Friday, January 22, 2010

Thrive and Jive

The best success and hallmark for a team is to thrive challenges and jive together at all times till the end of deliveries. Customers, oblivious to the way deliveries are made, can feel and attest to this fact in their testimonials. I found this profound truth in testimonials received for project deliveries across customers. In couple of them, customer testimonials had the static kind words for on-time deliveries while most of them as if by magic had phrases that defined our own experience. It made me wonder, how could the customer feel us at a distance. The internal project post mortem reveal the same emotions within every team member as well.

One of my favorite project manager (Vicki Boswell is her name) in my first company, once emailed me on a project post mortem that said something like: "Vasan, it is surprising how we have have felt about the project in same ways at different times." I was working from bangalore, while she was managing project from San Diego (I miss this place). I had mentioned the frustrating times, the enjoyable times, the lesson learned at different stages in project. The specifics differ from developer view and manager view. But the net enthusiasm was the same.

Many causes, affect this heart and mind frame of teams in both sides. Few instances when
  1. A project is dragged on for long, due to shift in commitments.
  2. When more than 3 solution options are considered and stay on for an extensive period of time.
  3. When feedback comes at a late stage that circles back the team few steps back.
  4. When "escalations" are used in bad sense of word.
  5. There is a lack of clarity on overall purpose or objective. In my first company the first question senior management ask any resource is "What is the order value of the project and what are you doing about it?" I find it a powerful thriving question to bring bond with business, project and bottom line.
  6. There is lack of a strong voice in the project from either side.
  7. There are no night outs and no fight outs. Every thing going on smooth makes me paranoid. We know something is failing when there is no noise from a running engine. Atleast a good "hum" is required to ensure that all is well.
  8. The project is allowed to drift to satisfaction of multiple people. Developers take their pick to work for day. Architects document functionalities to bring their "uniqueness" and stretch the limits of technology. This is no democracy. Drift hampers jiveness in team.
Thrive and Jive in teams tell you whether the team has a manager or a leader. Building a thrive and jive culture within project teams is project managers responsibility. I look forward to find managers who move away from timesheets, issue fixing, and status reporting to take center stage for building up thrive and jive spirit in deliveries thereby transforming themselves as leaders.

Top Agile Blogs