Use the team-calender to invite for all meetings that happen independently from the organiser

Send meetings from your team mailbox if the meeting is happening even the original organiser want make it, e.g. daily stand-ups should also happen, even if the GL is on holidays.

There are several advantages:

  • the teamlead can also show his absence by declining certain instances of the meeting
  • and anybody could have a look who is attending
  • If the teamlead is e.g. holidays the deputy can if necessary move or cancel the meeting.
  • Finding a suitable timeslot is easier – if every teammember at least adds his or her important dates (see …)

Have objectives to be SMART?


Many of us have already heard, that objectives should defined SMART, i.e. specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related.My problem with such nice acronyms is that they are usually too nice to be true. Everybody can remember SMART. Thats why many people prattle about it, but nobody actually uses it. If you scroll down the wikipedia page mentioned above, you’ll find several meanings for each of the five letters, partially contradicting each other, and even two more letters, telling you that objectives should even be defined SMARTER. But even those two have several meanings.

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Which MTTR is a useful KPI?

When it comes to usefulness of a Key Performance Indicators (KPI), three things are important: the influence a team has on that indicator, the effort that is necessary for gathering it and the meaning of the indicator.

One famous KPI within IT is MTBF, the “Mean Time Between Failure”. And while there is a certain link between the performance of the team and the MTBF, there is still some probability involved that out of the control of the responsible team.

One Indicator that is more in control of the team is the “Mean time to repair”, MTTR. But how useful is this KPI?

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How useful is EOM?

You can use email like SMS and place the complete content into the subject line. To not confuse the recipient, more and more attach EOM, short for “End of Message” at the End of the subject. This is generally useful, but it has also a few disadvantages, you should be aware.

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Please add the [project] to your Subject

One very easy enhancement of your subject, is to add a recognisable project name to your subject. I prefer to put it in square brackets at the beginning of the subject line.

Both, recipient as well as sender, benefit from this small addition to the subject. For the sender especially if he receives the answer to this. Having a single word at the beginning of the subject sets the right context. And you have still enough space for putting a reasonable subject line.

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Inbox – LIFO or FIFO

There is a couple of principles in IT how to work on things that are piling up. One of them is FIFO, first in – first out, which means that you work on this element first, that also arrived first. This is the classical waiting queue. LIFO, last in – first out, is the exact opposite, i.e. you work first on the element that has arrived last. This is the classical stack approach.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, that make them more or less suitable for certain use cases. And a very well discussed question is, which of them is the best for working on the items in your inbox. My opinion: None of them!

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Too Many eMails?

Complaining about too many emails is currently en-vogue and companies are making it into the news with their plans to reduce the mail flood for their employees (e.g. VW) or abolishing it completely. But a closer look to their measures shows, that they are just working on the symptoms instead of attacking the root cause.

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