The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
TOPICS:

Sam Hahn, Author at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley

Since graduating from Stanford University, Sam has spent over 2 decades in just about every aspect of coding, research, product definition, customer understanding, system architecture, data modeling, team building, strategy formulation, corporate startups, executive management, private equity placement, and entrepreneur mentoring. In some of these positions, he has also been responsible for product management and sales as well. Sam was the first at TRW (and possibly elsewhere) to architect systems that integrated relational database management systems, hypertext, vector and raster-based cartography, elevation data, multiple sources of intelligence data (yes this must be vague!), image processing, document management, character recognition, text indexing, search, and reasoning systems as early as the mid-80's. Sam was responsible for 4 development teams at Siebel Systems (web engine, handheld, eService, and Sales.com) in his 7 years there. As one of the core architects at Siebel, Sam oversaw research in presentation technology initiatives, including metadata-driven portal frameworks. Sam was co-founder, VP of Engineering, and CTO of DocuMagix (now part of eFax.com), and has also held VPE positions at Sales.com and Purisma. Sam is a partner at Sand Hill Angels, and now advises entrepreneurs in startup strategies and companies on effective application of Chasm and Agile thinking and practices. Attempting to live an enlightened life, he is too often tempted by sushi, Cambodian food, and white mochas with soy, only somewhat balanced by his enjoyment of tai chi. Please agree, disagree, laud, personally or professionally engage Sam via S@mHahn.com

Company Culture – the VPE Perspective

What Is Culture ? Culture Defined Culture is the personality of the organization.  Formally it can be defined as the collective values, behaviors and expectations of a group of employees. It can refer to: processes of decision making guidelines about what kinds of behavior gets rewarded or reprimanded rules around WHO gets to make decisions the […]

Share

Leadership, Management, and Integrity – the VPE Perspective

Role of the VPE in Management The role of the VPE has two essential tasks: (1) to build and direct an efficient organization that can do the work and to which operational responsibility can be delegated, and (2) manage the complex web of communications between the Engineering organization and all the other interested parties, be […]

Share

Encouraging Innovation vs Tactical Objectives – the VPE Perspective

Introduction Managing the trade off between encouraging innovation and meeting tactical objectives is a continual struggle for every Engineering organization. Caution will dictate to avoid innovation and take the tried-and-tested path. A high achieving development organization however will always be pushing to innovate and implement new or cutting edge techniques. In this chapter we look […]

Share

Features Set vs Time to Market – the VPE Perspective

Introduction Features, Schedule, Quality — Pick any two” – so goes a popular saying among many engineers. And it indeed it does in many ways reflect the trade-offs that often get made. The less time there is to do a task, the more triage needs to be done as to the amount of functionality delivered, […]

Share

Requirements Management – The VPE Perspective

Problem Statement Requirements are a special issue for Engineering management because it is where their relationship with the Business teams really gets tested. The problem domain determines the nature and stability of the requirements, which in turn influences the relationship and the processes used by both business and technical groups. In heavily constrained problem domains, […]

Share

Understanding Customers – as a VP of Engineering

Understanding Customers – as a VP of Engineering What role does understanding the customer and the market play in the VPE’s job? For VPE’s in technology driven companies, it might seem obvious that it is important to understand the people who purchase your products or services. However there is actually a lot of debate on […]

Share

A “Journaling” Mindset

On Wednesday I mentioned that I carry a digital voice recorder with me at all times. I like to record meetings. I like to record them in person, and I like to use conference call services that make it easy for you to record conference calls (eg. *9, PIN, done).

Share

Simple skills, like learning to count…

Luckily for me, I learned how to count in early life… probably elementary school. Or sometime… (This used to be called math, for those of us who are not math majors.) I find now that learning to count was a pretty good skill, once I learned how to apply the skill.

Share

Idea #1 in Agile

Agile isn’t about producing products faster than other methods. Agile isn’t about working faster than other people. The single most fundamental concept in “agile” is the speed of feedback. There are at least 2 very important sources of feedback that can be leveraged in this way.

Share

The Problem with Performance Reviews

Probably everyone accepts that a business rarely has the same priorities during an extended period when performance objectives apply, whether it’s 6 months, 12 months, or some other duration, right? Unless you’re in a very long-established business (and even then, departmental priorities can change focus over such durations), it’s likely that what priorities you understood […]

Share

Everything I Know about Management I Learned as an Orchestra Conductor

There’s been an oft-repeated observation that there’s a high incidence of classically trained musicians in the software industry. I’ve seen this myself; it’s not hard to identify enough people for a jam session or chamber ensemble in any association meeting here in Silicon Valley. I had the good fortune to be trained in orchestral conducting […]

Share

40 Years Ago

40 years ago this December, something extraordinary was offered to us. It became known as the “mother of all demos” (MOAD): Douglas Engelbart showed the world what collaboration could look like in this new world empowered by the technology that can connect each of us. He had not only seen the future decades before everyone […]

Share

Is Agile Enough (part 2)

So what is the result? Today, usually only one team member has spoken directly with a customer, and this understanding isn’t typically captured in written form anyplace to share with the rest of the product development team members. So when a technical tradeoff needs to be made, there is a 50/50 likelihood that the tradeoff […]

Share

Is Agile Enough? (part 1)

Agile project team values and their embodiment in actual practice are highly subject to personal interpretation on the parts of practitioners, and thus necessarily suffer criticism for its wide-ranging variety of acceptable variations, all claiming to be agile. So a significant percentage of projects that claim to be agile, yet not adopting all of the […]

Share

“Friends Don’t Let Friends do Outsourcing”

I have a friend (let’s call him Andy) who used to work for me and was a good engineer. He subsequently became VP Engineering at an outsourced software development company overseas. I have another friend (let’s call him Don) who also worked with me at a large software company in the sales group; we went […]

Share