Hanselminutes on 9 - Follow up, 6 months later, with Chris Sells on Managing People and Your Time

Play Hanselminutes on 9 - Follow up, 6 months later, with Chris Sells on Managing People and Your Time
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Last August my role at Microsoft changed a bit so I took Chris Sells to lunch at our local food court (where the lady at the Indian Restaurant always shakes the big piece of chicken off her serving spoon before she dishes my plate, but I'm not bitter) to talk about being a manager at Microsoft.
Chris leads a team and seems to get a lot done, so I figured it'd be a good idea. Check our our FIRST video interview from the August 2009 lunch here, then watch this FOLLOWUP Lunch from yesterday (about six months after the first) where I at first admit defeat, then go back into being in denial, then I leave to redouble my efforts. Enjoy the Wisdom of Chris Sells as he attempts to set me straight.



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    So, what, Scott, you all have perfect employees who all perform well and get along with each other?  Must be nice!  Really, don't your folks require more leadership than twice a year reviews?

  • User profile image

    Are you kidding? I have weekly 1:1's with each person separately, then a monthly team meeting. Not to mention constant ongoing contact, calls, videos, emails and feedback.

  • User profile image

    So tell me this: If you enjoy being an individual contributor, and you don't particularly enjoy management administrivia, why accept the management position? Why not simply keep the job doing only what you enjoy?

  • User profile image

    Scott I have the perfect solution on how keep your website looking great, continue to be a good manager, and a good family man all at the same time. Don't Sleep (well maybe you could sleep like 2 hours a night). 


    It's really not that bad once you get used to it. Wink

  • User profile image

    Honestly, Phil, because, at the time, it was the right thing to do for the organization.

  • User profile image



    I think it's good that people like you and Chris are managers, because you have been in the trenches and as long as you are aware of how it was when you were a developer, I think the decisions that you will make will be for the better of your team and your organization.



  • User profile image

    "You either CODE or delete EMAILS"  Wink  you are a Spontaneous genius Scott . . . .

  • User profile image

    Interview is not audible. I would suggest not have interviews in public places. It is diffcult to understand. As always u are the best in for vidoes


  • User profile image

    Aha, I was always wondering how you guys do it. Managing, coding, blogging, presenting, and keep family happy.

    Thanks for the insight.


    I know fear and shame are strong incentives, but these are wrong incentives.

    Your legitimacy should not come from people's approval or disapproval (it usually works that way). 

    There is a better way. 

    The source of legitimacy should be in the fact that God loves you, and your goal is to fulfill your birthright. Then you'll be able to figure out your priorities and set your objectives differently, and start doing things because it is a right thing to do, not because of the fear or shame. It is like being a slave who doesn't like his master and being a son who knows whatever problem comes along is for the good, and no pain is going to be wasted.


    Like you said, Scott, you took this job not because of the fact that you liked it (it is a pain in the neck), but you did it because it was the right thing to do. Why else would somebody want do to things?


    Sorry for being too philosophical.

  • User profile image


    Are there any books or sites you recommend on PM'ing and/or productivity for developers?



  • User profile image

    Artd - The #1 site I use for Program Manager and navigating organizations is J.D. Meier's site: http://sourcesofinsight.com/

  • User profile image

    We lost two great colleagues to management in the past 16 months.  Neither writes anymore code.  We hardly do lunch anywmore...sniff, sniff.  Then - the real reason for their move.  $$$.  The almighty dollar. $$$


    Hey - more power to them! 


  • User profile image

    Scott, I just want to thank you and Chris for taking the time to make this available, and sharing the trials and tribulations of managing in the world of development, Like many others, I work at a company that is far smaller than MS and my level of responsbility isn't quite up to par with yours, but I have to deal with the same struggles and I really enjoyed and benefited from the discussion that you and Chris had. The tug of war between wanting to code, and the need to insure that others are allowed to do their best, It'sgood to know that I'm not alone. I would love to see more of these meetings.

  • User profile image

    Hi Scott


    Great video! As a manager who never set out to be a manager and is still trying to figure out how to be a good one but also trying to get other stuff done, your conversation with Chris really struck a chord with me. It's very funny that you guys were sitting in the same place as last time. You two should really try and do more of these.


    Not sure if what Chris is saying is: you can be a good manager, a good website contributor, a good husband, a good father - but you only get to choose one of the above. I'd like to think that's not true.


    I've been a long-time subscriber to Hanselminutes (sometimes way too dev-techie for me but always worth listening to) and now that I've stumbled upon them I'm a subscriber to your Channel 9 videos too.


    Keep up the good work.

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