In the summer of 2008, MicroTools attended a leadership conference. The keynote speaker presented the following idea about having business axioms:
“Winning leaders have winning points of view – succinct, practical, portable leadership proverbs that help them arbitrate decisions and rouse troops to action.” -Bill Hybels
The following represents MicroTools’ Business Axioms, which we use in our every-day approach to business.
- Remember, if it’s not tested it doesn’t work – Early on in our lives as engineers, we found that the one little change to our design, our code, or document – that seemed so obvious – and should just work – didn’t. This axiom has forced us to heighten our attention to test, test and test some more. Unfortunately, we have found that even if it is tested, it still may not work!. For more, see this article.
- Show that People Matter – As engineers, we can easily get caught up with the technical challenges of a project, and we neglect the people in our lives. Our business decisions not only consider the impact on the project, but also the implications for our co-workers, their families, and our customers.
- Ask for help – Self-reliance and independence are great traits to have in an employee. But we all need to know when to ask for help. Often, we are absorbed in some question or problem when the answer is just a phone call or office away. Maintain an environment where we can freely admit our weaknesses and lack of knowledge and ask for help.
- Two heads are better than one – In our field, the industry has attempted to improve software engineering efficiency through the process of “Extreme Programming.” If you are designing something complex, you are encouraged to work together. For more information, see the links at: Process Improvement.
- Document it – Many decisions, ideas, and design details feel obvious when we first think of them and therefore we do not record or document them. What is obvious to us today may become obscure (or forgotten) next week. So, when in doubt, write it out. Write down the following:
- Specs: Key specification issues
- Lessons: Problems you encountered and how you fixed them
- Promises: Commitments you made to one another and to customers
- Decisions: Design or configuration choices you make and why
- going to be late
- leaving early
- going to a customer site