Sunday, May 31, 2009

Never enough time to get it right - the first time

I found this quote as a gmail custom message put up by my colleague. In her own words, it is "inspired by reality".

" Why do we always have time for rework… but never enough to get it right the first time?"- Richa

As said in one of my earlier post, focus, discipline and course correction are the key execution attributes. Where does it go wrong then ?

When ever, a deadline is set, all team members race to the finish line. There is no one left in the pit stop to
  1. check,
  2. prevent,
  3. advice,
  4. correct and
  5. fine tune the system according to circumstances and senses.
When the discipline to stick to stated efforts and schedule is missed, the focus gets lost from "quality" to "just get it out" model, which then leads to multiple rounds of iteration.

Had only some one stopped at pitstop and course corrected the entire execution...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Paradox that Collaboration is still an Issue

Paradoxically, in this age of twitter, blog, wiki, portals:
1. email usage has not come down. People still send attachments when they can upload and share a link.
2. Top management still address cross-team dysfunctions due to lack of information flow between groups.
3. Information and knowledge hoarding is still prevalent and is considered a strategy for safe employment.
4. Employees still rely on newspaper and finance portal to get "breaking news" stories of their own company.
5. Innovations, rewards are at group/division level improvements and not at company level.
6. Training sessions are still around, when a team of trainers could put together a You-Tube learning program for users in a span of hours. "Best of" series is never commissioned in organizations.
7. Presentations still have text text text. Why not publish a book, instead ?
8. When you can get slick and multi sensory medium to tell stories, why still stick of PPT and Word or their open office equivalent?

hmm. Be serious to look at platforms and distributed communication solutions for a revived organization.

Open all doors. Do not be Translucent in the name of transparency.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Perfect picture moment

I was just checking my children photos. Out of 10 clicks, one photo had me glued taking me to the moment of the picture. The only realization of present was the wetness in my eyes not letting me gaze longer that I long for that very perfect picture moment

Why so!. Why not the remaining 9 ?

The answer was available when we met one of our customers steering committee. True, this project and customer has made me "unlearn" me many heuristics that is for better.

The project was to convert their SOP to e-Learning training manuals. Now, there was just one topic, which is conceptual in nature. The customer wanted it to be treated differently. We tuned to the ways of standardization and reusability, got the delivery which had the meaning explained well. There was a silent acceptance with indications that more was expected for this topic, yet the direction remained unclear.

Knowing that we need to stop, rewind, revert back to creativity for this module, back in drawing board, we talked, iterated, scrapped ideas, and came up with what is an acceptable profitable proposition for both in form of a complete story. The end result was demonstrated in the steering committee, with personal accolades coming our way.

There, 3 of us were standing, staring at the gamble thinking what went right, while receiving compliments, with an all time high in customer satisfaction.

The perfect picture moment, was when the COO congratulated us with a firm hand shake and trade mark briskness with a smile.

Personal or Professional, strive for that perfect picture moment which freezes you in time. It should make you realize the loneliness of the present, and wanting the moment etched in memories back.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Best Marketing Program

When I joined one of my ex-employers in year 2002, after a few months of getting hang of things, we realised the need for strong marketing and sales pitch.

Apart from usual brochures, collaterals, capability documents, case studies, the realization was that these are usual stuff, that everyone have stopped the distinction to master them.

In a small team of just 8-9 people, 4 of us took the task of creating a showcase project and a extranet website. The results were amazing. Within 2 months, we had both the deliverables, which to this day, remain our pride.

In the current organization, the same rally could not happen for quite some time. We realized the need, but went about in different directions. The channelization was frittered with so many twists and turns that we dropped the ball many times. As a leader, I might take the accountability, but each one responsible in the team, also played their part.

Fast Forward to this month - May 2009. A small, focused team joined a internal initiative group. One of the "actioners" is from my group. She spread the "viral" to 2 more enthusiastic participants. They came up with an idea and it was executed by a team (majority of team members from my team) in less than one month. Further more, the sustenance model, envisaged is amazing.

So what did this team do ?
Well, they turned to the age old, effervescent communication model: Story Telling.

The Medium: Screen Savers.

Sustenance Model: Create sequel to the stories.

Imagine this: Every time your computer snoozes, this screen saver comes up. I might not see it in my machine, but I could get to see it in other machines. In people, who are not disciplined to shut off their monitors, this is a good excuse.

In just a month, every idle screen in the global company showcases the story, execution created by my team.

Isn't this the best marketing stunt ?

Perfection paralysis

“Perfection paralysis” is expensive. More than cost, it is time and opportunity, that once missed never present themselves again.

Sometimes it is not worth the effort to make things “perfect.” Take a look at time costs involved and weigh these against the benefit of perfection. Always, second best in operation is better than first best on the drawing board.

How much ever I have said, this is one point, that I have not been able to convince my team. May be, I never had a story to drive my point on this one.

We have been eternally working on the perfect communication logo, perfect out-of-world site, perfect phrases in communication, that is still iterated, scrapped and reinvented.

Today, after much coaxing, we have launched our work in progress site to a focus group. It is now nowhere near the perfection aimed at start. However, I sense the pride that at-last, the team has broke its shell and courageous enough to test with what is considered v1.0.

Lofty ideals, need hardships, practice and courage to achieve their eternal perfect state. Sensing hardships and trying to workaround practice and courage, never gets you out of paralysis stage.

You have something to share and sooner you get to the market is the best survival tactic.

Top Agile Blogs