Some notes on napkins

From time to time I make some quick notes. I think it’s a good time to collect them here:

  1. Good Manager simplifies complex things
  2. Great (Clear) idea compensate a lot of gaps to be achieved
  3. Power of Manager is a power of his team. Hire powerfull employees.
    A Manager hire A employees
    B Manager hire B/C employees
    C Manager hire D employees.
    Be an A Manager
  4. Leadership is about bravery: to take reponsibility, make decision, be transparent.
  5. Under Process we still mean exact People. Under Changes we mean exact People.
  6. Before giving benefit, define what you want to take back at the end.
  7. To change some process you need to describe the process at first.
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Homophobia from Employees – how to react?

Recently, there was a case when an employee was fired from a large company for speaking aggressively on LinkedIn.

In fact, I was surprised by the reaction of some colleagues and decided to share my opinion:

1) Aggression, which is aimed at a certain large and heterogeneous group of people on the basis that is given by nature (gender, sexual preference, age, skin color, nation, etc.) is essentially close to hooliganism for no reason: such aggression does not put in the calculation of a specific person to whom it can be directed. It can be any person with different values ​​and education. Usually, it’s a normal person.
Such aggression is irrational. I think this is a sign of some kind of trauma, fear, or lack of education.

2) Such aggression devalues ​​a person, reducing his dignity to a certain sign. I have doubts that it is possible to build rational, open, positive relationships with such a person.

3) In their work, such people clearly create risks, given the fact that other team members and the customer may belong to the group. Working with such a person is a ticking time bomb. Perhaps he extends this pattern to other groups (for example, women)? I understand this reaction from the company.

About the dismissal. Here I have a twofold feeling and the question: does it make sense first to give a choice to such an aggressor: take a course with a psychologist/psychotherapist or still quit. Should the company take responsibility for the person in matters of psychological health? I don’t have an answer yet.
I am also surprised to read the opinions of other members of the IT community when they support the expression of such aggression. On the other hand, I understand that it is sometimes difficult to draw a line between freedom of expression and irrational aggression.

I also made a survey “Should the company pay attention to the psychological health of the employee?”

Out of 618 people, the answers were distributed as follows:
40% – Yes – conduct training
30% – Of course – a psychologist should be on staff
30% – No – it’s a human business

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Few opinions about Interview

I read more and more about the 4 stages of an interview, etc. I was also previously skeptical about the principle of fast hire, fast fire.

At the moment, I have two opinions on this matter.

Opinion number 1

A good interview could consist of 3 parts.

Ideally, could be reduced to one interview:
The first part (30 minutes) is HRM pre-screening, which is essentially done to save time and superficially assess the candidate / match the position and the company as a whole (soft skills). The candidate asks questions about the company. This can be done simply as a short informal acquaintance. This part is best done separately from the interview.
The second part (1.5 hours) is carried out by a similar Expert Advisor, which is one level higher. It is important to have a quick test task (30 minutes). This part will help you understand the suitability of the position (hard skills)
The third part (30 minutes) is a direct acquaintance with the future manager. This will help to understand alignment with the future objectives / values ​​of the leadership. For an employee – to get specific work. Unfortunately, this important part is often skipped because the manager is busy or even uknown. Anyway this part gives necessary specifics and can solve a lot of questions and risks in future.

In total, the optimal duration of an interview with a separate prescreening / acquaintance is 2 hours.

Anything that longer seems to me more redundant and can be minimized to this timing. Of course there are exceptions: you build rockets or is has a non-trivial position.
Anything shorther – carries certain risks and benefits.

Opinion number 2

After all the interviews I have done and the bugs caught, my slogan is:

The best test for a person is directly the work that he has to do.

I made sure that:

  • There are candidates who can go through all the stages, any tricky interviews and tests, but show their inadequacy to the work / team,
  • There are also candidates who do not disclose at the interview, but demonstrate excellent results at a specific job.

There is another important reason why employees can leave their work after an excelent interview and great manager:

Work and external factors affecting the employee are also quite dynamic things.

If a person came to the same tasks, there is a possibility that over time (and usually unexpectedly soon) they will change, like the manager, the team. Even candidates don’t know if they can cope with such changes. Only time and specific work in a specific team will tell.

As a result, I think it doesn’t make sense to scare away candidates with complex interview: you will never find all hidden stones or gold. Real work will make it clean and clear.

In fact, I think fast hire, fast fire still makes sense, no matter how brutal it sounds.

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It was a white stripe

Against the background of a decrease in connections / interactions within companies due to the coronavirus, I see a tendency towards a decrease in the values of values / attachments / loyalty of employees to the company. This greatly simplifies the attitude of employees towards changing jobs.

According to my feelings, we are only on the eve of a hiring crisis.

It seems to me that it’s time to revise your answers to the question:
“Why our company is better for an employee than company X, Y, Z”.

I see that many people have already accepted the fact that working from home is better than from the office. In fact, the quality and location of the office is no longer important, fresh coffee is not important, there are fewer intersections in extra-project activities, contacts with colleagues have become more abstract and virtual.

When a person stays at home, he definitely loses the mental connection with the context of the company, he contacts more with his personal environment (family, children, park near the house).

It seems to me that it entails a change of focus and priorities – people are more focused on themselves, on their environment, and their personal goals/comfort than on the company and its values, goals.

What’s still in the price is something that can improve the personal environment:

  1. Salary often comes to the fore. Left alone with personal space, there was a clear desire to improve and expand it.
  2. The ability to easily go to a completely different comfortable location for yourself / family (at sea) and work from there.
  3. More time for personal life, less workload (reducing the working week no longer seems fantastic)
  4. Interesting work and a good project team.
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Big Difference

I notice it many times

There are two key types of people:

  1. People who are talking about the job
  2. People who is just do the job

I’ve noticed that people who are talking a lot before any job, spend the energy on how to avoid and delegate the work. It’s not bad, but one more strategy of life.

How to recognize them: they provide a lot of critics, they don’t want to take responsibilities, they are not proactive, they like to discuss others work, etc.

They select a “victim” role, but not “actor”.

Usually, they demotivate. Under the criticism, they like to hide their laziness or lack of their own motivation.

I respect people who take the job and move to success. This is the best example. All things in the world are done by their efforts.

They don’t search for an excuse, but ways to solve the problem.



Work and Horses

There are two nice proverbs about work and horses which I often share with my colleagues to describe few ideas in clear and easy way.

The first one is from Russia:

Horse worked harder than other on the farm, but don’t became a farm owner

I think it’s a good example, if you need to describe that you don’t need work harder, but more effective and smart.

Another is from the East:

Get off the horse if she died

It means that it doesn’t make sense to work on obsolete idea or goal. You need to select another one.

Sometime you need to be brave enough to realize that work you’re doing does not makes sense anymore. It looks stupid to continue with it.

Chaotic thoughts about processes and people

Time after time, it’s the strong feeling growing in me:

Processes are much less important than people who set and handle them. Even more: we’re speaking processes, but meaning people.

As far as I see, the process is just a tool created by the exact group of people to achieve defined goals.

From such point of view, the right process is just the implementation of the visions of the right people.

I think, that is the root cause why the processes in different companies has different level of success.

From another side the quality of a process and achieved results depending on the people who perform it.

As a result, even similar processes can produce different results. It makes hard to reapply the process to another environment.

I think the company culture plays a big role here.

This point brings to live another old idea to remove the human factor to make the process stable.

It makes sense, but what I see everytime I want to implement it

It’s really amazing how many efforts do you need to make an human-independent process.

Probably the cost of this approach is the biggest factor why it’s not applied everywhere and we’re still working with human-based processes.

In general, there are a lot of open questions. Some of them I want solve:

  1. How to build a stable process, but with room for creativity?
  2. What technics is more effective in building stable human-dependent processes. What books are describing them?
  3. How a company culture should grow to motivate the people for accurate process execution? How to do it without pressing and checking?

It’s a real, real-time world

In the last years, it becomes clear to me that the world was changed. The cool book The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly confirmed my vision and structured it. Let me put some key changes which amaze me even now.

  1. The systems and things we’re doing existing just NOW in the continues flow of transformations and updates. Nobody cares how the things looked before. If the thing is not flexible and not supported it degrades very fast. Let’s imagine such a situation: the system stays 3 months without developers and users and then they are back. I think it will be really hard to recover how it worked before. Additionally, the system will be outdated. Let me rephrase: systems existing only during development and using!
  2. Flows of changes and data are becoming so rapid that you can see them in real-time. Delivery time is reduced just to seconds everywhere: communications, news, video streams, apps changes etc.
  3. The implementations of ideas or technologies are delivered and changing so fast that details are minor. What becomes important is the working idea, business model and understanding of the core principles.

To be honest, I’m not happy with some aspects since I was born in another world, but it’s totally clear that we need to accept and follow the changes to be successful.

To be a working part of human-machine interactions we’re creating, not only things we do, but we ourselves should follow the rules:

  1. If you want to manage the changes flow you need to be fast. Decisions should be made now and corrected in the future. You should be a real-time man.
  2. You should be flexible and open to changes.
  3. You should invest your time in the understanding of core principles. Details will be found during the implementation.
  4. You should be responsive. If you’ve received the request you should handle it ASAP.

I hope we don’t lose our humanity in this challenging and stressfully world.

P.S. I recommend the book from above. It provides useful ideas in a clear and simple way.

london telephone booth long exposure lights

Good Roman proverb

You are angry – means, you are not right.

I wish to remember it in discussion.

Team Mascot

As I wrote in the post about Communication Channels:

A little informality in communication makes it more humane and open.

It means more effective and positive.

For such purpose, I’ve used the solution from mass media, marketing, and sports clubs:

Each team selects their own Mascot – some well-known character(s) from comics or movies who brings luck. Examples: Simpsons, Superman, Transformers, Star Wars etc.

Then the team uses it in different places across the project:

  1. We add related images in emails.
  2. We add related images in slides and presentations. Even in demonstrations to the customer 😉
  3. We put related memes in chats
  4. We use mascot avatars in messengers
  5. We give related presents like small figures or T-Shirts for project success or for some achievements
  6. We’re using the mascot during hackathons or team events

Let me share an example of “Welcome On Board” email on our project and let’s imagine it just without the image:

mascot example


It’s easy and not serious, but it unites the team and makes it really unique.

Side note: it’s nice if the team selected a mascot which includes group of characters like Simpsons or M&M’s. In this case, each team member can find something special for himself.

Don’t hesitate to be funny!

Humor makes us human!