions. To me that meant learning the technology and becoming a better engineer. When I actually got into the role (and after doing it almost 15 years), the things I have learned--and that have mattered the most--weren’t those technical details.

by Kate Matsudaira | May 9, 2016

Topic: Development

0 comments

Overly Attached:
Know when to let go of emotional attachment to your work.

A smart, senior engineer couldn’t make logical decisions if it meant deprecating the system he and his team had worked on for a number of years. Even though the best thing would have been to help another team create the replacement system, they didn’t want to entertain the idea because it would mean putting an end to something they had invested so much in. It is good to have strong ownership, but what happens when you get too attached?

by Kate Matsudaira | May 19, 2019

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

Resolving Conflict:
Don’t "win." Resolve.

I am conflicted about conflict. On one hand, I hate it. Hearing people disagree, even about minor things, makes me want to run through the nearest wall and curl up under my bed until it’s over. On the other hand, when it happens, I always want to get into it.

by Kate Matsudaira | November 15, 2016

Topic: Development

0 comments

The Evolution of Management:
Transitioning up the ladder

With each step up, the job changes - but not all of the changes are obvious. You have to shift your mindset, and focus on building new skills that are often very different from the skills that made you successful in your previous role.

by Kate Matsudaira | July 22, 2019

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

The Importance of a Great Finish:
You have to finish strong, every time.

How can you make sure that you are recognized as a valuable member of your team, whose work is seen as critical to the team’s success? You have to finish strong, every time. Here is how to keep your momentum up and make the right moves to be a visible contributor to the final success of every project.

by Kate Matsudaira | November 19, 2018

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

The Paradox of Autonomy and Recognition:
Thoughts on trust and merit in software team culture

Who doesn’t want recognition for their hard work and contributions? Early in my career I wanted to believe that if you worked hard, and added value, you would be rewarded. I wanted to believe in the utopian ideal that hard work, discipline, and contributions were the fuel that propelled you up the corporate ladder. Boy, was I wrong.

by Kate Matsudaira | February 16, 2016

Topic: Development

2 comments

The Secret Formula for Choosing the Right Next Role:
The best careers are not defined by titles or resume bullet points.

Focus on factors that will increase your career capital and make you a more valuable hire in your next role, and the one after that, and the one after that. When you are looking at the options for your next role, there are smarter choices that you can make.

by Kate Matsudaira | July 23, 2018

Topic: Business/Management

0 comments

Views from the Top:
Try to see things from a manager’s perspective.

Leadership is hard. None of us comes to work to do a bad job, and there are always ways we can be better. So, when you have a leader who isn’t meeting your expectations, maybe try reframing the situation and looking at things a little differently from the top down.

by Kate Matsudaira | October 31, 2017

Topic: Business/Management

3 comments