Bryant linked to this as well, but I thought it was interesting enough to mention.
Lots of techies give really lousy progress reports, and are basically hell on their managers for no good reason. This is particularly bad for sysadmin types, systems programmers, and other people who love math too much.
This is a pretty good article (if short) and has some good info, including:
Time management and getting organized
Balancing easy and hard work to get more consistent output
Good strategy for dealing with managers who need constant status
Good tips on making lack of information Someone Else’s Problem
Note: This is NOT a subtle hint for co-workers. I am quite satisfied with the status reports people give me (whether in the form of a weekly email or just entering data into the ticket system.) But what caught my interest was this:
[Regarding most managers needing regular status reports] BTW, this is one of the skills which makes admins really love a manager – this near-psychic ability to figure out what their staff are actually working on, even though their staff aren’t very communicative, which comes from lots of domain experience.
Now I have figured out why I like having a cube instead of an office – if I can hear bits of conversation then I can keep track of what people are doing, when they are busy or idle, etc. It is certainly not the only way to manage people but I think it has become part of my management style.