Ways to make your team better by making them feel safe

I’ll get right to the point: Teams work better when they feel safe. And this one-page PDF from the Re:work team at Google gives clear and actionable things you can do and think about that will help to make your team feel safe. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manager or a team-member; check them out.

Now, on to the waffle.

I’m fascinated by team dynamics – what makes them work (or not work), what makes a team excel, and ways in which I can improve, or actions I can take, to get the most out of myself and my colleagues. People are social animals – and I feel that’s often forgotten about in a business setting.

Recently, I stumbled upon Re:work, from Google. The site itself is a veritible trove of information for anyone wanting to improve themselves and their teams, but one of the most important things for me when it comes to fostering teamwork is to ensure that your team feels safe. that might sound “cute”, but if your team don’t feel safe, bad things happen, because thanks to biology, they don’t cooperate as well.

So I was super-chuffed when I found the Re:work site – and more so when I discovered this Actions for Psychological Safety PDF which gives clear and actionable things you can do (as a leader or as a team member) to help your team feel psychologically safe. I think it’s well worth checking out. I can already spot a number of things I could do more of.

I’d love to know what you do to help make your teams feel safe. Let me know in the comments 🙂

Read the source page: Fostering Psychological Safety

The Secret Citrix SysAdmins – My first Citrix blog post

Hoorah – a year in, and I’ve finally gotten around to writing something about what we do in the RTST team at Citrix.

If you’re curious about what we do, you can read it over on the official Citrix Blogs site: The Secret Citrix SysAdmins

Some loose thoughts after 9 months at Citrix

Firstly, where did those 9 months go? Wow.

Back in July 2016, I joined Citrix. Long overdue, I wanted to collect some loose thoughts, so here goes:

Being more Senior is still weird, but good

It is still an odd sensation going from being one of the most junior staff members of a team, to one of the most senior.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with is a feeling of contribution. In IT Ops, ticket jockeying provides a somewhat tangible reference for contribution. Not necessarily value, but it’s a measure of some sort. In my role at Citrix, I’ve tended to end up doing more research, reading, querying and “experience-based advising” than what I used to call “work”. I’m getting used to it, and we’ve made some great progress in maturing what we do, and how, but it’s still an odd sensation for me. I frequently have days where I feel like I did nothing.

One very nice thing about the change in team dynamics, is that it’s enabled me to achieve something I was sorely missing before: the ability to watch and attempt to help/mentor junior members of staff grow. I always knew this was something I wanted to do from my very first interactions with my manager at DisplayLink (hi Chris A!). Chris mentored me, helped me, and guided me through some personally tough times when I was young, and I always knew I wanted to pay that forward.

Team Interns

The team that I’m on hire year-long placement Interns every year. This programme is one of the reasons I joined. A testament to their experience with us, and the calibre of those Interns, is that many of them come to work for us once they finish University. This year’s Interns joined on the same day I did (4th July), and it’s been a pleasure to see how they’ve both grown into their roles, slightly specialised based on their strengths, and the contributions they’ve been able to make: actual tangible contributions to Citrix products and efforts. Not just cute side-projects. Well done Dan and Roddy.

On pivoting to Software Testing

I’m still not sure I feel like I can describe myself as a Software Tester. I have a lot to learn, still. Only this week did I learn about GDP

I once described what we do in the team as “Sysadmins who happen to do a bit of Software Testing” because, primarily, the team manages an entire internal Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop environment running pre-release builds, with new deployments every two weeks. A start-up sized IT department that regularly deploys pre-release code. That in itself is a feat. What’s been fascinating for me, is that when something does break and we need to report bugs to Dev, it’s basically the same process as troubleshooting an IT Operations issue. Transferable skills for the win! 🙂

Citrix genuinely cares

I’d heard about the Citrix culture before; but I’ve now experienced it in depth. The company is unique. Citrix genuinely cares about its staff and their well-being. It also cares about charity, community, diversity and progressive values. Some companies say the right things, and put out fluffy press releases, but Citrix actually lives and breathes this stuff. It might not make a difference to some, but to me it’s very important.

That’s it from me. Hopefully my next proper blog post will be sooner than 9 months 🙂

Getting the Bosch Accelerometer to work on Chuwi Hi 8 Windows 10 Anniversary Edition

The short version

If you get the error “Device cannot start” on your Bosch Accelerometer in Device Manager on a Chuwi Hi 8 after installing Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, try this:

  1. Get the 32-bit Hi 8 Pro and Vi 8 Pro drivers. Look for the text “Chuwi Hi8 Pro Dualboot driver_32bit download”
  2. Install the driver in the ??-gravity folder
  3. Double-check that the driver didn’t get a “cannot start” error
  4. Reboot

This device may also be known as:

  • ACPI\VEN_BOSC&DEV_0200
  • ACPI\BOSC0200
  • BMA2x2

The longer version

AKA, how to fix the rotation and orientation feature in Windows 10 Anniversary Edition on Chuwi Hi 8.

I recently wiped my Chuwi Hi 8 tablet so that I could install Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. AE won’t install via Windows Update, because it requires more disk space than is available on a dual-boot Chuwi Hi 8.

After grabbing the Drivers from the official source and installing them, I had one “Unknown Device” in Device Manager with the Hardware ID BOSC0200. Eventually I managed to force install the G-SENSOR driver provided by Chuwi from the link above, but the device would never start, meaning the auto-rotation feature would never work.

This means that the Rotation/Orientation feature of Windows 10 won’t work. Your tablet will be stuck in Portrait mode unless you manually rotate it in the Settings > Display.

After a few days and many hours of trying to source a driver that would work, I finally discovered that if you download the Hi8 Pro model’s drivers labelled Driver: Chuwi Hi8 Pro Dualboot driver_32bit download” from here, and install the driver that’s inside the folder ??-gravity” – it works!

chuwi-bosch-fix

Impressions from my first week at Citrix

On Monday this week, I joined the Interoperability team at Citrix, based in Cambridge. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on my first week here, and talk generally about what I’ve witnessed.

When I join a company, I try to understand what they do, how they view themselves, and what they want to do. That then arms me with the ability to make decisions about where to focus my energies and my time, with the aim of helping the business.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve seen in just 5 short days:

Citrix has vision.

I have to admit, before Citrix and I started talking, I wasn’t overly aware of the extent of their full product suite, and what their overall vision was. It seems like they didn’t, either. Until recently. The new CEO, Kirill Tatarinov has done a good job at sharing what his vision is for Citrix and, by extension, what we need to achieve as Citrites*.

That vision is very clearly (to me, at least) to enable Apps to be hosted anywhere, and delivered anywhere to any device.

I can’t share Kirill’s internal strategy document, but here’s some useful resources:

  1. This 2-minute “What does Citrix do?” video is a good start.
  2. CTO Christian Reilly‘s 4-minute vision around Apps delivery is here: The Application Delivery Continuum.
  3. If you have the time, it’s worth checking out Kirill’s Synergy 2016 Keynote.
  4. An extended version of the Application Delivery Continuum with other CTOs at Synergy is here:  Citrix CTO Perspective: The Application Delivery Continuum. It covers cool stuff in Netscaler and Octoblu.

*Citrites is what employees are called at Citrix. Cute, huh? :))

Customers really matter.

Everywhere I walk, on almost every wall, there are metrics, case studies, and surveys that focus on customers. Everything I’ve read, has the customer in mind and aims to improve what Citrix are offering to their customers.

Self-improvement matters, too.

One of my favourite finds from wandering the halls, was a series of posters dedicated to showing how the Engineering teams have dramatically improved a particular product’s quality by acknowledging there was a problem, analysing what was going wrong, taking steps to fix those root causes, and completing the feedback loop to make sure the steps being taken are having a positive effect. There’s also no shame in failing, and always a desire to see if things can be done better next time.

Another self-improvement anecdote: The Interop team take on year-long Interns around this time every year. As part of this intake, Interns have to stand up an entire Citrix stack of products and get them working. This isn’t just a learning exercise – it’s viewed as a chance for “outsiders” to provide product feedback from a fresh pair of eyes, untainted by knowledge of a product’s idiosyncrasies and known workarounds gained from years of experience. All with the aim of improving the product.

Culture.

I’ll touch on this more fully another time, because this post is already a bit too long. One thing I did know before I joined Citrix, was its culture: famed for excellent work/life balance through flexible working. One thing I did note during the standard “onboarding” meeting, was that the cultural tenets were reinforced many times, and a key theme was that we succeed by cooperating and collaborating. Two things that I firmly believe in.

So, what am I doing?

Well, I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing yet. I’ve only been here a week! 🙂 What I do know, is that I’m keen to help the Interop team help the whole of the Citrix team to make some great products that customer’s love. As I said when I announced I was joining Citrix, I’m super happy to be involved more closely with an actual product, rather than purely supporting those working on a product.

I’ll try to do some more blog posts as I delve deeper into life as a Citrite 🙂