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Advice on how to manage without authority

I'm the junior member of a 2-person legal team for a government agency. I routinely have to ask people wholly outside my chain of command to do things for me or, more rarely, correct work when it's not compliant with law/policy/practice. I've successfully won over the majority of the staff in my year with the agency, but one staff member is routinely argumentative with me. How do I fix this? [more inside]
posted by mchorn on Aug 20, 2014 - 26 answers

Getting Stuff Done Across Teams

What concrete steps can I take to drive change? Have you ever been charge with driving change with little authority involving people who may be more senior than you are? How can I define and solve problems across multiple teams in a chaotic environment? [more inside]
posted by jasondigitized on Aug 18, 2014 - 9 answers

What would you consider a red flag when interviewing at a startup?

I was recently recruited for a mid-level role at a young startup (tech in development for several years; company has existed for about a year). My gut feeling about the product and the tech is that it's viable. The market is there, and I myself would use the product. This is not the case for 80% of startup products/ideas that I see. I'm not so sure how I feel about the founders or the results of the first interview. [more inside]
posted by Occam's Aftershave on Jul 22, 2014 - 20 answers

Smother me with tips & advice on managing design projects

I'm an experienced product & "UX" designer who just started a new job (yay!) where the focus in the short term is managing design work done by external vendors & studios. I've done some of this before, but always small scale and usually in conjunction with a project manager who handled most of the time and team management stuff. I need your advice, tips, tools, and other lore on ways of managing design projects like these as I'm in a little over my head. [more inside]
posted by theNonsuch on Jul 16, 2014 - 2 answers

Email list - category subscription in Wordpress and Sendgrid

Hi Everyone We need a system to let subscribers manage their own email preferences and category subscriptions. We have 23 categories to select from and would like the email recipients do that for themselves. A good example of such a page is at https://adage.com/help/emailprefs Sendgrid is great, but they can only do a general subscribe/unsubscribe, not a category. We use MailPoet at the moment. Any ideas anyone?
posted by bright77blue on Jul 9, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me GTD: Analysis Paralysis Applications & GTD

Help me implement GTD in a manageable fashion. I get lost in details, and need help keeping track of the pieces. I have access to web apps and a shiny new ipad air. Snowflakes inside. Tell me what has worked for you, and please offer practical advice. [more inside]
posted by Draccy on Jul 1, 2014 - 7 answers

How to Win Friends and Influence Peopleware

What books can I read about the people side of managing software developers, as opposed to the process side? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 21, 2014 - 4 answers

Can I gracefully exit a management role? Should I?

I took a management role at a fast-growing startup for a mix of good and bad reasons. Eight months into the new role, I'm realizing my boss & I have very different styles, that the expected "management perspective" and accompanying behaviors feel itchy. I don't want to leave the place — I just don't think I like a situation where I'm constantly managing up, down and sideways. How can I get out of this without having to leave altogether? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 14, 2014 - 4 answers

PMP management

I am looking for classes/training on project management (PMP). [more inside]
posted by jbean on Jun 9, 2014 - 9 answers

Where to buy large(ish) cable clips in Canada?

I'm much of the way through building a TRS Drawbot robotic arm thingy, and I need to buy cable organizer / management clips more or less like this that are large enough to hold a sharpie (or similar-sized) marker. The Make Magazine project was sponsored by a US retailer that doesn't exist in Canada, and I'm having trouble locating an equivalent or serviceable substitute on short notice here. If you've seen these or something that you think would work in a pinch around - at a national chain, or somwhere in the downtown/East end Toronto areas - I'd really appreciate your help! [more inside]
posted by onshi on Jun 5, 2014 - 4 answers

I know I have a lot of bacon, but how much exactly? 40 lbs? 80? More??!

My husband and I own and manage a small farm, where we raise heritage/organic-fed/pastured/blah blah pork, beef, lamb, goat, poultry, etc. We sell cuts of frozen meat by the pound at farmers' markets and direct to consumers via a CSA-type model. However, we have nothing in place for managing what we have on hand, other than vague "I think the bacon was in the bottom on the left side, there should be enough for market today"-type information. We clearly need to get some kind of inventory management in place. [more inside]
posted by librarina on Jun 1, 2014 - 4 answers

How do I Become a Product Manager / Implementation Specialist?

I recently met someone who is an Agile product manager, and he seems to have my dream job. I love meeting and talking to people, translating layman's speak and understanding into tech speak and vice versa, and I love an everchanging, fast-paced job where you actually *work.* How do I get into this? (Longsplaining background follows.) [more inside]
posted by traversionischaracter on May 1, 2014 - 13 answers

Lose the notebook?

Made a joyful career change and now work in recruitment. My new job requires logging of all interactions into a CRM. I also have a paper notebook. Things go into the paper notes but do not always end up on the computer. I estimate I am not accounting for 40% of what I could get credit for. I think that the notebook being an actual book matters. I have started setting appointments to remind myself of mundane activities, but that is not enough. Has anyone abolished taking written notes in pursuit of putting everything onto a computer? What has kept you going?
posted by parmanparman on Apr 28, 2014 - 10 answers

What game were we playing?

Trying to remember a team-building game I played maybe a decade ago, so I could maybe re-construct it and play with friends. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Apr 18, 2014 - 8 answers

Boss me around, please!

My manager is very hands-off and this is not going to change. How can I get better at managing myself, when I would prefer an environment with more direction and feedback? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 18, 2014 - 9 answers

New Teacher Hired, Pissing Off Veteran Staff, Help?

I'm in my first year as a principal at a special needs high school and recently, the school director (above me organizationally) hired a new teacher who isn't quite fitting in. Far too many staff members have approached me and basically, this new teacher is pissing a lot of people off. It's not worthwhile to get into specifics, but it is fair to say that their issues are valid and this new teacher acts like a know-it-all, she's fairly abrasive and dismissive to seasoned staff. These teachers are well-respected in our field and great at their jobs. [more inside]
posted by kinetic on Apr 15, 2014 - 23 answers

Management: Harder than expected.

So, I manage a business. I’ve had general management experience in the past, but it didn’t translate particularly well to this job. I feel like I’m in over my head and need advice. [more inside]
posted by quincunx on Apr 1, 2014 - 10 answers

Efficient Strategy for Problem Management

When I encounter a problem that I want to improve my management of, what is a better strategy than, "find book on Amazon/ order book/ never read book or only read 1st chapter? [more inside]
posted by forallmankind on Mar 27, 2014 - 10 answers

Developing career direction

Please help me figure out what direction my career could or should move in, based on my current job as Product Manager, my skills, and my strengths. [more inside]
posted by rachaelfaith on Mar 26, 2014 - 3 answers

What's my Job Title?

Currently, I'm the "Office Manager" for a large, family-run restaurant that employes 170+ people. I am in charge of Design (internal/external, web, print, etc - this is actually what I have my degree in), limited PR (we have an external firm that I liaise with, I do all social media and PR asset management), Bookkeeping/Payroll/Accounts Payable, Limited HR (onboarding new employees, helping to create and maintain training materials, but no hiring/firing/discipline), IT/Tech Support, Project Management, Answering Phones/Reservations, etc etc... oh, and managing the actual office, too (ordering supplies, filing, printing menus, fixing the copier, what-have-you). I need a better job title. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 23, 2014 - 9 answers

Retire already why don't you! OK, just help us prepare before you go.

One of our sales reps is retiring in two weeks and I am to take over his accounts and duties. The problem is he isn’t exactly helping with the transition process. How do we motivate him to help us prepare and be ready for his exit? Right now we might end up high and dry without access to important information we need to work after he's gone. We need to know what is going on with the accounts and everyone we should be working with. [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Mar 18, 2014 - 21 answers

Research showing that *any* office rearrangement improves productivity?

Some years ago, I read about a study on workplace productivity, set up to test the effect of a new office layout (or perhaps some other physical feature of work environment). They changed to the new layout, and productivity jumped up. Over the following months, however, productivity tailed off to the original levels. So they changed the layout back to the original one. Again, productivity spiked suddenly and gradually declined back to the baseline. It was concluded that, whatever the relative merits of different office arrangements, the very act of making a change causes a temporary productivity increase. Does anyone know where I can find this study? [more inside]
posted by pont on Mar 4, 2014 - 3 answers

Why am I the only one who answers his phone?

Running a small business and I need to strike the right balance between being available and growing my business. [more inside]
posted by jacobean on Feb 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Managing membership for a small organization?

A friend runs a small professional organization with about 60-80 members, and is looking for a way to more easily manage membership. She is hoping to find software or a web service designed to do these things: Right now members are paying by cheque through the mail, and it's a lot of paperwork. I imagine there is an inexpensive web service out there that would be perfect for this. Can you recommend anything? We're in Canada, if it matters. Thanks!
posted by oulipian on Feb 28, 2014 - 5 answers

How to turn mega-projects for one into reliable processes for many

My responsibilities at my job have slowly but organically grown until they are more than I can handle alone. Fortunately, my boss is very good at giving me people to do things for me. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time transitioning from the paradigm where I hold absolutely everything in my head, so I end up farming out simple tasks but then staying late putting a finished product together. How can I learn to divide work among multiple people successfully? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 19, 2014 - 4 answers

What does simple project management look like?

What does "Project Management Light" look like? Are there good resources out there team members can read/watch/etc? Background and requirements inside. [more inside]
posted by advicepig on Feb 19, 2014 - 11 answers

Like a library but with sign-out fees.

I'm looking for some software that will help me manage a small artwork rental business. I've been looking at library systems, since the sign out/sign-in concept is the same, but none of them seem to offer the ability to charge a fee to sign items out or keep track of fees owed to artists. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by talkingmuffin on Feb 12, 2014 - 4 answers

MBA, MSEOM, or other?

I'm considering further education, and I'm looking at either an MBA or MS in Operations and Engineering Management. I've already got the MSME and significant aerospace product engineering experience, and MSOEM would help give me a leg up to Engineering Manager or Chief Engineer. But an MBA would be a more business-focused curriculum, which could help me leverage my experience and knowledge into perhaps a wider field. So, which one gets your vote, and why? How much of a factor is the choice of school? What other questions do I need to ask? (Assume that tuition is not a factor.) [more inside]
posted by disconnect on Feb 11, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me focus on the hourly details of agency work

My company is becoming more focused on billable hours and resource allocation and I an sinking. Please help me stay afloat. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 9, 2014 - 8 answers

Do I need a PA or a boss?

I need to pay someone to keep me organized and contact other people for me and sort of, well, bully me into staying on task. But I don't know what sort of person that is. Who am I trying to hire? Details below. [more inside]
posted by Gee, June! on Feb 5, 2014 - 12 answers

How to respond to friendly/slightly diminishing comments from employees

I'm petite, younger, female and upper management in a male-dominated physical line of work. Several of my colleagues and employees regularly make casual friendly but slightly condescending comments to me. I generally push back pretty firmly with employees and ignore it from colleagues, but I feel uncomfortable and am unsure if MeFi might offer some better tactics for responding. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 3, 2014 - 55 answers

What can an organization do when it's best employees disengage?

I work for a large government agency where the "management cadre" is separate from the "professional cadre." Top- level professionals make as much or more than managers, at least up to the middle levels. More and more people are deciding to stay in their professional or "field" jobs, so managers are now coming from outside, with little substantive experience, and get overwhelmed almost immediately. When they founder, as is more often the case, there are few ambitious people under them looking for an opportunity to shine by taking on extra responsibilities, so they just keep chewing up the scenery. The fact that it is next to impossible to fire anyone at any level for any reason means there is little incentive for anyone to change, and the crappy economy means nobody wants to let go of a good salary, not to mention a great pension. Lather, rinse, repeat. Have you ever been part of this dynamic, and if so, how did you handle it? Have you ever seen an organization dig itself out once the situation got to that point? What constructive actions can the professionals in this scenario take, short of taking on responsibilities that don't belong to them ( and that they don't have the authority to carry out anyway)? [more inside]
posted by rpfields on Feb 2, 2014 - 6 answers

How do groups best collaborate on projects?

I work in a small business that reflects a lot of the same problems I've seen in other groups when they try to be productive. You get some people in a room with an intent to create an outcome, a project that is going to take considerable amount of time, thought, resources and creativity. Just getting people to stick to one single discussion thread in this large project becomes practically impossible. How do groups collaborate successfully to create an outcome that is worth the effort? [more inside]
posted by diode on Jan 31, 2014 - 9 answers

How do I constructively refuse to become a people manager?

I am a senior technical specialist in my company, and I've been asked to manage a small team. This is being sold to me as a great development opportunity, lots of prestige, greater authority and decision-making power, etc. etc.. While that all sounds great, it's a line management role. It's not that I'm not a people person, but I feel that it's not the right time in my life to be taking on a major new responsibility. How do I politely and constructively turn down the "opportunity"? [more inside]
posted by hoverboards don't work on water on Jan 29, 2014 - 15 answers

What's a good way to keep track of customer data?

After a crazy Kickstarter adventure, I suddenly find myself with ~65 products to create, 2000 customers to send them to, and loads of information (names, email addresses, shipping details, order selections, order fulfillment status, funds donated) from 4 different sources (Kickstarter surveys, Surveymonkey.com, paypal.com, private emails). I need some way to keep track of all of it, so that I can easily find and export information (Who ordered product X? Who ordered product Y and hasn't yet had that order fulfilled), easily change entries (Customer B: Can I switch from product X to Y?) and easily add entries (New customer C). What's my best bet?
posted by sdis on Jan 26, 2014 - 10 answers

What kind of Resource Management Tool would help my company?

I'm a Project Manager at a web company that makes websites, apps, etc. We are pretty small so any solution needs to be affordable and easy to use. There are so many project management tools out there and we have evaluated many. I have a short list of things I'm looking for which I'll outline inside but mainly there seems to be a lack of resource management at an hourly level. So, either that is too high level for the price/ease of the tools we are looking at, or people are managing that some other way. Data and management geeks, please help!! [more inside]
posted by amanda on Jan 24, 2014 - 8 answers

Managing large (9 ppl) software teams?

My manager is overwhelmed. I'm unhappy. He's asking for feedback from team. [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Jan 17, 2014 - 10 answers

Owner Presence At My Business

My bar / restaurant I opened is in its 2nd year of operation and it's running smoothly while turning a profit. Can I take a step back or should I continue to put in long days at the bar because that's what I'm supposed to do? [more inside]
posted by masters2010 on Jan 15, 2014 - 10 answers

Midlife crisis: Suggestions for a career path out of media?

I'm nearly 40 years old and by some measures, successful. I graduated from a top university and have been employed by major companies for nearly 20 years of my professional life. I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with my chosen career though, and I was hoping some of the wise minds here could give me some advice. Details follow. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 13, 2014 - 6 answers

Let's try this diplomatically....

What are your favorite pleasant but professional ways to say 'Don't take this to me. Take this problem to Jane Smith instead." [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Jan 3, 2014 - 23 answers

How do I hold people accountable in a fair and reasonable way?

Over the summer I was promoted to Art Director at my small company (15 people total). I've never been a director before, and so far things have been going really well, but I feel like I'm still on shaky ground when it comes to dealing with people when they've made mistakes. What are you supposed to do and say when someone screws up and you want them to be held accountable but you also want to treat them like the human being they are? [more inside]
posted by Hello Darling on Nov 29, 2013 - 17 answers

Short, brilliant books on management?

My software management roll is expanding, looking for those rare, insightful, better than average books on the subject. [more inside]
posted by colin_l on Nov 17, 2013 - 7 answers

Looking for project management software for complex operations

Our organization's complexity has outgrown our project management software several times. I'm looking for options to research as the next step above something like Basecamp or single desktop Microsoft Project installations. If you have experience with project management software for large teams please let me know your thoughts. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Oct 24, 2013 - 6 answers

pleuritic chest pain - really bad

Yes, I know you are not my doctor. Yes, I have been to see a doctor. To date, no diagnosis and no drugs prescribed, a lot of pain that shows no signs of going away. [more inside]
posted by puckish on Oct 24, 2013 - 17 answers

How to track business inventory location? Cloud based, no POS, iOS.

Trying to help a friend find a solution. They need a simplistic solution to tracking some office items. They have several demo kits (15) that their team uses. They need a way to see where each kit is at, without having to contact each employee that's out in the field to see who has what. [more inside]
posted by peripatew on Oct 21, 2013 - 4 answers

Jokes about charred bones: not exactly reassuring!

How should I deal with a co-worker who won't evacuate when a fire alarm sounds? I am particularly concerned because his mobility is limited. Added complication: he is my boss. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 17, 2013 - 37 answers

Why are we so bad at estimating our time?

I am looking for informed opinions and articles on why we are so bad at estimating our time on projects, specifically from an IT project management-perspective. [more inside]
posted by Tooty McTootsalot on Oct 11, 2013 - 16 answers

To get involved or not to get involved?

Our new project leader is making my staff miserable and threatening the professionalism and success of the project itself. Both project and staff are dear to my heart, as well as my professional identity. No one wants to make waves while on the project; I've recently transferred to a different project. Is there anything I can do? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 8, 2013 - 17 answers

Career Switch: Restaurant Management Edition

My SO has years and years of stellar restaurant management experience. How can he parlay this into a career outside of food service? [more inside]
posted by youandiandaflame on Oct 7, 2013 - 7 answers

Best software or websites to manage my small company

First of all, if there are better places on the internet where I should ask these types of questions about project and company management, please let me know. You guys are awesome, but I have plenty of other types of questions I'd like to ask in here, and, plus, I need to find the best source for answers to specific questions like this and fast. I need the proper technological solution for managing the flow of tasks and information of an entire company. The company is about 20 people in the office (half of them engineers) and about the same in the fab shop, so it's small. I am not the owner, but the oft-ignored second-in-command. See my other questions (here and here) for more details about my specific working situation. Right now, the company can only be described as chaotic. We have taken probably on probably too much work, people (especially me) aren't aware of what others are doing, collaboration takes place in inefficient bursts in the conference room, and the massive amount of information we generate per job and in the rest of the business is never easily found when needed. The owner causes a lot of these problems with his capricious style of running the business and tends to only add to the entropy, but I think that centralization of information and communication may save it before it's too late. I need the proper tool or tools to do this. I'll discuss where I am thus far, and we can go from there. [more inside]
posted by KinoAndHermes on Sep 29, 2013 - 7 answers

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