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#1 My First Blog

by Steven Cerri on September 10, 2006

My Introductory Blog

Who is this guy?

Good morning,

You’re probably wondering… who am I and why do I have this blog? The answers to those two questions are very important to me as they are to you.

To the first: I’m an engineer, a scientist, and a business person and entrepreneur. I have degrees in each area: a BS in aeronautical engineering; an MS in geophysics; and an MBA. I’ve done international training, I’m an author, and I’m an adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara in theTechnology Management Program Department. I have over 30 years of experience in aerospace engineering, software development, and printer manufacturing companies, in both the technology and the management areas. And that experience has been in commercial, government, and in department-of-defense business arenas. So I’ve gotten a taste of how all three of these environments function.

I began my career as an engineer and ultimately became a general manager. I’ve made the transition from technical professional to technical manager and beyond (product manager, general manager, and corporate trainer). By most standards I’ve been very successful and yet, I got very little help along the way. By that I mean I got very little help that would have made my transition to management easier. Primarily this was because there was no one who really, and I mean really, understood what a technical person goes through when they become a manager. Technical people either make the transition to management or they don’t and if they succeed their success is attributed to some “innate” ability.

Oh, for sure, there were the psychologists who could teach me what they thought I should know about people and management. But they were psychologists; what did they know about what was going on in my head, the head of an engineer? And there were the engineers and technical managers who would teach me about project management, schedules, and budgets. But those were the easy functions. No one was there to teach me what I really needed to know to make management “comfortable” for me. There was no one there who was willing to discuss the “transition” from technical professional to technical manager. And while I was lucky enough to be successful, I made the trip pretty much on my own, so to speak.

In fact, I was extremely successful in building teams. I was able to turn projects and organizations around, even in situations where others had failed. Somehow I had learned how to motivate and move people to achieve results that others could not. And I began to help those who worked for me make the transition from technical professional to technical manager. I began to groom program and project managers to take on their own major projects. Some even started their own companies.

To the second question: From these results, I more and more began hearing myself say; “I want to teach technical professionals how to do this because I really think I understand what they need to know that no one is telling them. Most of my approaches to building teams and managing people and projects went against the accepted practices, and yet the results were fantastic. So I had to ask myself what was going on here and why was I successful building technical teams and grooming managers while others weren’t as successful?

I decided about 15 years ago to embark on a consulting, training, and coaching career. I decided that it was important to me to get what I considered to be my message out to technical people. And so while I’ve continued to work inside corporations on and off since I started my consulting, training, and coaching company, my main interest has been in training technical professionals to have successful long-term careers, either as technical professionals or as technical mangers and helping them make a smooth transition if they decide to become technical managers.

The message of this blog then, is really my message. It’s based on my experience, and on my ideas about what works and what doesn’t work in technology management. It’s about the personal development of the technical professional required to become a truly long-term success as a technologist or a manager in their organization.

You won’t find a compilation of other people’s ideas here. You won’t find any straddling of the fence either. You won’t find me giving you several ideas about a management topic and then telling you that it’s up to you to decide what to do. If that is what you want, there are plenty of good blogs that you can visit that will provide that kind of information. That’s not this site and it’s not me. I definitely have an opinion developed over a long career. I have strategies that work in a wide variety of technology management situations. They have worked for me and they have worked for the people I’ve trained, coached, and taught. This is not about theory, it is about practical technical management.

On this site, my message will consist of my ideas, my experience, and my suggestions. Try them out. If they work, please come back. If they don’t work then please feel free to let me know. I encourage you to ask me questions; pose specific situations you might be facing; get specific. This can and should be a powerful learning process. And that’s what we do as technical professionals, we learn and we apply what we learn. You’ve learned about the physical laws of the universe. It’s time you learn about the “laws” or maybe “theorems” of technical management.

You’ll find that my message consists of three parts and three parts only. Part one is that I help technical people be better and more effective as technical people in their technical organizations. Part two is that I help technical managers be better technical managers. And part three is that I help technical professionals make a smooth and effective transition to technical management. All three of these components comprise a program I call “The Fully Integrated Technical Professional” (more on this in future blogs.)

I’ll update this blog twice a week; on Mondays and Thursdays. Enjoy and much success.

Be well

Steven Cerri

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