Category: Product Owner

Real People

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

 

Taking a big step can be scary.

I begin a new job tomorrow. Off on an (very) early morning flight to the big city. I cannot wait!

Leaving something you know, something you enjoy is hard. People wonder why you want to change. But these people understand. They know me. They matter.

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Grammar, Grammar Everywhere

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 9.05.49 AMNot long after I had posted my previous entry about grammar (and spelling) abuse, I noticed this tweet from David Pogue. Apparently the asterisk police hunted him down and called him out *!*

I was intrigued, so I dug further. The Language Log is a fascinating library of all things language, supported by the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania. Check it out.

Grammar IS Important

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Okay, no catchy title for this post. This is important.

I write this as a plea to my past, current, and future fellow professionals to not give up on good grammar. Heck, let’s include spelling, too. Just because we’re more “social” is no excuse. More of us will read your work. Don’t you want it to look good?

Now, I am no expert nor was I an English major. Translation: I screw up, too. But, still, I beg for your support.

Case in point: A person takes the time to put his or her innermost feelings on paper (or, rather, the Web). Then said person 1. shares those thoughts over a very social network, 2. tags others who may not wish to be exposed, and 3. openly criticizes former employers. Logic would say “proofread your work before you hit Share.” Right? Riggghhhtttt. Or, perhaps those who love him or her would offer their input, ever so gently.

Maybe it’s not the what but the how that counts the most.

The what is easy…it’s what’s in our hearts, our heads.

The how will help people form an impression. Impressions can last a lifetime.

Hand Jive

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Okay, here’s another favorite thing: The Xlerator.

I really like it.

A trip to the ladies’ room used to be non-eventful. Well, maybe it was or wasn’t…but, ahem, whatever. When it came to drying my hands, I always avoided the slow, boring hand dryer and went straight for the paper towels. Or the back of my pants.

My first Xlerator experience? I almost remember it to the day. The place? The USS Yorktown at Patriots Point. On a World War II-era Navy behemoth. A coworker came from the bathroom and exclaimed, “You have got to try the hand dryer in there!” Well, okay then. I did. Now when I see one I get giddy.

There’s competition. The Blade. But sticking my hands down into something? No thank you.

At about $400.00 a pop, I think how an Xlerator would nicely adorn our master bathroom wall…

Have a few minutes? Listen to an NPR interview with Denis Gagnon of Excel Hand Dryer, Inc.

Spanish Language Support for I-9 Processing

Screen shot 2013-01-14 at 8.25.48 PMA while back, the USCIS launched the Spanish language version of I-9 Central.

Employees and employers may access Form I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification information and the updated Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274) en español. ¡Qué grande!

But, remember, only employers in Puerto Rico may use either the Spanish version or the English version of the Form I-9 for official purposes.  The rest of us in the United States may use the Spanish version as a translation guide for Spanish-speaking employees, but must fill out and keep the English version for our records.

USCIS National Customer Service Center Adds Saturday Hours

This is good news for many of PeopleMatter’s customers. Hiring in the hospitality and service industries never takes weekends off. Onboarding must go on!

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced last week that its National Customer Service Center is now open on Saturdays. This will be a big help to hiring managers responsible for completing the Form I-9 for a new employee. Questions…there are ALWAYS questions. And, this task is not to be taken lightly…I-9 compliance is at the forefront of all businesses these days, especially those that hire our frontline service workers.

Need more info? You may contact the USCIS national toll-free customer service line at 1-800-375-5283.

Happy hiring!

Yaaaaawwwnn

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I like waking up early.

Now, I’m not talking about the get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-pee-and-not-going-back-to-sleep kind of waking up.

I mean, waking just before dawn. When things are still, as if nothing has happened yet.

It’s not a matter of self-discipline or an attempt to be better than anyone else. Rather, the introvert in me likes the alone time while the sun rises. I need it, to compose my thoughts and my day.

No wonder early morning software release deployments don’t annoy me. I say, “Let’s get up, brew some joe, and get this thing live!”

Late night? I zone out. I want to lose myself in a mind-numbing television sitcom or non-critical read and, of course, sleep. I never pulled an All-Nighter in college. Recalling my first career, hotel management, I sometimes had to cover the front desk during the dreaded night audit shift. 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. Yuck. I fought to stay awake past midnight, let alone balance the previous day’s books.

Our dogs also like the early morning. We walk our neighborhood before dawn. In their canine way, they ensure all is in-check, that everything smells the same, they take inventory of all squirrels, and ensure no new cats have moved in overnight.

Me? I relish the quiet, the sometimes fog (and foghorns), the end of dark, and the burgeoning light.

Pesky Habit

Habits. They follow us everywhere, every day. We begin each new year vowing to change them.

I’ve been thinking more about my habits. Of course, the bad ones, like repeatedly falling weakly to the “all u can eat” M&M dispenser on my co-team member’s desk. It’s strategically placed right in my path to-and-from the restroom.  And, let’s not forget the big bowl of assorted chocolates in the office that someone or something mysteriously recently kept re-filling overnight. Temptation is everywhere.

Then, there are those good habits we adopt such as taking the time to exercise DURING the workday. Luckily, I am a part of a company that encourages good habits. Adopting a new, good habit is easy except for when you want to replace it for an old, bad habit.

As a Product Owner, I constantly think how users will interact with the software we design: How does it impact their routines, is it intuitive, and does it encourage them to change poorly-practiced habits?

Which brings me to The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Before now, I never really thought about habits and how they form. Apparently, without any input from us, the brain will try to make habits out of every routine, to save energy and enable us to devote our noggins to more critical tasks such as devising the next hot start up concept. Training your brain to change a habit is the challenge.

Enjoy the diagram below. I have it posted in my workspace and hope that, over time, it will inspire me to change my pesky habit.