Different organisations carry out different work activities, but the basics of organising this work are the same.

Here is what you need to do …

Make a List

First you need to know what work you need to do.

Make a list of all of the work activities that your organisation must carry out.

  • Scope out each activity — try to keep it self-contained.
  • Is it ongoing / time limited / periodic?
  • Who is responsible for it? — someone needs to be — and it’s better if it’s just one person rather than many.

Make sure the list covers everything

It’s harder to manage staff across a distance — whether it’s remote teams or remote working individuals.

But enabling your team to cross geographies means you can grow capacity by acquisition and recruit from a much larger talent pool — making it a skill worth learning.

Local Leader

Remote teams need a local leader.

Look for someone who already has the respect of the team, and who acts and thinks as you do — so that they are your willing proxy.

Keep close to them — communicate every day — so that:

  • they know what you’re thinking and why,
  • you

Whenever you do anything, sometimes things will go wrong.

Expect this — plan what to do and how to react.

Anticipate and Accept

Expect that things will go wrong and try to anticipate what they might be.

  • Miss steps should never come as a complete surprise.
  • You should always be prepared for them — with an avoidance plan — and a mitigation plan.

Mistakes are not a bad thing.

People learn more — and take on the learning more deeply — when it is from mistakes.

Build a culture where miss steps are regarded as a learning experience — not…

An organisation is its people:

  • The ideas that they generate.
  • The impression they present to the world.
  • The things that they make.
  • The service they provide.

Get the people part right and the organisation will stand a good chance of succeeding.

Trust People

Many organisations treat people as a faceless resource:

  • Every one the same, counted as numbers.
  • Needing to be told what to do.
  • Liable to do the wrong thing — or to do nothing — if not provided with instruction.

Command and control assumes the worst in people.

  • If you treat people this way then they will act

Start-up businesses are all about innovation — building something new is usually their reason for existing.

But as they become established the day-to-day of current operations and products can get in the way of building the next new thing.

This tension needs to be managed so that you can do both.

Keeping Track

Start by acknowledging that there are two different things that must be done:

  • Support for and development of existing products / services / customers.
  • Development of new ones — innovation.

Be clear — with yourself, and with everyone — into which category work sits, and put systems…

Even with the best of teams, and with the most progressive of management styles, there will still be times when you need to criticise.

How can you do this without falling into a well of negativity?

Do It Sparingly

When you’re not normally known for it, criticism, when it is occasionally needed, is much more effective.

  • The surprise element makes people take notice.
  • For you to criticise, the issue must be very serious.

Criticising only very occasionally means it’s not a skill at which you’re well practiced — so spend extra time preparing for the conversation.

Practice your arguments —…

When a business first starts up, the office is usually located somewhere convenient for the founders.

But as it grows it will need to move — usually more than once.

When these opportunities arise, what things should you consider?


How will the staff get to you?

Not just the founders. Not just the current staff. But all those people you haven’t yet recruited and will surely need.

You’ll need to cast the net wide as you grow — appealing to all types and all ages — to get the right mix of skills and experience.

If you’re stuck in…

Engineers are geeks, they want to stay technical, and don’t do people — right?


Engineers can often make the best managers — if you introduce them to it the right way.

Grow Your Own

You could recruit new managers, but it’s usually better to grow your own. They will:

  • Already have the respect of the technical staff.
  • Understand your products and technology — in detail.
  • Know how your business works.
  • And you will know them.

Dipping a Toe

Engineers often shy away from management.

  • They don’t want to lose touch with design.
  • They think it’s just paper pushing.
  • They…

Whether you’re recruiting from outside or growing from within, what characteristics make a great Test Engineer?

As well as the technical skills that you need you should also look for …

Play First

Great Test Engineers love to play with a new product.

  • Really getting to know how it works and what it does.
  • Trying out all of the corner cases.
  • Discovering things about it that even its developer doesn’t know.

They are naturally inquisitive, taking a new product and exploring all of the possibilities, without any plan or direction.

Then Detail

Playing with a new product is essential, but…

All businesses regard staff training as a good thing — and it is.

But training is about much more than just ticking a box — using just what’s on the shelf.

Formal Training

Training courses are certainly part of the picture.

In-house courses may be more cost effective, but try to choose external training as it:

  • exposes staff to other businesses and their alternative ideas,
  • takes people away from the day-to-day by giving them a change of scene,
  • provides opportunities for networking.

Send people on external training individually, not in groups.

  • They will mix with others when they don’t have…

Peter Cain, Anamosys

Anamosys enables business growth by helping companies to organise and to scale.

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