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Project Management Oracle

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Project Management OracleStill collecting data for my Project Management Oracle, you can help me here.

Assignment Oracle

Lean & Lasting is a project management training and consulting company. We give training and advice on how to best manage projects. To be effective your project management style has to suit the re…

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

December 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Posted in business

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Dunning-Kruger Effect #event

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Dunning-Kruger Effect

In two week I will be going to a Hackers and Founders event discussing Startup Opportunities & Recruitment, so I thought I would remind myself of a few of the biases and pitfalls that occur when recruiting. As this event focuses on start ups it is even more important to have the right mix of knowledge and competence for any new members to the team.

by Adrianus Warmenhoven 

Peer assessment and the Dunning-Kruger effect #hr #management

What about it? Whilst having discussions on a ‘thinkers’ board that I infrequently-frequently visit, someone mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to specific politicians. So I looked it ….

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Peer assessment and the Dunning-Kruger effect #hr #management

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What about it?

Whilst having discussions on a ‘thinkers’ board that I infrequently-frequently visit, someone mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to specific politicians.

So I looked it up and something started to dawn on me.

Of late I have seen quite a number of companies adapting the ‘Google method’ of peer assessment when it comes to hiring new personnel, but for some reason those companies were having rather a decline in technical competence instead of getting the increased benefit of adding more ‘brainpower’.

As I understand it, and as related to my own observations in the peer assessments, the problem lies here in points 2 and 3 of the hypothesis put forth by Kruger and Dunning:

2) Fail to recognize genuine skill in others;

Oftentimes the higher skilled candidate is being dismissed because “he talks about weird things and can’t communicate properly” or variations thereof.

Now what I have seen Human Resources do is not recognizing this problem but rather projecting a form of ‘insecurity’ on the assessing employee ‘He may be afraid of his position’, whereupon they start complementing and ‘securing’ the assessing employee. It would go too far too add Pavlovian conditioning to this story, but it may not be too far from it.

3) Fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;

Dunning has drawn an analogy to someone having an impairment, but I think a much clearer and less insulting explanation can be given by the concepts of Flatland (when read without the Victorian context, that is).

What does that mean for the business?

As for the origin of the inadeqacies, I leave that for the respective physicians and psychologists, but there are a few common mistakes companies make that help in attenuating this effect within their ranks.

The HR departments are not sitting at the table when the peer assessments take place

This has the effect of ‘ganging up’ on a potential candidate; remember that the assessing employees will subconsciously defend their comfort zone, so no fresh blood that dares to challenge even the group of ‘old hands’ will ever be given a good mark.

And in technology, zealotism is stronger than in religion. Mention the wrong editor somewhere and you are classed ‘unqualified’. Mention that you do not have a fascist adherence to Linux/MacOS/Windows/Anythingatall and you are classed ‘incompetent’.

The way to remedy this is to have a properly prepared (as in read up, albeit cursorily, on the subject matter) HR staff sit at the table and support the candidate in matters of confidence and to ‘call off the hounds’ when needed. Also, the HR staff should ask questions like ‘why is this editor thing important in our company?’ so as to prevent the technology policies becoming the pre-conditions for a personal playground of the techs.

Sitting personnel has gotten to the position on merits of ‘employment years’ and ‘being there first’ or ‘helping to set it up’

Often, because ‘in the land of the blind, one-eye is king’, a manager or ‘chief’ of a technical department is someone that has been a long time in a company. This is a tradition that stems from the old ‘Foreman’ habit; a senior gets to lead his peers because he knows very well what the work entails and he knows the peers very well.

But in ICT, I really have to say this, a lot of technically competent people have problems when interacting with the rest of the world. I will even go so far as to say that some of these people are in ICT because of their Rainman-like qualities; they simply are prone to defend against anything that threatens the world they have created in their own mind.

This can be remedied by not giving them decision powers. They should have all the execution powers, or put differently; they should be allowed to decide on ‘how’ to do things, but never ‘what’ to do.

Here then comes a gray area; it is sometimes hard to see when it is a ‘how’ and when it is a ‘what’. But there’s a good rule of thumb for it (this is just a marker, not a hard fact): if it involves anyone outside of the inhouse technical crew, treat it as a ‘what’. All activities done by that technical crew can be treated as ‘how’.

Obviously it never is going to be that simple, but think of this as having a race-horse pulling a gurney; the horse pretty well knows how to run by itself and given practice it even knows how to turn etc. But because the jockey has more information (i.e. the strategy, the strength and endurance of the competition) and has the ability to make judgements on that information (i.e. if the others are conserving energy, if the other horses are at their peak, when to fully go all-out) it must always be the jockey who is in control.

The horse can do things the jockey can not, but the jockey can do things the horse can not. And if the horse decides that it knows the course better than the jockey, the race will be lost most of the time.

The horse does not see it’s inadequacy in decision making, because it can outrun that little jockey even on a bad day…

And now what?

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Well, just because they know more about technology and about the work they do, that does not mean they know more about healthy and proper assessment procedures.

When assessing new personnel, have the tech department set up a kind of exam with a scoring method. That way they can ask anything they want and open questions can be scored ‘double blind’ if wanted (although simply anonymous is usually good enough).

This test can then be sent to an outside consultant or other tech company to verify both the validity of questions and the standard answers.

You can have candidates (give them fair warning though that you are going to do this) take this test and have it objectively scored. This makes for an up-to-date questioning and it also gives the candidate the possibility to defend his/her answers against the scoring because it can be done fully in writing. Sometimes that will yield that the candidate is overqualified for a certain setting. But that leaves the candidates dignity in place and gives the tech department a chance to work on themselves.

The HR staff can assess the social qualities and all other properties after a candidate has gotten through the test.

I sometimes hear that ‘it is hard getting good personnel’, but I do not think so. I think it is hard breaking down the little kingdoms that have come to be and that in an open and social world, there really should be no place for them anymore.

This article is a guest written article, and was originally posted here.

Image source: AttributionNo Derivative WorksSome rights reserved by Sebastian Fritzon

Written by Adrianus Warmenhoven

April 24, 2012 at 11:48 am

Posted in business, risk, science

Tagged with ,

What is wrong with ICT?

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A day ago I read PHP: A fractal of bad design, and it made me sit down and think about writing this entry, of which the kernel has been gestating for quite a long time.

I see this a lot; pro’s ranting about an aspect of our ‘craft’ that has gone totally pear-shaped; programmers complaining about the languages or the quality of code they are asked to fix and/or maintain, systems administrators that just can not believe the insanity that is brought down on them because of either laziness of the in-house personnel or management-made bylaws.

Cryptographic specialists (even mildly spoken ones like Bruce Schneier), hackers nee security specialists, software designers… the whole palette of people that actually are proficient in their work gripe and complain.

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Written by Adrianus Warmenhoven

April 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

Posted in business, programming, risk, technology

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Coriolanus Effect and Wakoopa Stats #productivity #timemanagement

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I first started writing about Wakoopa in 2009, when I wrote the article Time Spend, is Time Earned on using it for time management, it has mostly been running in the background to give me some statistics on the way I use my time behind my computer, and whether it is used effectively. Recently I started a new projects with new computers and again installed the Wakoopa Tracker to measure the effective use of my time. Naturally the Parato principle still holds, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Coriolanus effect: n. the act of going around in ever decreasing circles until one vanishes up one’s own backside.
Glaswegian expression

For Sunday it is possible to see the amount of time I spend creating a Christmas card, and I see that – split over Mac and Windows – I seem to be spending the productive 62% of my office time on development, documentation and mail. Again I can also immediately see correlations between any dips in time – such as Monday – and real events, in this case meetings. Furthermore the relatively short time spend on development on Monday can be seen to have a ripple effect that continues on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m sure that had the statistics been available for Thursday this line would continue.

Using my calendar I could get a similar graph, and although the details of how long I was “researching” a recent XKCD joke are still lots be lost, Wakoopa enables me to see the usage of my time slightly better and the collection is entirely passive.

Image source: Wakoopa

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

December 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Time Management – Time to work on my dreams?

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Time Management is a handy tool, when applied correctly. Rather than using it to schedule more tasks than you can handle, take the long term perspective and work from there to clear all the chave which doesn’t help you reach that goal. I hope it creates value for you too!

Slowly sharing the presentations I’ve give in the past to SlideShare.

Time Management

Time to work on my dreams? Time Management Author: Daniel W. Crompton

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

November 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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This year’s book reviews #2010

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Programming Hands

As always I read far more in 2010 than I blogged about, and most of the books I did blog about were treasures. I hope I inspired you to read at least one of them. And you have certainly noticed that I have added them all to the bookstore to make it easier for you to find out more about them.

I’ve had this title in my head for about a week now, the title is natur…

I’m reading Bruce Sterling‘s Islands in the Net – Amazon de…

As followers of mine will know I love xkcd, and he has some gems such as this…

I read Amsterdam: The Brief Life of a City by Geert Mak in English rather tha…

I’ve seen the film more than a dozen times, but I had yet to read Star …

Brian Jacques‘s book Outcast of Redwallfollows Veil the ferret who is r…

The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth, is another of the books I am keeping s…

Brian Jacques‘s book Martin the Warrior is another book from the Redwal…

I found The Moon’s a Balloon, by David Niven, in a box of old books. I …

Mossflower by Brian Jacques is probably my favourite of the Redwall series, t…

Timothy Leary once told us to “Turn on, tune in, drop out“, and a…

For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Br…

After having seen many films and read many books I expected that Hitler: The …

One of my first real American comics was Thor, I really liked it. Sadly it re…

I like Ontologies, Taxonomies and Folksonomies. I’m currently reading W…

I read Mario Puzo famed book The Godfather after having seen the movie a numb…

As I previously said I bought Anathem at the same time I bought Cryptonomicon…

I borrowed a number of books from an aunt of mine, who reviewed these books f…

I was standing in a secondhand book store with my father, and we wandered rou…

As an early Christmas gift my father gave me vouchers he didn’t want to…

The Snake is the first book I have read by John Godey, it was recommended to …

In the company I work for they are introducing the Agile FrameWork, in the fo…

Image source: Honou

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