MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/09122912/being_a_manager.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" Being a Manager







Being a Manager

Table of Contents


1. introduction.. 5

1.1 The management team of the_company. 5=

1.2 the_company managers wear multiple hats. 6=

1.3 Managers fulfill the promise of the_company. 6=

1.4 What does it mean to be an the_company manager?. 7=

2. m= anaging deliverables.. 7

2.1 Delegation. 7=

2.2 Assign responsibility for doing and for verification. 8=

2.3 Planning review.. 9=

2.4 Set clear timelines and target completion dates. 9=

2.4.1 Timelines and targets create mental structure and incentives. 10=

2.4.2 Timelines and targets facilitate cross-task planning. 10=

2.5 Break tasks into milestones. 10=

2.6 Progress reports. 10=

2.6.1 Analysis versus status. 11=

2.6.2 Resource control 12=

2.6.3 Grammar improvement 12=

2.6.4 Growth through building an awareness of softer and larger issues. 13=

2.6.5 Peer review.. 13=

2.6.6 Action items. 14=

2.6.7 Reading progress reports. 14=

2.7 Assisting with cross-project coordination. 14=

2.8 A note about tools. 15=

3. m= eetings.. 15

3.1 The costs and benefits of meetings. 15=

3.2 Preparation. 16=

3.2.1 Defining goals. 16=

3.2.2 Who, where, and when. 16=

3.2.3 Setting and following the agenda. 17=

3.2.4 Distributing the agenda. 17=

3.2.5 Meeting practicalities. 17=

3.3 Controlling the meeting. 18=

3.3.1 Tardiness. <= /span>18=

3.3.2 Turn off the mobile phones. 18=

3.3.3 Confidentiality. 18=

3.3.4 Chairing a meeting (keep on track) 18=

3.3.5 Be clear with action items. 19=

3.3.6 Arrange the next meeting at the meeting itself 19=

3.3.7 Setup follow-up meetings for issues too complex to be dealt with. 19=

3.4 Meeting minutes. 19=

3.5 Types of meetings. 20=

3.5.1 Weekly team meetings. 20=

3.5.2 One2One meetings. 20=

3.5.3 All-Staff meetings. 21=

3.5.4 Shareholder meetings. 21=

3.5.5 Managers meetings. 21=

3.5.6 Hallway Meetings. 21=

4. c= oaching: development of the_company culture and staff.. 21

4.1 The the_companyn. 21=

4.1.1 the_companyns are nerds. <= /span>21=

4.1.2 the_companyns are independent and multi-talented. 22=

4.1.3 the_companyns are damn good. 22=

4.2 Look out for your team.. 22=

4.2.1 Job satisfaction – challenge, accomplishment and reward. 22= Challenge. <= /span>22= Accomplishment and Reward. 23= Dealing with Failures. 24= Positive affect 24=

4.2.2 Being respectful, honest, clear, patient and positive. 24=

4.2.3 Use informal networks. 25=

4.3 Training and skills development 25=

4.3.1 Building skills. 25= Tech Reviews. 25= Brown Bags. 25= Formal Training. 25=

4.3.2 Building confidence. 26=

4.3.4 Nurturing talent 26=

4.4 Marketing your team.. 26=

4.5 Benefits of proper coaching. 26=

5. r= esource management.. 27

5.1 Time sheets. 27=

5.2 Vacation and MC leaves. 27=

5.2.1 Basic Policies. 28=

5.2.2 Exceptions. 28=

5.2.3 Exceptions are exceptions. 28=

5.2.4 Use Proper Processes. 29=

5.3 Handoffs (exiting and vacations) 29=

5.4 Working from home or coming in at odd hours. 29=

5.5 How many hours should people be working?. 30=

5.6 Working with other managers. 31=

5.7 Deflecting shit 31=

5.8 Developing resourcing strategies and budgeting. 32=

5.8.1 The Purposes of a Budget 32=

5.8.2  The benefits of Budgeting. 33=

5.8.3 Typical Steps in a Budget Preparation. 33=

5.8.4 Behavioural Implications of Budgeting (For Doris: control information and control reports – to explain further) 34= Motivation. 34= Poor attitudes in setting budgets. 34= Poor attitudes when putting plans into action. 35= Poor attitudes and the use of control information. 35= A Sample Budget 35=

5.9 Hiring and Firing. 35=

5.9.1 Preparing for Recruitment 35= Developing resourcing needs. 36= Developing Job Descriptions. 36=

5.9.2 Recruitment 36= Attracting Candidates. 36= Handling Resumes. 36= Interviewing. 37=

5.9.3 Making a Job Offer 38=

5.9.4 The Employee’s First Week. 38=

5.9.5 Probations and Confirmations. 39=

5.9.6 Raises and Promotions. 39=

5.9.7 Progressive Discipline and Documentation. 40=

5.9.8 Handling Misconduct 40=

5.9.9 Firing versus retrenchment versus resignation. 41=

5.9.10 Exit Interviewing. 41=

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;        1. introduction=


The role of the manager is to assure that the employee= s they manage are working as effectively and efficiently as possible and do so over many years of employment. 


Because the key to the_company= 217;s survival is our people, the role of manager is one of the most important ro= les at the_company.  In fact, we have a single designated manager for each major department/function in the organization.


1.1 The management te= am of the_company<= /span>




Chief Executive Officer

Defines, Manages, and Represents unified corporate v= ision internally and externally.  Manages the CXOs

Eric T.

Chief Operations Officer

Manage the company’s operations including acco= unts, sales, projects, legal, admin, and marketing


Chief Technical Officer

Manage the company’s technology resources and = direction


Project Director

Manages all the_company = projects and project managers from a bird’s eye perspective. Takes care of, = and does ongoing post-project sales with, existing clients. Manages accounts receivables.

Gunther (temporary)

Finance Director

Manages the company’s books


Human Resources Manager

Manages recruitment, employee satisfaction and enhancements, and employee related administration (such as CPF, medical leave, etc)

Hsien (temporary)

Office Manager

Manages the administration of the office


Marketing Manager

Manages marketing, including sales, PR/media, advert= ising, branding, the_company company websites, and w= orks closely with R&D Manager

Li Yuen

Art Director

Manages the design team


Sales Manager

Manages the sales team

Chin Qui

Infrastructure Director

Manages the infrastructure team


Development Manager (Java)

Manages the Java developers


Development Manager (Perl)

Manages the Perl developers


Development Manager (R&D)

Manages the R&D developers



1.2 <= /span>the_company<= /span> managers wear multiple hats<= /h2>

Of course, as you can see, being a small company, most= managers wear several hats. They may wear multiple managerial hats and they may also be both manager in one context and non-manager in another.


For example, the CEO XXX often works as a sales person underneath the direction of the Sales Manager.  At times, he even codes under the direction of the Development Managers for Perl and R&D. Up until recent= ly, he also managed the Perl team.


Eventually, as the_company= grows larger, this situation will change and managers will be allowed to focus so= lely on managing their teams. However, until then, managers must be able to wear multiple hats.


Of course, the problem with juggling so many balls is = that balls sometimes get dropped. Sadly, because the management of employees is = not obviously related to short-term deliverables, management responsibilities a= re often the first to go.  What managers need to realize is that the proper management of staff is required= for long-term survival. While it may be tempting to put of managerial tasks for= a “more convenient time”, this cannot be allowed, as it will have drastic consequences.


1.3 Managers fulfill the promise of the_company.

The paradoxical thing about the_company= is that even though we cannot provide things like job security, fancy training, proper support or regular hours, people still want to work for us. And even though we are understaffed, underpaid and cramped into a tiny and smelly of= fice with no receptionist, people come back day after day.<= /span>


Why is that?


Well, the_company= offers something that is not very easy to find in other companies. 


We offer an environment in which every employee has a voice (they can change the organization). 


We also give them room to breathe. The= y can do what they want to do and they can grow as fast as they want outside the usual HR restrictions imposed by most companies.


Finally, we have a top-notch team and = the right kind’ve environment to challenge  and encourage the right kind’ve people.


This is not something that happened by chance.  In fact, it has taken tremendous effort to create such an environment and it takes even more effo= rt to maintain it.


As a manager, one of your most importa= nt roles is to maintain the environment in which we all want to work. Without = the environment, it will not matter about the strengths of our products, or the promises of our marketing, or the successes of our past.  Without our environment we will lo= se our people and the whole company will come tumbling = down.=


1.4 What does it mean to be an the_company manager?

So what does it mean to be a manager at the_company? 


While every manager will have a job description docume= nt that should go over the job in detail, much of what a manager does is not in the details to be found in a standard job description, but in the rigors and realities daily work.


This document attempts to provide an introduction in o= rder to prepare new managers for the breadth of their job. It should also give seasoned managers a reminder about the more subtle duties that are expected= of them, but which might have slipped in the day-to-day grind.


As such, we will discuss the four key duties of any ma= nager:


  •         =                     =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =         2. = managing deliverables=


From a dollars and cents perspective, a manager is fir= st and foremost responsible for making sure that the deliverables assigned to his = or her team members are competed 1) on time, 2) on budget, and 3) to the quali= ty standards defined by the_company’s brand.=


Deliverables can be as complex as completing a multi-m= illion dollar project or as simple as developing a list of potential clients in a = new market.


Whether the deliverables are small or large, achieving results is crucial to the survival of the company.  Especially in a small company, even medium-level slip-ups in productivity can lead to dramatic losses in profitability.


2.1 Delegation

So how does the manager assure proper delivery?


Well, for one, managers must resist the temptation to “go in and do it themselves.”&= nbsp; It is not realistic for a manager to get too involved in the details= of all the projects that his or her team is working on.  Micro-management quickly becomes untenable because the manager will quickly run out of time.


Instead, as a manager, you should not worry so much ab= out the details. So long as you have carefully recruited and trained your team,= you should have faith that they will do a good job.


“People often delegate = 211; or fail to delegate – for all the wrong reasons. They hold on to a ta= sk because they like doing it, or want to do it, or are afraid not to do it, a= nd they will pass down some other task because they find it distasteful or ‘beneath them’ or have rationalized that it is not the best use= of their time.” – Mark McCormack


Managers should maintain a broad understanding of proj= ects and focus on providing “environmental stimulus” to help team members achieve results.  In o= ther words, the manager should design and control the work environment in such a= way that the environment, not the manager, actually shepherds employees towards positive results.


Specifically, managers should create an environment th= at is 1) designed to guide employees towards success, 2) provides the employees w= ith the proper tools to succeed, and 3) provides warning bells that will sound = when a project is getting out of control.


“Hire people who are smart= er than you are. Then, don’t sell yourself, sell the company. One of the difficulties with delegation is that managers will sometimes paint themselv= es as the experts rather than as expert managers. Sell your division rather th= an yourself, and you will find more of a willingness among others outside your company to work with your subordinates. The smarter you make the people who work for you look, the smarter you are going to = look as a manager.


Such an environment can be created by managing the following:



    2.2 Assign responsi= bility for doing and for verification<= /span>

    Every task,= however small, must have assigned to it 1) a specific person (or set of people) who= se responsibility it is to complete it and 2) a specific person whose responsibility it is to verify that the job has been done correctly.=


    The explicit assignment and acceptance of responsibility is key.  Everybody must clearly know what is expected of each other.


    The person = who verifies completed work need not be the manager. Often the work is too technical for= the manager to review.  However, t= he manager needs to find someone to do it and to get the work “signed off”.


    = 2.3 Planning review=

    Once the ma= nager has assigned responsibility for the task and the verification of the task, = he or she should then provide feedback during the planning process.  Of course, managers should not be writing or even developing the project plan themselves. But it is crucial t= hat managers actively edit and comment on the plan when it is drafted.


    Doing so sh= ould afford the manager a broad understanding of the project and the work as wel= l as make sure that the team members do a sufficiently good job planning. Withou= t an editor, the temptation is too rush the planning stage. Further, without a second set of eyes reviewing a plan, the risk is that the plan will be lack= ing.


    Of course, = remember that some tasks are exceedingly small. For example, a deliverable might be “get this paper signed by Li Hsien and submit it to the our tax accountant.” 


    In this cas= e, planning review need not be formal. But it does have a place.  You will have to use your judgment= on a case-by-case basis. Remember that the overarching goal here is to create an environment that is designed to drive employees to succeed, not to give you= or them more work.


    In the case= of a small task, planning review may be as simple as asking the employee to repe= at the instructions back to you so that you can be sure that they understood t= he instructions.


    = 2.4 Set clear timelines and target completion dates

    One of the most important environmental stimuli that c= an be provided and managed by a manager is the setting of timelines and the assignment of target completion dates.


    Every task should have a timeline and a target complet= ion date.


    That is not to mean that timelines and targets cannot = be changed over the lifetime of a project. That is a natural project occurrence and if managed well will have no detrimental affects.  It is to say however, that at every stage, a project should have a defined timeline and target completion date.= If no dates can be set, then there should be a date by which dates will be set= !


    That said, while it is within the normal course of bus= iness for there to be project slippage, it is not something to be encouraged nor simply accepted.  Project slip= page is extremely expensive for the company in terms of opportunity costs and clashes between projects ending and projects beginning.


    2.4.1 Timelines and targets create mental structure and incentives<= /span>

    Timelines and targets are important first because they create a mental structure for the project and generate the mental incentive= to complete a project. Without a deadline there is the tendency in every perso= n to let the project take longer than it needs to. 


    Without the discipline of a deadline, people have a te= ndency to put off the end because the last 10% of any project is the toughest and without a deadline, all people will tend to extend that last 10%. It is not= a bad thing on the part of the employee.&nbs= p; Everybody does it.  It = is natural.  However, project sli= ppage is very bad for the company.  Fortunately, with proper management, slippage due to the lack of timelines and target completion dates is avoidable by simply setting them f= or every task.


    2.4.2 Timelines and targets facilitate cross-task planning=

    Timelines and targets also provide a means to allow for cross-task planning. That is, because there are so many simultaneous tasks = in process at any time, managers need a way to plan for tasks as a group over = time given limited resources. If tasks have undefined timelines, it makes long-t= erm planning impossible because managers will have no ability to judge resource availability.


    2.5 Break tasks into milestones

    It is always easier to manage small tasks rather than = large ones.  The smaller the task, t= he fewer things can go wrong. As a result, it is very useful to break larger projects into smaller tasks, or milestones.


    As a manager it is your responsibility to work with yo= ur team to define project milestones and then to monitor their progress along = the milestones.  These milestones = will provide a natural structure and agenda for your meetings. You can use miles= tone progress as the basis for your meetings.


    2.6 Progress report<= /span>s

    Progress reports are one of the best ways that you can= keep track of your team’s progress. 


    Each type of employee has a specific format for progre= ss reporting that are stored on the NT drive under progre= ss_reports. 


    Progress reports contain instructions embedded within = them and it is important that you read and fully understand these instructions. Table 2.1 shows examples of the “Update Summary” sections from = the project managers and salesperson progress report template. 


    Table 2.1


           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;             &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;  1. Update Summary

    In this section you should provide highlights = of the week, success and failures, deliverables met, difficulties overcome, disagreements resolved, disagreements introduced, clarifications of specifications, jargon defined, and advice to clients.  Take it for granted that there i= s poor communication between clients and 3rd party vendors and between various people at the client site.  This is your opportunity to let everyone know what is going on.





                 &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           1. Update Summary

    In this section you should give highlights from t= he week.  Especially useful are= your comments on markets and how they might affect our ongoing strategy.  What are you hearing on the streets?  Any ideas on new products or markets?  Any pr= oblems you are facing in general that we might help you with? Have you learned a= ny juiocy bits of industry jargon or gossip?



    As you can see, each section in the progress report ac= tually provides the instructions that are required to fill it out correctly. Similarly, each type of progress report template has slightly different sections depending on the needs.


    As a manager, it is your responsibility to assure that= your team members write good progress reports each week


    Writing good progress reports is a skill that takes so= me time to master.  A good progre= ss report should have the following characteristics:


    2.6.1 Analysis versus status

    The most important goal to achieve through progress re= ports is the promotion of analysis and the most important mistake to avoid is tha= t of promoting status. 


    Progress reports are not status reports. 


    As a manager, you do not need status reports.  In fact, in most cases, such detai= l will even be beyond your technical knowledge. In terms of status, all you really need to know is whether or not your team is on time completing their milestones. Doing this takes only one or two lines and is better done in impromptu or weekly meetings.


    The reason that you do not need status reports is beca= use the_company takes care to hire independent, self-moti= vated, quality people. As a result, there is no need to baby sit. You should be ab= le to provide a structure that shepherds success as discussed above, and then = let them do the work themselves.


    The less time spent discussing status the better.  Status is crucial for coordination= of effort, but it is also constantly changing and often trivial at a management level. If you find yourself managing the status of your team members, you c= an be pretty sure that you are micromanaging.


    Instead, the progress report is a tool to encourage analytical thinking. 


    All good staff will have no trouble putting their head= down and diligently doing their work.  However, though this is an admirable and important quality, it can a= lso lead to project/task failure because of tunnel vision.  You must encourage them to think o= utside of the detail - to think about the larger environment.


    Thinking analytically includes for example thinking ab= out time, place, other projects and other people.  It also involves synthesizing mult= iple ideas into one. During any given week, how do the details of the project re= late to the world and the future around them?


    A good progress report (which has been actively read a= nd edited by a manager) will promote analytic thinking and generate creative solutions to every project problem even before they become problems.


    Note also that progress reports do not need to be leng= thy. They just need to be complete and meaningful.


    2.6.2 Resource control

    Your staff should be encouraged to make sure that their progress reports are complete and that they represent a good overview of th= eir work week.


    Progress reports also help you control your resources.=   In a small company, it is often th= e case that resources are shared amongst many managers.  The progress report is one importa= nt tool that can be used to track such requests and make sure that resources a= re used more efficiently over time. 


    Further, a well-written progress report will convey an= intuition about where your team members are spending their time.  This broad sense can be used to dr= aw attention to problem areas or weaknesses in time management that can be addressed.


    2.6.3 Grammar improvement<= /span>

    Properly written documents are a basic part of global professionalism.  While employ= ees are not required to speak and write perfectly grammatical English from the start, it is important that they improve over time. Beyond grammar, your te= am should learn how to use communication as a business tool.  They must learn how to communicate effectively and convincingly.


    Obviously, working with your team to improve their gra= mmar and presentation skills is not a primary focus of the progress report, but sometimes, it makes a good forum to provide suggestions.  As a general rule, one or two comm= ents every month about how your team members can improve their writing, is usefu= l.


    At a minimum, you should make sure that your team memb= ers run their progress reports, and all their documents, through spell/grammar = check in Word.


    2.6.4 Growth through building an awarene= ss of softer and larger issues

    The progress report is also a good forum to help your = staff think about larger project issues such as testing, documentation, third par= ty dependencies, risks, etc.  In = the end, one of your key goals as a manager is to constantly push your staff to excel.  A good manager will se= e all of his team members promoted constantly.


    One key to promotion is the ability to think in ever-l= arger views of the project.  The more broadly and complexly an employee thinks about his job, the more senior he is. 


    The progress report is a tool that helps staff think a= bout these issues and your feedback encourages them to continue to think more complexly and to work more intelligently.


    2.6.5 Peer review=

    The progress report is also a primary tool for peer review.  Often, progress repor= ts are not read just by managers, but by a much wider audience, sometimes including all of the staff.


    This is an important part of how information flows thr= ough the company. 


    Developers need to be able to gain a sense for sales. = Sales people need to know what is happening in R&D.  R&D needs to know what is happ= ening in marketing. And everybody needs to know these things without spending too much time.


    A well-written set of progress reports can communicate= the entire and current knowledge of the organization in an hour.


    But it is not just about information going out.  When analysis is presented, analys= is can be discussed.  Progress report= s give senior staff the ability to see what the junior staff a= re doing and be able to step in and provide advice as required. Without a prog= ress report, there is no forum for this to take place, especially outside of the technical groups.


    2.6.6 Action items<= /span>

    Of course, there is some status presented in progress reports.  Status is usually presented in the form of action items.&nbs= p; An action item is a specific task that is to be completed by someone= in the next week (eg Client To-Do Items or the_company To-Do items).


    As noted above, every action item must have a descript= ion, a doer, a deadline, and a verifier. If no deadline can be set, the writer of = the progress report should specify a time when the deadline can be set.


    2.6.7 Reading progress reports<= /span>

    Learning how to read and edit a progress report takes = as much time as learning how to write one. The comments you make weekly should= not only point out weaknesses in the report, but they should encourage the continuing improvement of your team


    Make sure to mix approval with criticism and be sensit= ive to the reader’s ‘feelings’.=   For example, try to use blue-colored text when you are providing feedback, especially if the feedback is negative.  By default, Word will use red-colo= red text and red-colored text looks scary.


    Also, a common mistake made by all of us is to focus o= n all the areas for improvement and to forget to praise the writer for the things they did well. This can cause the reader to lose morale even if you are actually happy with their performance.


    That said, honesty is key. = Do not give false praise. They will know.


    Also, you must make sure to read actively. Reading actively means that you must an= alyze each and every sentence that you read and try to comment as much as possibl= e in order to help the writer improve.  This intense concentration is fairly tough, but it is critical to do= ing a good job as a manager.


    2.7 Assisting with cross-project coordination=

    In almost every task of substance, there are people or organizations other than of the employee actually doing the task. 


    Similarly, in almost every task of substance, the completion, quality, or specifics of the task will affect other people doing other tasks.


    As a result, there is a need to coordi= nate across tasks and across people. While it is the responsibility of the emplo= yees completing tasks to manage the details of coordination themselves, it is the job of the manager to facilitate this coordination in any way he or she can= .


    This can be especially tough in an environment like the_company<= /span> where each employee may effectively have multiple managers.


    For example, while Barb might report to Joe as a line manager, she might also report to Chin Wan and Jenn Chyang on specific = projects, and to Eric T, Eric L. and Chin Qui for= sales projects. In a situation like this, where Joe cannot realistically manage d= own to a project level, communication between managers is essential.

    = 2.8 A note about tools

    In this sec= tion we have discussed managerial “tools” like action items and progress reports.  In the next section = we will also talk about meetings. While these tools are certainly part of your role as a manager, it is important for you to know that they are not absolute. 

    Managerial = tools are always dependent on the situation. Sometimes they work and sometimes th= ey don’t. It is your job to improve your intuition about when and where = to use each tool.  Using a tool i= n the wrong place can be worse then not using it at all!  An improperly edited progress repo= rt, for example, can damage the morale you want to build.


    An improper= ly written progress report can waste hours of both the reader’s and the writer’s time.


            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;             3. meetings


    3.1 The costs and ben= efits of meetings<= /span>

    Everybody hates meetings.  But, at the same time, most people, especially managers realize the need for meetings.  Meetings are one of the manager= 217;s most crucial tools to enhance work communication. When managed well, meetin= gs can be very effective.


    For one, meetings can be an effective way to dissemina= te status information.  That is, = in a short 20-30 minutes, your entire team can be brought onto the same page.


    Of course a good meeting will go beyond status.


    Ideally, status will have already been communicated be= fore the meeting begins and the meeting can be used for analysis and creative gr= oup thinking.  As a group, you can= work with each other to solve tough problems. You can also use the opportunity to assure peer review and to promote cross-product training (any team member should know enough about what the others are doing to be able to take on the project of others in the case of emergency).


    Further, just as meetings are useful for communicating information upwards and sideways, meetings are also an important tool for c= ommunicating vision and direction downwards.  That is, you can use meetings as an opportunity to disseminate propoganda, vision, direction, and goals to your team= .


    Similarly, meetings can be used to motivate your team,= give your team a sense of control or impact, resolve conflicts, brainstorm, or to help team members build confidence such as when team members must present within a meeting. As such, meetings are also key tools in coaching your sta= ff.


    Of course, there are also costs associated with meetin= gs. For one, you must consider the time costs of all the participants.  For example, if an employee makes = 5K per month, she makes about $20 per hour. If you have 8 people in a meeting for 1 hour, the company spends $160, or one whole day’s worth of salary for one employee.


    Further, you must consider the opportunity costs. That= is, what could the attendees be doing in the time taken up by a meeting. 


    If the meeting is large or long, these costs can become considerable in terms of lost profits.


    Proper meeting management is critical if you are to ex= tract the greatest benefits from your meetings while minimizing the costs.

    3.2 Preparation

    It cannot be said enough that the success of a meeting= is proportional to the amount of preparation.


    3.2.1 Defining goals

    The first rule of meetings is that the purpose and goa= ls of the meeting must be 1) clearly defined and 2) clearly communicated to all of the participants.


    3.2.2 Who, where, and when= <= /h3>

    Once the broad goal is defined, you should decide who = should attend, where the meeting should be held, and when it should be held.


    In deciding who should attend, keep in mind what we al= ready said about costs.  Restrict the attendance only to those who are legitimately required.  Further, remember that different make-ups of attendees can dramatically change to tenor of the meeting. For example, if you invite senior managers, you may inhibit free discussion.


    In deciding where the meeting should be held consider = that in order to be efficient, the attendees must be able to focus.  A location with many distractions = will cause inefficiencies.


    3.2.3 Setting and following the agenda=

    Once the broad goal is defined and you have determined= who, when, and where, you should take time to develop a detailed agenda that cov= ers explicitly all the topics that will be discussed. 


    Ideally, the agenda will define 1) what is to be discu= ssed, 2) who will lead the discussion, and 3) how much time will be allotted to t= he discussion.


    For example, consider the following agenda


    Subject:   &= nbsp;      Weekly Project Meeting

    Chair:   &nb= sp;          Fred

    Time:   &nbs= p;          9-10:15AM, Monday January 10th, 2002.

    Place:   &nb= sp;         Meeting Room A

    Attendees:   = ;  Bob, Chee, Sally, Li Ying


    09:00 – 09:15&nb= sp;           Team Status (Fred)

    09:15 – 09:30&nb= sp;           Trade Finance Project Update (Chee)

    09:30 - 09:45  <= /span>        &= nbsp;  Payroll Project Update (Sally)

    09:45 – 10:15&nb= sp;           Code Presentation and Discussion (Bob)


    Note, as a general rule, try to schedule the more-impo= rtant items earlier when the meeting participants are thinking most clearly. Furt= her, try to avoid periods during which participants may be lacking energy (such = as after lunch or at the end of the day). Finally, try to organize your agenda logically and according to topic.


    3.2.4 Distributing the agenda

    The agenda should be developed and distributed to all participants well before the meeting is to be held.


    It is important that you give participants enough time= to prepare to discuss the agenda topics and provide feedback about the agenda = in case there is something they need to add, change, or subtract.


    3.2.5 Meeting practicalities

    Make sure that every attendee has a hard copy of the a= genda, a pen and enough paper.


    Also, if the meeting requires audio-visual aids, set t= hem up before the meeting starts.  Fu= rther, when possible, have a backup plan in case of technical failure.  For example, a full printed copy o= f a power point presentation should always be made in case the laptop or projec= tor fails.


    If the meeting is long, make sure to provide breaks an= d/or snacks.


    3.3 Controlling the meeting

    As a manager, it is your responsibility to control/cha= ir your meetings. Like anything else in a company, meetings require active shepherding if they are to be successful.&= nbsp; It is essential that you remain focused, positive, and that you constantly maintain control over your meetings if they are to be successful= .


    3.3.1 Tardiness

    Not to be too American…but…given the high organizational costs of meetings, tardiness cannot be tolerated, especially from the managers.  You should= make it clear to all attendees that tardiness will not be tolerated and you shou= ld lead by example. Continued tardiness is grounds for reprimand and will be considered as part of overall job performance.


    3.3.2 Turn off the mobile phones<= /span>

    Except in the rare case of emergen= cies, mobile phones and pagers should be switched off (not just silent) during meetings. Because people forget, you should remind people to switch their mobile phones off at the beginning of every meeting.


    Remenber that in order to listen actively, you must be 100% concentra= ting on the issues at hand. Mental interruptions, even for a moment, rend= er the participant far less effective. Your fidgeting or muted discussions ruin the concentration for everyone in the meeting.


    3.3.3 Confidentiality

    In some meetings, especially one2one’s, confiden= tial information may be discussed.  It is important that you make clear what information is confidential and what information you will share with others. Obviously, if you specify that a certain bit of information will be confidential, you must keep it confident= ial. Trust is a key component to your ability to manage your team. It is hard to build trust and easy to destroy it.


    3.3.4 Chairing a meeting (keep on track)=

    As a manager, you should chair your meetings.  Chairing meetings allows you to ke= ep meetings on track both in terms of time and in terms of subject matter. When you get a bunch of people as close and as nerdy as the= _company employees are, you are bound to go off track.  As the meeting’s chairperson= , you need to reign your team in and focus them on dea= ling with agenda issues.  When side= or private discussions arise, tactfully let the participants know that they ne= ed to come back to the issues at hand. 


    As a corollary, make sure that only one person is talk= ing at a time during a meeting.


    Note that as part of your coaching activities, you mig= ht want to appoint team members to chair some meetings as practice.  When you do so, you should make su= re that they control the meeting properly. It is one thing to provide training= . It is another thing to waste everyone’s time.


    Also, make sure that each of your team members has a c= hance to speak.  Some team members, = you will find, will be outspoken and others will be shy and quiet. It is critic= al for you to encourage the quiet ones to speak up and that you direct and con= trol the outspoken ones. Whatever the case, as the chairperson, you need to assu= re that all views get aired and are properly fleshed out.


    Finally, as a manager, your word carries authority.  Use your power wisely. Take a deep breath and think about what you say before you say it.  Make sure that you remain positive= and creative. Also, try not to take sides in arguments.


    3.3.5 Be clear with action items

    In many meetings, you will assign action items to vari= ous meeting participants.  It is c= rucial that these action items are clear. You should always summarize the action i= tems at the end of the meeting. As with all action items, th= ere should be a doer, a deadline, and a verifier.


    Action item assignment should be repeated via email af= ter the meeting as well.


    3.3.6 Arrange the next meeting at the me= eting itself

    If possible, since you have everyone in one place at o= ne time, try to arrange the next meeting at the close of the meeting itself.


    3.3.7 Setup follow-up meetings for issue= s too complex to be dealt with

    Often you discover that an agenda item is too complex = to discuss in the allotted time or that a new issue arises that is not contain= ed in the agenda.  If this happen= s, take the issue offline and either deal with it in a smaller group or schedu= le a follow up meeting to discuss the issue in greater detail. Remember your age= nda.


    Taking issues offline assures that the right people sp= end the right amount of time.


    3.4 <= /span>Meeting minutes

    Meeting minutes are crucial for legal, marketing and communication purposes. They also assure that everyone is actively listening because you can only take good minutes if you are actively listening.


    Everyone should be encouraged to take notes in a meeti= ng,  but on= e person should officially minute the meeting.


    Meeting minutes should be brief but complete and shoul= d use the standard minute template from the NT drive.  Good minutes should be completely understandable to those who did not attend. They should also specify the ti= me, place and attendees of the meeting as well as the details of action items.<= /p>


    Competed minutes should be distributed in draft form t= o all attendees who should have opportunity to change the minute text. Minutes sh= ould be distributed as soon as possible so that everyone’s memory is still fresh. Ideally, attendees should sign off on the minutes and the secretary should produce final minutes that should be stored on the NT drive.


    3.5 Types of meetings

    As a manager, you will use several types of meetings.<= /p>


    3.5.1 Weekly team meetings=

    Weekly team meetings are used primarily to communicate status and to provide a forum to solve problems as a unit. They are current= ly not used much at the_company, but they should b= e.


    It is best if you can limit the size of these meetings= down to about 5 or 6 at most and to keep the meeting time short (30-45 minutes t= op). In general, they should also be regular (every Thursday at 2).


    One effective strategy to use in team meetings is to h= ave each person report the status of another (random) person in the team.  Thus, before the weekly team meeti= ngs, the team members will discuss status among themselves so that they will be prep= ared to be put on the spot. As a result, the meeting can be used for more value-added functions such as reviewing designs or solving problems as a un= it.


    3.5.2 One2One meetings

    These meetings are used to provide one on one coaching= with team members.  Appraisal and g= rowth are common topics.


    How are they getting along broadly

    What are we doing right that should be enforced and wh= at are we doing wrong that should be corrected

    What is your short-term and long-t= erm career goals? What will you specifically do to move yourself further along? What can we do to help you move along?

    Reappraise each time. How far have you come and what h= as led to successes or failures. Retarget and go off again.


    People have a tendency to let the day to day rigors of= work distract them from their long-term objectives. 121’s are our way to m= ake sure that people do not waste away and that every thing they do at the_company not only benefits the company but moves t= hem discernibly along their career path.


    3.5.3 All-Staff meetings

    These meetings provide a forum for the management team= to communicate vision and mission as well as to provide quarterly feedback on = the state of the company.


    3.5.4 Shareholder meetings=

    These meetings are currently used by the shareholders = to discuss financial and HR issues that are considered highly confidential.  Eventually however, these meetings= will be used for the development and management of strategy.


    3.5.5 Managers meetings

    These meetings provide a forum for the management team= to coordinate activity and to provide status.


    3.5.6 Hallway Meetings


            =             &nb= sp;            =    4. = coaching: development of the_company culture and staff<= /span>


    Of course, a manager’s job is far more than simp= ly making sure that the trains run on time.&n= bsp; As we have said before, one of the foundations of the_company lies in its people.  The emplo= yees that we have gathered together represent one of the best sets of people in = the region.  We have bested compan= ies thrice our size in the market and that is not just because of our great technology or our processes. It is because of our team.


    We hire a certain type of person that requires a certa= in type of management and we have created a certain type of culture that needs= to be fostered if we are to continue to attract the type of employee that we a= re after and if we are to maintain the quality standards we have achieved thus far.


    As a manager, it is your responsibility to help create, maintain, and evolve the type of environment required by the_company employees.


    But who is that person and what type of environment do= they need?


    4.1 The <= /span>Employees

    4.1.1 Employees are nerds<= /span>

    The typical employee is a bit of a ner= d.  And I don’t just mean the techies.  = employees are nerdy, admin and techs alike!=


    There is a distinct technophilia demonstrated by even the business people within the_co= mpany, and this technophilia is a characteristic we fo= ster through Brown Bags, Tech Reviews, and in other ways.


    4.1.2 Employees are independent and multi-talented<= /span>

    Like any small company employee, the t= ypical employee is also a self-starter and a jack-of-all-trades. Typically, they a= lso prefer horizontal or minimal management and often can manage themselves fai= rly well. They will also have a thirst for knowledge and a drive to remain on t= he cutting edge of their skills (be they technical or business).=


    This independence and capability is cr= itical in a small, fast-moving company and will be a characteristic of the_company for many years into the future. We must endeavor to continue to hire this type of person because for the foreseeable future, we will suffer from resource constraints and will require extraordi= nary output from each member of the staff.


    4.1.3 Employees are damn good

    As part of our commitment to quality, = it is also true that the_company boasts a community of “the best” developers, project managers, and sales and business people around town.  The quali= ty of our staff, in fact, is one of the most powerful tools that we have to attra= ct more quality people. There is a definite domino effect.


    So how do mangers create the right environment?=

    4.2 Look out for your= team= <= /span>

    Maintaining and building a team like this depends on t= he proper management of people and as such, is a critical part of your job.


    4.2.1 Job satisfaction – challenge, accomplishment and reward

    The most important thing you can do in your role as ma= nager is to create an environment in which your team members enjoy their jobs. If people like their jobs, they will be much more efficient and that satisfact= ion and dedication will inspire others.


    Job satisfaction, for the average employee, is best ma= naged by shepherding the following process


    Challenge -> Accomplishment and Reward -> Challe= nge . . .


    Employees need to feel challenged.  This is what keeps them interested= and what keeps them striving.


    Of course challenge is not necessarily only related to= the current job.  Challenge for a developer for example, need not only be technical, but could also include business, managerial, and personal challenges as well. One employee told me= in his one2one that his personal goal was not to learn Java or be a better sys= tems administrator, but was simply to be “less grouchy”.


    To a certain degree, your job as a manager is to help = your staff define challenges, and then prompt them to face them. Often this is as simple as helping the team member set their goal post just out of reach, but not so far that it is demotivating.


    Once the challenge is defined, you should then help th= e team member plot a course to surmount the challenge.  Usually, this should include somet= hing that they do and something that you (or the organization) do. It is importa= nt that the team member does not feel that they are on their own. Similarly, y= ou do not want to become a crutch. This course to success must be marked with clear milestones.


    Once the goal is defined, the strategy is set, and the milestones are laid, you provide the stick, carrot, and feedback that will provide just the right amount of discipline needed by the employee to push their limits.

  Accomplishmen= t= and Reward<= /span>

    Let’s face it, it is common for manager’s = to highlight failures and overlook successes.=   This is quite understandable, especially under the pressure of projects.  When things are goi= ng well, you, as a manager, might turn your attention to the future. You don’t want to be looking back into the past.  But when things go wrong, everythi= ng blows up and the past is suddenly under a microscope.


    While this is quite normal, it is also the worst thing= that you can do as a manager.


    People need to feel like they are doing something posi= tive with their lives. Remember that work represents most of the waking lives of people.  Accomplishing things = at work is critical to one’s self esteem.


    So, while it is important to address failures, it is p= erhaps more critical to acknowledge, and acknowledge publicly, successes.  Providing a sense of accomplishmen= t can be as extravagant as a bonus, a raise, a promotion or time off, but usually just a public note of praise will more than suffice.


    It is key that your team me= mbers do not feel stalled or dead in the water.&nbs= p; Team members should feel that there is constant improvement and that= no other environment would do as much towards helping them move along their career path. 


    As such, it is important that accomplishments are foll= owed by new challenges.


    To summarize, you should…


    1)     help them identify and set specific goals

    2)     define explicit means to reach those goals and specific timelines by which the goa= ls should have been attained

    3)     monitor their progress and keep them focused

    4)     review their progress, successes and failures at the end of the timeline

    5)     start the process over again with grander goals.

  Dealing with Failures

    Failures happen and they should not be feared. Quite t= o the contrary, failures are a critical tool to help you define success. Unfortunately, most managers handle failure poorly.  Failures are met with scoldings and even public embarrassments.


    Now, this is not to say that scol= dings and public humiliation are not sometimes appropriate motivational tools. However, they should be used very carefully.  Failures should be dealt with in a positive way. They should be used as a critical opportunity for improvement= .


    The manger’s role is to make sure that the team = member actually takes advantage of the lesson.&nb= sp; This means that the manger should help the team member


    1. Positive affe= ct

      Finally, people want to have an effect upon their envi= ronment.  Rather than being a cog in the mac= hine, they want to have some impact on their jobs and their lives.  It is crucial that team members fe= el as if what they want and feel makes a difference to their work and the whole company.


      As a manager, it is your job to create an environment = that allows your team members to constantly achieve these goals and to constantly improve their performance over time.


      To a certain degree, as a coach, you can think of your= role as that of closing the gap between a team members current situation and that of their ideal. What’s more, it is your jo= b to push the limits of their ideal and help them achieve more than they thought possible.


      4.2.2 <= /span>Being respectful, honest, clear, patient and positive

      Of course, coaching must be set within a context of tr= ust, honesty, clarity, patience and positivity.  Also, remember that you are the bo= ss and that what you says carries a great deal of weigh= t, especially in Asia. 


      Do your best to control your own anxiety and focus on creativity and positivity.  Your team members WILL make mistak= es. It is your job to turn those short-term failures into long-term successes.


      Of course, more than anything else, you must actively listen.


      4.2.3 Use informal ne= tworks

      As we all know, hallway meetings are always very telli= ng. It is the informal environment when so much of your management is actually don= e, so use it to your advantage. Find out how your team members feel. Find out = how happy they are and how you could better create a positive environment.


      4.3 Training and skil= ls development<= /span>

      As we have said before, one of the primary goals of the manager is to develop the skills and career path of their team members.  When managing bright people, keepi= ng them constantly on their toes is the surest way to create job satisfaction. Often, since project work may not mean working with the coolest new thing, = you must fight the boredom that can set in by challenging your team to push the= ir limits in other ways.


      4.3.1 Building skills= <= /h3>

      Of course the most straight-forward form of training involves helping your team grow their technical skills.


      This help may take the form of formal or informal trai= ning sessions. 


      In terms of informal training, you should encourage yo= ur team members to take part actively in Tech Reviews and Brown Bags as well a= s to do outside readings.

      Tech Reviews

      Focus on tech everyone should take notes questions on = the last week’s content filter topics

      Brown Bags

      less formal and broader set= of topics covered but stil filtered and still rele= vant.

      Formal Training

      In terms of formal classes, it is probably appropriate= to offer formal classes to your team at least once per year.  As a manager, you should be findin= g out which classes are available and appropriate and then pushing training throu= gh the budget process.


      Of course, in terms of building skills, you should not simply consider technical skills. Especially in Asia= , communication skills may also require a great deal of training and attention.  Grammar, convincing writing, and presentation can be greatly improved for all staff.


      4.3.2 Building confid= ence<= /a>

      Productivity however, more often has to do with confid= ence then it does about technical skills.  One of the things you should be doing as a manager is working with e= ach of your team members to help them grow in confidence level. They should be constantly pushed to achieve just beyond their capacity.  To do this, they often need suppor= t.


      4.3.4 Nurturing talent

      In the end, as a manager, your job is to move your team members from “doing”, to “understanding”, to promotion. 


      The ability to do a job well is valuable. However, it = is limited.  What we strive for a= t the_company are employees who go beyond doing their j= ob well. They must also be able to analyze their job within the larger fabric = of the company.  They must “understand” what they are doing.


      Once they do that, they can begin to make wiser decisi= ons about their own time and the time of others around them. They can also take= on more and more responsibility and increase the efficiency of the whole compa= ny.


      4.4 Marketing your te= am<= /span>

      Everyone is busy.&nbs= p; As such, most other groups have very little time to investigate what your team is doing.  This caus= es two problems.


      1. Your team is under appreciated because nobody knows what they are doing. Si= nce others do not see obvious results, they assume the team is sliding by. This causes frustrations between teams.


      1. Nobody can support your team when they need it because people require time to come up to speed on projects that they are totally unfamiliar with. Al= so, the work that your team does remains limited to that group instead of being shared with the rest of the company.


      As a result, it is important for you to market your te= am throughout the company. This assures that information is properly dissemina= ted and that your team gets credit for the work they have done.

      4.5 Benefits of proper coaching

      The most important benefit of proper coaching is that = you will slowly move from supervising to delegating.  As such, both you and your team wi= ll become far more efficient in your jobs and everyone will be able to focus m= ore on activities higher up in the value chain.


      Further, good coaching will produce higher quality sta= ff. You will have the unique opportunity to bring out the best in your team.


      Most importantly, you will help to create an environme= nt in which we all want to work.


              =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;                   =             &nb= sp;         5. = resource<= /span> management=


      5.1 Time sheets

      In general most people hate time sheets. They take up = a lot of administrative time for the individual, unless you are horribly efficien= t, and on top of that, the amount of time it takes to collate and sort out all= the time sheets for any administrative employee is also considerable.


      For a small company working the way we do, we have so = far managed to avoid implementing the use of time sheets. However, this year unfortunately we will be implementing their use, and we suspect we will hav= e to do it more for the developers for business reasons.


      Currently we have to implement the use of time sheets = for support and maintenance for Customer A because this is the only way we can = work out a compromise between a retainer that justifies keeping our resources on standby, and our clients concern that they minimize standby time, and pay f= or real support time.


      We therefore managed to work out an upfront yearly fee= that helps us with our cash flow, but this only gives them our standby services = on a limited basis – 6 days a month. Anything done in excess of those six working days has to be charged on a per hour basis.


      While you can immediately see how having to account fo= r time used up, and additional time is not going to be trivial, it does serve a us= eful purpose in helping us figure how much time we are really spending on the client. Clocking in the time can help justify a modification of the fees la= ter on, and gives a better justification should we try to negotiate an increase= in fees (or correspondingly give us some leeway to give discounts, if we can do so).


      It also allows us to price future projects better. The= more statistics we can gather about the efficiency of our organization, the more effective we can make it.  Ide= ally, the development of sales quotes and Matrices can be brought down to a scien= ce and we can do away with awkward feature negotiations because the sales quote was not close enough to the project reality.

      5.2 Vacation and MC l= eaves=

      One of the nice things about being in a small company = is that we can be flexible about policies and things as there are fewer people involved in the decision-making.  That said, it also means that we have fewer people to spread around,= so we also have to plan carefully so that whole teams are not decimated with t= oo many key people on leave at the same time.


      5.2.1 Basic Policies

      On average most employees get about 14 days leave, with about 7 days for sick leave (sick leave needs to be supported by a medical certificate to count under the 7 days, otherwise it will go under the 14 da= ys of leave).


      As a manager, one of your key responsibilities is to b= alance the needs of your projects and deliverables, against the needs of your individual team members’ needs to take time off, recoup their energie= s, and just have a life. You need also to plan against contingency of the team being struck down by flu at critical times.


      5.2.2 Exceptions

      We also give managers the discretion to give a “free” day off to their staff if they have someone working particularly hard on projects, and on a sustained basis taking on a load be= yond the usual daily amount. We don’t do this if they had to work late bec= ause they needed to spend time learning, or due to inefficiencies on their own part or happen to like to work late. It is a to= ken of appreciation to folks who have contributed a bit extra, and also did it = at a cost to their own rest and well being.


      It is important for you and your staff to understand t= hat it is not an hour for hour reimbursement of time, and it is not owed to the individuals. But you may consider that someone may need a days’ rest = to recuperate after a tough UAT, or they were pulling in a lot of hours in the chilly Bangi rooms, and need rest to avoid coming down with a bad cold. So = do, using your discretion, give out some unrecorded time off to your team if you feel they earned it.


      5.2.3 Exceptions are exceptions

      We also need to have in mind that as makers of policy,= we need to make decisions that are universally fair. It might be ok to let one team member take vacation at the last minute, but you should also make it c= lear that generally you prefer to be given enough notice to plan ahead. Discoura= ge the tendency of people leave things to the last minute by making it clear t= hat leave is granted on a first come first served basis. And the last one gets = to stay to do the work.


      Also you might find that if you give one person an unrecorded leave day, the rest of the team might just expect the same. This could really mess up resourcing and should be discouraged. We have started to notice that it is not the managers giving t= his out nowadays, but the individuals demanding it. One thing is if the managers are just not noticing that their team is working hard, the other thing howe= ver, is that people think that they can expect to get an hour for every one they work past 6pm.


      5.2.4 Use Proper Processes

      There is no golden rule. Every situation will have its= own specifics.  The only thing you= can do is to apply common sense to each instance and to consult other managers.=


      You should also communicate clearly to your team how y= ou decide on these issues so that they are clear when they want leave etc, that they first have to come to you (not Rita, Hsien or Doris) and it should als= o be cleared with any PMs they may have to work with. If they think they will be working late, they should let you know, so that you have that foreknowledge should you later need to make a decision about giving them some time off. E= ach employee should learn that if they want benefits, they should go through the right channels and not unnecessarily burden the administrative people by bypassing their own line managers.


      5.3 Handoffs (exiting and vacations)

      = One of the ways to = lessen the burden of people on vacation, MC or people leaving the company is to properly handoff all projects to other team members who will be working.<= /span>


      Handing off is critical if we are to maintain steady deliverables.<= /span>


      1. Identify the time period for handoff (vacation or exit).=
      2. Identify the projects that need to = be handed off.<= /li>
      3. Identify the tasks within each proj= ect to be handed off.=
      4. Identify a person (people) who will= be given responsibility for the projects.
      5. Discuss the handoff with all relate= d 3rd parties such as customers or other project managers.
      6. Make a plan to ensure all items on = your list are handed off – that code is checked in, that documentatio= n is complete and any projects are properly handed over to the next person taking over – and all within the time frame of that person’= ;s period of notice, or time remaining before they go on leave.<= /span>
      7. Make sure the leaving employee is reachable for a few weeks after the handoff.
      8. Identify when the handoff process w= ill be completed (if ever). For leaving employees we require that the taking = over team/person sign off on a check list before we release the final paych= eck etc.
      9. Manage the process of handoff (information exchange).
      10. Check back with the team member who received the project daily for a few weeks to make sure things are going well.


      5.4 Working from home or coming in at odd hours=

      While we are open to people working fr= om home, we would prefer to say that this is an exception rather than a rule. = It is also a privilege, not a right.=


      Working from home or at odd hours is generally discouraged except for special circumstances. As a rule, it shoul= d be for people who have a specific task that needs an uninterrupted spell of ti= me to get completed – and somehow this cannot be done in the office. The manager granting this time off should see a specific deliverable from that = time out. Also we tend to prefer to grant this privilege to senior staff that has earned our trust in terms of their ability to deliver, and have shown themselves to be responsible enough to be contactable.=


      If someone is ill then they should see= a doctor, get an MC, sleep it off – as a rule it doesn’t make sen= se that they are ill and will then work from home, as though somehow being at = home makes them less sick.


      Everybody needs to be contactable and everybody needs to be an active participant in the office. When team members work from home, it becomes more difficult to manage them and assure that co= mmunication flows are seamless.=


      Also, most people in the_company work in teams. Now we have much of the team located in KL for a lot of time= . It is getting rare that we get people in the same room all at the same time, a= nd sometimes it is essential that we can call quick meetings to sort out issue= s, and have discussions to make a quick response to an emergency or time-criti= cal situation.


      Also, everyone needs to be clear on scheduling. If one of your team members will be working from home, it shoul= d be clear to everyone what is happening and where the person will be.


      We strongly recommend that all managers communicate this to their teams. As we mentioned before, setting a preceden= t by letting some people do this could land you in a mire of having your entire = team wanting those same privileges.

       <= /a>

      5.5 How many hours should people be work= ing?

      In this industry 12-hour days are quite normal.  This is true for deve= lopers and infrastructure people just as it is true for sales and marketing people.  IT is very fast-paced= and ruthless industry.<= /p>


      However, though you want to push your = team, you also want to watch out for burnout. People should have opportunities to take time out, and perhaps should also be assigned different types of proje= cts to alleviate boredom, stress and just give a breather.=


      Managers must set an example themselve= s, as it is difficult expect commitment without displaying the same. It is hard to expect an 18-hour commitment to a UAT if you are not willing to put in the = same time yourself to the project. Also you should check on your team from time = to time – if you know they are putting in the time, even if you are not = on the project yourself, it makes a difference to your ability to assess what = they are doing during the long hours. It is a time to see if they are working efficiently, see how their morale is doing, and if you can give some relief= by helping them when they are stuck<= /span>


      Much of this is a judgment call, and a= lso depends much on the productivity of each of your team members and the proje= ct lifecycles.


      5.6 Working with other managers=

      This is critical. We are a small organization there is little excuse for miscommunication. We need to keep each other informed at all times because = as a small organization everything we do trends to affect everyone else.<= /span>


      So as you grant leave or let staff wor= k from home etc, you should be mindful of the impact that decision has on other managers. They may have a critical project that needs your team member on t= ap at all times, and they cannot afford the wasted minutes taken up to track him/her down.


      Use the managers’ meetings; send email, read the progress reports and just walk over to the other managers’ desk to let them know what you are doing. If an important client is involved, you should check with them that it is ok, just in case = they have plans, which could have been in the offing just for those very vacation days you are planning off. It will save a lot o= f grief, flak, etc


      5.7 Deflecting shit=

      The role of the manager is also to protect staff from all the crap that happens= in work so that they can just focus on doing their job. At the same time you h= ave your own job to do so don’t<= /span> go crazy over it.


      If your team member gets flak for doing = what you told him, then you take the consequences of your own decision-making and deal with the person complaining to him.=


      Most often, what happens is that members= of your team get loaded with work from other managers, shareholders etc which = are slowing them down, making them work long hours etc. Of course, the other managers and shareholders should have let you know. BUT, in case they don’t, you must teach your own team to communicate these extra tasks = to you so that you are aware of what shit has been dumped on them.


      Sometimes someone who has not thought th= e task through dumps it on your team member. Often, the difficulty created for your team member is that they don’t know how to prioritize their tasks and this can create a lot of stress. Throw the ball back at the other manager to let them explain their job should be more important (or less as the case may be). This will often help out the priorities dilemma, and may also save the team member some late nights if they eventually learn that not all the proj= ects were due yesterday.=


      5.8 Developing resourcing strategies and budgeting=

      You must be able to forecast your resourcing<= /span> needs into the next 6 months to 1 year. It takes about 1 month to hire anyo= ne and then it usually takes 3 weeks before that person starts work. So you ne= ed to always be at least two months ahead of the game in terms of knowing what resources you will need. <= /span>


      Watch out for knee jerk reactions. Just because someone just left doesn’t mean you need to hire someone straightaway. Take time to reconsider the needs of your team, and what would suit it best in the long run. If your team seems under-resourced, it could = be a case of better planning, redistribution of work or reassessment of deadlines and priorities rather than a quick hire. Remember also that hiring someone,= can take up more of your time initially – first the screening of resumes, interviews etc, and then after the hire, training, managing them and getting them used to our processes.


      You also need to plan your budget. Many managers will only have to worry about staff expenses (don’t forget t= hat for every hire, you don’t just need to consider salary but also office space, a desk and chair, and a PC etc…also training costs, bonuses (w= hen we can afford it), staff perks (extra days off) and also the impact on your= and your team’s time. =


      5.8.1 The Purposes of a Budget


      A budget is an organization’s plan for a forthcoming period, expressed = in money terms.<= /span>


      There is, however, little point in an organization simply preparing a budget for = the sake of preparing a budget.  A beautifully laid out sales budget filed in the file and never looked again = is worthless.  The organization s= hould gain from both the actual preparation process and from the budget once it h= as been prepared.<= /span>


      Therefore, budgets should not be prepared in isolation and then filed away; they actually have= a number of very important functions in an organization.=


      Funct= ion<= /span>

      Detai= l<= /p>

      Ensure the achievement of the organization’s objectives<= /span>

      Quantified expressions of objectives are drawn up as targets to be achieved within t= he timescale of the budget plan.

      Compel planning

      Planning forces management to look ahead, to set out detailed plans for achieving = the targets for each department, operation and ideally, each manager and to anticipate problems.=

      Communicate ideas and plans

      A formal system is necessary to ensure that each person affected by the pla= ns is aware of what he/ she is supposed to be doing.

      Coordinate activities<= /span>

      Activities of different departments need to be coordinated to ensure maximum integra= tion

      Provide a framework for responsible accounting<= /span>

      Budgets require that managers of budget centers are made responsible for achieving the budget targets for the operations under their personal control.<= /o:p>=

      Establish a system of control<= /span>

      Control over actual performance is provided by the comparisons of actual results against the budget plan.  Departures from budget can then be investigated and the reasons for the departures can be divided into controllable and uncontrollable factor= s.

      Provide a means of performance evaluation<= /span>

      Budgets provide targets, which can be compared with actual outcomes in order to assess employee performance.

      Motivate employees to improve their performance<= /span>

      The interest and commitment of employees can be retained if there is a system that lets them know how well or how badly they are performing.  The identification of controllab= le reasons for departures from budget with managers responsible provides an incentive for improving future performance.



      5.8.2  The= benefits of Budgeting


      Provided that the budgeting system is carefully planned, controlled and coordinated, the objectives set out above should be realized and translated into benefits, although these benefits wi= ll not appear overnight.


      5.8.3 Typical Steps in a Budget Preparation


      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 1:      = Communicate details of the budget poli= cy and budget guidelines.  =

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 2:      = Determine the factor that restricts ou= tput.<= /p>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 3:      = Prepare the sales budget.=

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 4:      = Initial preparation of budgets (First Draft).<= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 5:      = Negotiation of budgets with superiors.= <= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 6:      = Coordinate of budgets and bring in lin= e those that are out of balance.

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 7:      = Final acceptance of the budget (Final Draft).<= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Step 8:      = Budget reviews.

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> =

      5.8.4 Behavioural Implications of Budgeting (For Doris: control inform= ation and control reports – to explain further)=

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>The purpose of a budgetary control sys= tem is to assist management in planning and controlling the resources of their organization by providing appropriate control information.  The information will only be valua= ble if interpreted correctly and used purposefully by managers and employees.=

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> =

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>The correct use of control information therefore depends not only on the content of the information itself, but al= so on the behaviour of its recipients.  This is because control in busines= s is exercised by people, hence, their attitude to control information will colour their views on what they should do with it and= a number of b= ehavioural problems can arise.=

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> =

      a.&n= bsp;     T= he managers who set the budget are often not the ones who are then made responsible for achieving budget targets.=


      b.&n= bsp;     T= he goals of the organization as a whole as expressed in a budget may not coinc= ide with the personal aspirations of individual managers.


      c.&n= bsp;      D= ifferent people apply control at different stages.&= nbsp; For instance, a supervisor might get weekly control reports and act = on them; his superior might get monthly control reports and decide to take different control action.  Dif= ferent managers can get in each other’s way and resent the interference from others.<= /span>

       = Motivation

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Motivation is what makes people behave= in the way that they do.  Personal desires and interests will motivate individuals.  These may be in line with the obje= ctives of the organization and some people ‘live for their jobs’ while others see their job as a chore, and their motivations will be unrelated to= the objectives of the organization they worked for.<= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> =

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>It is therefore vital that the goals of management and the employees harmonize with the goals of the organization a= s a whole.  This is known as goal congruence.  Essentially altho= ugh goal congruence is essentially a behavioural pr= oblem, it is possible to design and run a budgetary control system that will go so= me way towards ensuring achievement of that.&= nbsp; Managers and employees must therefore be favour= ably disposed towards the budgetary control system so that it operates efficient= ly.

       = Poor attitudes in setting budgets<= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'>Poor attitudes or hostile behaviour towards the budgetary control system can be= gin at the planning stage.  If manage= rs are involved in preparing a budget the following may happen:<= /span>


      i.&n= bsp;        C= omplain they are too busy to spend much time on budgeting;=


      ii.&= nbsp;      T= hey may build slack into their expenditure estimates;<= /span>

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> =

      iii.=      T= hey may argue that formalizing a budget plan on paper is too restricting and th= at they should be allowed flexibility in the decisions they take;=


      iv.&= nbsp;    T= hey may set budgets for their budget center and not coordinate their own plans = with those of other budget centers.


      v.&n= bsp;      T= hey may base future plans on past results instead of using opportunity for formalized planning to look at alternative options and new ideas.

      <= span style=3D'mso-bookmark:_Toc532227848'> = Poor attitudes when putting plans into action

      i.<= span style=3D'font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>      =    Managers might put in only just enough effor= t to achieve budget targets without trying to beat targets.=


      ii.&= nbsp;      F= ormal budget might encourage rigidity and discourage flexibility.


      iii.=      S= hort-term planning in a budget can draw the attention away from the longer-term consequences of decisions.<= /span>


      iv.&= nbsp;    M= anagers might try to spend up to their full budget allowance and do not overspend so that they will not be accused of asking for too much spending allowance in = the first place and lose it the next year.

       = Poor attitudes and the use of control information<= /span>


      i.<= span style=3D'font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'>      =    Control reports could well be seen as having= a relatively low priority in the list of management tasks.  Managers might take the view that = they have more pressing jobs on hand than looking at routine control reports.<= /span>


      ii.&= nbsp;      M= anagers might resent control information for some would see it as part of a system = of tying to find fault with their work.=


      iii.=      M= anagers may not understand the information in the control reports because they are unfamiliar with accounting terminology or principles.

       = A Sample Budget=


      5.9 Hiring and Firing

      5.9.1 Preparing for Recruitment Developing resourcing needs

      As discussed in the above sections, your assessment of your short and long term needs, and weighed against your budgetary constraints, will help you determine when you can begin the proce= ss of hiring.


      Also, you wil= l have had to discuss with the other managers, management and administration, all = of whom will be affected by this decision to finalize action.

      Developing Job Descriptions

      The first thing you do is to write a description of wh= at you are looking for. There is a folder in the Operations directory which contai= ns all the job descriptions we have been using so far in the JobsDB website. This is a useful place to start, as the ads have already written t= he basic requirements for developers, PMs, sales and other admin staff.


      Still, take care to write something that will attract = the person you want, and not blindly copy something that was written for another time, and another job. You will end up with the 200 resumes filled with gar= bage if you do – by the way, Rita will not be screening the resumes for you – and believe us, it takes a while to screen out all the rubbish.


      5.9.2 Recruitment Attracting Candidates

      The description does more than describe that candidate we are looking for – it also sets up the expectations of that candidate whom we want to attract. On the one hand we = want to draw the right kind of person to our company – on the other hand we should also set up expectations so that we don’t waste our time interviewing someone who would never really want to join us.


      Don’t j= ust stick to the bare qualifications, but describe how you might expect them to work, the degree of supervision/autonomy they should expect, and the type of personality you are looking for.

      Handling Resumes

      It will be painful, but you are the best person to screen the resumes and shortlist the interview list yourself.  It will give you a sense of what is available out there, and help you make the final decision when it comes dow= n to who to get, whether to wait, or the grab this guy NOW, and at what cost.


      In our experi= ence, most of the resumes come in the first two weeks of the ad coming out. After that you may need to set aside time every day to review them, shortlist the ones you like.


      One useful te= chnique that Gunther has developed is a short questionnaire he sends to the short-listed ones for further information – this helps determine who = is interested, and also helps collect information that helps you to refine your list.


      Rita has deve= loped another simple method of short-listing. Knowing our budget for certain hire= s, a short phone call to ask for salary expectations can help cut short a lot of time. If you are budgeting only to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for a position, and someone is asking $10,000, chances are you are probably too far apart to co= me to a compromise. Still if their resume is that impressive, you might just w= ant to take a chance and meet them anyway, but it is another way you might want= to do your shortlist. At a minimum, you can figure out whether the $10k guy is really all that different from the others.


      Interviewing is definitely an art. Over time, at the_company, we kind of learned the hard way that interviews communicate information two ways. We get to know the candidate; = and the candidate gets to know us. Often we think of interviewing as covering o= nly the former, and that can be a mistake. You have the potential for setting u= p a candidate who has certain expectations which can never be met by a humble sweatshop, and gain a team member who will never be satisfied with their jo= b.


      What we have evolved over time is multiple interviews,= with different people in the company, as many of you have already experienced. F= irst the technical screening – can you code, and how is your potential for figuring out problems which you have never encountered? Then after that, assessing your goals and job expectations – how do you like to work, = and what do you want to achieve. Finally, the fuzzier bits – would you fi= t in with the way we work, are you comfortable in a small company, and are you flexible enough to do more than what you were trained to do?


      The other thing you may want to see is how they may ap= pear to the rest of the world. What on earth is he saying to me? Will this person get on with our clients? Do they seem a bit abrasive and impatient? Do they never stop talking? Oh no, will he wear that shiny purple shirt when he mak= es sales calls? What is that cologne? These are issues that may be trivial in isolation, but you figure out the job they have to do, and make the assessm= ent as a whole.


      When you shortlist an interviewee, you might need to p= lan in time for the other people to see them  - we tend to prefer that they go through at least two interviews, an= d if it is a senior hire, then even more. Also you should warn the candidate that they shouldn’t be surprised to face several rounds, possibly quite grueling tests (if they are after a technical positions) as we have also fo= und that sometimes they come in expecting a casual chat, and be unpleasantly surprised by the interrogation they face. This could set up the relationship badly from the start, and kill the chances of bringing in someone otherwise quite promising.


      Sometimes per= sonal preferences come into it. Theoretically this shouldn’t be personal – you are not here to hire your pals, but the person best for the job= . On the one hand, if it is someone you will work closely with day after day, it does make a difference if you clash from day one. You may find it difficult= to assess this person fairly if you are both at odds on a daily basis. On the other hand, we are all professionals, and we should all be working to the b= est of our ability even if we don’t get along with the person we hired. This= is a judgment call, and we should realize something about ourselves when we go through the hiring process. Sometimes certain jobs attract a certain type of guy you find extremely irritating – but if they can do the job, and professionally, they should be taken seriously and even hired despite your personal prejudices.


      5.9.3 Making a Job Offer

      Once you are sure of a candidate, and you really want = them, you should have a quick discussion with all the other interviewers and come= to a consensus. First decide why you want this person, and identify the tasks = and projects they can come in a do with their current skill set. Then figure out how they can adapt to other tasks with training. Then assess their impact on the office – where can they sit etc. Also, now consider their salary = and what we are prepared to pay, are they expats (n= o CPF) or Singaporeans (full CPF) or PRs (different ra= tes of CPF, depending on how long they have been PRs).=


      Now you can call them and make a verbal offer (or send email, if you prefer). Then if their reaction is favou= rable, you can send them a formal letter of offer, and once signed, send them the employment contract and the employment handbook.


      A word about CPF, because the numbers you speak can be interpreted in many different ways depending on whether you a Singaporean, = a PR or an expat. If you say $4,000 to a Singaporean= , they expect to take home $4,000 less the employee’s contribution. But they presume the total will be more than $4,000 because the employer’s contribution is assumed. If you say $4,000 to an expat= , it is just that. At the_company when we budget = for a hire, all this is taken into consideration – we can go hire in the numbers for an expat because we know it doesn&#= 8217;t come with the unspoken numbers. But we need to be careful with Singaporeans, and PRs, and the figures get quite complicated when negotiating.


      5.9.4 The Employee’s First Week

      A lot needs t= o be planned before the employee’s first day. This is a short check list (= for a fuller one, ask Rita for the first day check l= ist):

      1)&n= bsp;    Let the sys admins know when they are coming in, and their needs well ahead of time. Can we use existing equipment, do we need to buy new ones etc..this should be figured out so that the new pe= rson can hit the ground running.

      2)&n= bsp;    Set up meetings with people they need to kno= w to do their job. This helps ease them into the job.

      3)&n= bsp;    Introduce them to the clients they will need= to work with.

      4)&n= bsp;    Organize a work plan, and schedule in traini= ng time.

      5)&n= bsp;    Monitor their progress more closely in the f= irst few weeks to get them on track.


      5.9.5 Probations and Confirmations

      The standard probation at the_com= pany is anything from 3 to 6 months. A lot depends on what we had in mind at the time of hire, and the degree of uncertainty we may feel if we bring in some= one with good potential, but lacking long experience for the job at hand.


      In the probation period we look for a number of factor= s that would help us assess the performance and suitability of the person for the = job:

      1)     Technical skill

      2)     Willingness to learn (and speed)

      3)     Attitude, and willingness to adapt

      4)     Effort, and willingness to work hard

      5)     Willingness to be a team player

      6)     Flexibility

      7)     X-factor


      Confirmation = is dependent on whether some or all the criteria are fulfilled. Sometimes a bad fault, like poor time management, may be made up for by a willingness to wo= rk hard to make up for lost time. There are no hard and fast rules, but these = are things to look out for.


      5.9.6 Raises and Promotions

      We don’t have automatic raises or promotions bas= ed on time. Also much of this is a budgetary issue constrained by cashflow. However, we do exercise flexibility as then we can give raises as and when = we feel they are deserved. This can come in a number of ways:


      1)     actual monetary increase

      2)     share options

      3)     increased benefits (like paid car parking, or higher level of claims)


      5.9.7 Progressive Discipline and Documen= tation

      It is regrettable, but sometimes you do have to handle problem people in your team. They may not be bad, but it could be not suited for the job. Also it could partly be our own fault. We take the view that we are open to the possibility of improvement, but once you do identify a prob= lem, you do need to take steps to plan on how this improvement is managed and documented.


      For example, if someone has not performed well while s= till under probation, but you feel there is still potential for improvement, you= may extend that probation longer. It may have been a case of their lacking sufficient supervision to do their job well, etc but whatever the case, you need to set them milestones to achieve by the extended probation date. On y= our part, you also need to provide what may have been lacking in their initial weeks/months, to help them succeed. On then, can we make a fair assessment = of whether we rightly confirmed them, or not.


      It is only fair to this person that we document and communicate to them everything that we feel is not up to scratch (whether on our part or theirs). And if things still do not work out, then we can right call an end to the contractual relationship, and hopefully part on an amiab= le note.


      5.9.8 Handling Misconduct

      What is misconduct? It could be repeated absenteeism, = abuse of process, non-performance; unprofessional behaviour (such as lateness for meetings)…the list goes on.


      Fortunately, we have not experienced it all that much.= But what a manager needs to do is the take immediate steps to deal with it once= you realize it is going on.


      First however, take a step back to find out why it has happened. Consider the age and experience of the employee. Perhaps it’= ;s their first job, and they didn’t know any better. Or they were rude t= o a client, but they were offered a lot of provocation. Or again, it is our fau= lt for not making our expectations sufficiently clear so that it is believed t= hat such actions are acceptable.


      Not that any of these are excuses, but they may be mitigating factors that would temper your treatment of the matter.


      Next, once you have figured it out, the employee in yo= ur charge must be told what the right procedure is, and that what they did was= not acceptable. This should be documented. Then if it is repeated, it becomes a more serious issue.


      Too many of these can result on termination of employm= ent as management of this employee becomes too time consuming, and ultimately cann= ot reflect well on their performance.


      5.9.9 Firing versus retrenchment versus resignation

      We fire when we are dissatisfied with someone’s performance to the degree that we feel their presence in the company is mor= e detrimental than beneficial. This person is entitled to a months’ notice, but if = the misconduct is severe, this can be cut short.


      As with handling misconduct, we do not like firing as = a knee jerk procedure, but only after attempts at improvement, reassessment and ot= her remedies still fail to work. These all should be documented and communicate= d to the employee before the drastic action of firing them is taken.


      Retrenchment is about the company not being able to economically sustain a job, a team or a department. This has less to do with the individual or team performance (of course, poor performance can contrib= ute to a firm’s poor standing) and so a plan may have to be worked out for these people’s exit from the company. Such a plan will have to be dependent on the company’s circumstances at that time.


      A person may resign for a number of reasons. They foun= d a better job, didn’t like what they were doing, or just wanted to take a break. Our usual notice period is a month. We should find out why they want= to leave. While we always hope we provide the best conditions we can afford, we know = also that we cannot achieve this for everyone all of the time.


      5.9.10 Exit Interviewing

      The main aim of this exit interview is to find out wha= t we can do better. This helps us to keep the good people we have, do a better j= ob, and stay alive longer. There may mutual dissatisfactions, but these should = not get in the way of dealing with the issues that should be discussed. Remember that this is a time when you can get some frank answers and you should use = it well with a view to getting good feedback on how we are doing things.


      The other aspect of exit interviewing is administrative – ensuring proper handover, determining last days, and any other matt= ers that could disrupt operations during that last month or after the employee leaves.