Thursday, 24 April 2008

A Manager's Commitment

Reading Tom's post on Manager's Commitment really throws light to the world of Accidental Managers. Many of us don't know if they are prepared to be Managers the only fact that People will report in to ME and/or I will have a better say/word in the Team or organisation makes them move towards it. These Managers usually grow on the other side of breed that I call Semi Task Oriented Self Centered Managers.... who don't know what the Team is about but instead want to get the work that was assigned to them correctly at any cost.

Accidental Task oriented Managers are good when it comes to deliveries, but not necessarily are the stars of the Project teams. They do or get their jobs done but while this is happening they don't care about the Team, People or even maybe the Quality side of it. This usually makes it difficult for the Team to run in a long run and you see problems arising every other day.

When the management throws a new Reportee to you I think it should be made as a point that you think:

1. Am I eligible to get this person report in to me?
So what if I am senior most, so what I am the only person in the Team,so what if I can do it better... its not the question of if I can.. its a question of If I should. Moreover you don't need reportees if you want to help make the project success.... The root of the cause needs to be digged here that if You get someone in your Team would you be able to help the person accelerate in his/her growth?

2. Do I have time to spend with ?
Uff... the usual trouble. Managers find it difficult to create or steal time for people. This time is not the time you spend in meetings with them or talk personal stuff with them... but its a combination of time spans that you spend with such Team member on helping his/her career plans, performance, growth and so many other things.

3. Do I add value to the person?
This is another part that most of us are ignorant about... and it includes me too... lot of times we cannot add value to a persons day to day life, career or long term plans... just due to the fact that we are more engrossed in our daily work and routines. For instance the biggest related part of our lives Motivation goes unheld when the manager cannot handle value add to the Team member.

4. is the Learning going to be Vice Versa?
I have seen managers who don't know what the Team wants to learn from him nor they know if they are learning anything from the Team.... pity but if you are getting a new member added to your Team ensure that you would note points that you need to learn and the member needs to learn from You. Remember the moment there is no or one sided learning the bonding breaks.

Finally its not about reporting or managing... its about creating a missile in your store which can be as good as you can be. The test will be not in JUST GETTING WORK DONE but in Getting work done by learning several thousand things.....

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The Atheist, The Agnostic and the Theist!!!

Well I don't go into the depths and definitions of the title... but when it comes to GOD some of these are always discussed... and while we work for the IT world of Software Services where Customer is the GOD... I thought I would bring the point on why the various splits in beliefs are done... For a simple reason the Atheist do not believe in God, The agnostic believe that it is impossible to know if God exists and the Theist believe in God completely.... Now when I get back to my normal work and routine I see our Customer to be as God, The process we follow as rituals, The delivery we made as prayers and finally the blessings as our Feedback... so whose the Atheist, Agnostic and the Theist amongst us?

Well as far as Project roles are concerned I find that the Techies are usually the atheists... for a simple reason you will hear a lot of times from them that THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE , IT CAN BE DONE BUT THE TECHNOLOGY IS A PROBLEM HERE and several other excuses no?

There is a group involved in the cycles called QA who are completely agnostic... they believe that they can make the God happy but dont know how, they know what they have to test but dont know how.. so many other things that really get them in this category....

The third is the Theist... which is the Project Manager and the group above him in form of Stake holders from the delivery side... who ONLY believes that Customer is GOD and we should make him happy...

O Wow what a definition of Project roles... now lets get to reality brothers... The Theists of the Projects are the Technies , the QA , the Project Managers and the Business Analysts or to that matter everyone involved in a project only if they believe that The GOD (Customer) can be made happy (delivered with quality and possibly in time) if the entire team believe in the daily rituals (processes defined for the project) and prayers (frequent communication channels) with the help of a priest (A Customer representative involved in every single part of the project), and this is not all... care been taken by every one that required offerings are made from time to time to the GOD (Offerings of Quality code, reviews, updates, re-plan , refactoring and technical rebinds) and the sins(Retrospectives) be accepted to make the life easier for everyone. Confessions(necessary updates be given to the client way in advance about the progress really made) be made and subsequent actions be taken....

Remember with God you cannot manage perception ;) and with Customer some point he will know the truth....

Anyways to me the Theists of the system are :

1. Those who believe yes it can be done
2. Those who believe that following and evolving processes will help them achieve it.
3. Those who believe that fooling anyone is not going to help but just been honest will ease the way
4. Those who believe that creativity will help the God progress in life
5. Those who believe that work done is what should be said as work done
6. Those who believe that Quality in work is going to make things better for future
7. Those who believe Technology will help solve problems, NOT create problems.
8. Those who believe that if you have focus even jingles and bangles cannot break your concentration
9. Those who believe the word impossible is just the beginning of making things possible.
10. Those who value principles and have principles to have values.

Do you think you are the Theists who can make GOD happy by actually delivering?

Monday, 14 April 2008

The KRAzzy effect

Yes... Another movie that was mis managed... I happened to by chance watch this Movie KRAZZY 4 that just got released over the weekend starring 4 of the silver comedian of the Bollywood eventually.. there was a big co-incidence in the words that made the movie name and words that would help me in the next year (if at all....) and the words sound pretty similar.... KRAZZY 4 I read it KRAZZY FOR.... KRA my Key Results Area are making me ZZZZZZYYYYY (Yes you are right making me zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).... and eventually the movie did the same thing to me...

For some reason I have always been sure that the moment you set goals for yourself you tend not to surpass them... however some PUNDITS say that if you dont have goals you cannot reach anywhere....but do setting the KRA's in a tool actually help you pass a goal? Well the answer is no at least to me for some reason... Though I believe that KRA's are as much important in a profession as important his salary is... how many of us vigilently and knowingly work towards our KRA?
No One?
Are you here still?

Yes the answer is people who move towards acheiving the KRA's are really working ONLY towards the KRA's do you think by any chance they will get to achieve something that is not the KRA? To give you an example.... One of my KRA as a Project Manager is Better communication... ufff its a Jargon isnt it? Communication with Client, Team, Management, Process, Tools blah blah .... Now if I simply focus on this do you think I can be innovative in managing the C of the communication? Well if your answer is NO then I have these reasons why I feel No too....

1. My Goal would be to have better communication not communicating better.
2. My goal would be to update clients not involve them
3. My goal would be to comminicate well with the Team... not let the Team communicate well within themselves..
4. My Objective would be to Stream line tools and modes of communication... not find better way of interacting..

The other side of the story is many of us today have KRA's related to our Appraisals and not really to our personal growth's... No? You wont find many whose KRA's are adding value to what they are outside office...debatable that many would disagree here, but thats the sheer truth.... My weakness is I am not managing my time effectively.. now if my KRA states that I need to effectively manage my time across Teams and Projects and Meetings how do you think it will help me grow personally? I dont agree that if I am managing my time well in the office I can manage my time everywhere else.... Logically it should happen .... but there is a big difference in should and Does... for example... if I effectively Manage my 9 hours in office and work for 9-5 do you think I can manage my time well everywhere? the answer is NO.... Managing time effectively will lead me to score negative on managing perceptions that I am a hard worker ;)... just kidding but isnt that the truth? and even if I am working 9-5 how do I beat the traffic? Ideally my KRA should be to manager Traffic well and then I can manage my time welll ;)

Anyways.... so its a week for me to set my goals and I am just going to play around with the KRA's starting tomorrow.... lets see what I come up with and will be good to discuss the KRA's I set for myself here so that you can add some spice to them...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Do your Team have a workspace?

Well! If you are a Team then you definitely have a workplace... but do you have a workspace? In the last few years of my career I have relaised the more productive and creative Team you have the more you need to facilitate the workspace... and this workspace is not necessarily the space they need to move around but also the space they need to be agile all together and utilise the best of their Ideas with the Team.

As an Agile Team We always feel the need for:

1. Projectors : Now what a silly thing to ask for... but Yes projector plays a major role as the Agile Team always want to come together and collectively find answers to the solutions and problems.

2. Whiteboards : A Board that displays the status, emotional progress, Team Ideas, backlogs and so many other things that should be taken care across the project or organisation lifecycle for any team member.

3. BullPen Sitting arrangements : A Sitting structure that allows everyone to freely access everyone in the Team. Visibility and reachability been a core Idea a bullpen structure allows the agile Teams to be real close. Lot of times I read the cubicles to be blockers as they dont let free movements for the Team.

4. Post its / Color pens and Markers : We usually fall short of it no? Postits around , color pen to mark legends and markers around can make life easier as you dont need pen and papers but instead can use the boards and markers to draw better Ideas and answer questions effectively.

5. Scrum Halls : Husssssshhh.. these are not the usual meeting rooms with a phone and projector and table and seats .... a scrum is like a open lobby where the Team can meet ... these halls come handy when you have to play agile games, manage scrums have interactive sessions and debates...

6. Cameras : Last I know in a Lifecycle module when Savio , Me and Rama had a long long conversation... along with the Team... we really had to call Ani to take a snap shot using his cell phone of the user board we made.... whoa it took 3 months for him to get the pic onto to a machine (honestly I was lazy)....

7. A Kickass Entertainer : Yes... every Team should have one entertainer who keep everyone on the toes... its not only Agile Team its any sort of Team.... I remember we had many in our Team.... one always was active all the time :) which made things easier for us .... Be it Shaik or Laxmana or Natwar or Saket... or Amit Jathar or Diptajeet.... if none are awake be it Savio or Samee....

Now would you PM mind going back and check out some space for your Teams?

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Get your UI right?

OK... A Software Engineer , A Web Developer , A Programmer... now what does each of these mean to you? Well each of the section treats software web projects differently.... e.g A Programmer thinks more about code and the standards than anything else in the application... A Software engineer talks about the architectures, performance and robustness of the application... A web developer talks about the components and frameworks and usability for the UI.... why the hell do we not get all in one?

If you are doing a web project or to that matter any IT project please ensure that you think about the
UI First
UI second
UI third

and then in priority bring the other aspects to work... specially becuase the client or end user will look at your UI first and this is how your web tool is going to make an impression on him.... now how many of you Managers, Programmers or developers think about the UI before anything? As a Project Manager here are the answers and problems I usually face:

a. I think we should first get the feature work or the code work correctly and then get the UI fine...

b. UI is just cosmetic , can be done anytime ;)

c. It wont matter if the client see the functionality fine ... UI is just a kiddie pool....

Luckily I got to work with a whole lot of guys like Veda and Rhushi who think that prototyping is the first step in moving towards making a project successful. Now its not about mockups.... its all about prototyping to generate a first cut UI to go into being Agile and create a Fantastic UI for the end user.....

Now if you think why my looks change every few weeks ..this is the answer!!!!!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

How to loose your Best Guy?

OK with reference to my earlier post on How to loose you best guy... My mentor has finally decided to go... It was his last day yesterday and one of the most vulnerable days of my life... Not closely working with a mentor is like not been with your family... and the respect I have for Kari as a mentor and as a friend cannot be just sentenced here....

on How to loose a guy like Kari from your team here are the tips:

1. Keep him away from work and people for long
2. Drive all his ideas into Trash
3. Do not let him do what he is Best at
4. Do let him do what he does not like
5. Help him loose his confidence by doing things that a Data Operator can do
6. Do not let him learn and earn experience from the bigger brains

follow a few or all of this and it wont take more than moments to loose such a Gem from your Team.