Saturday, 31 May 2008

A Warm welcome!

The visit of our Product Manager who I had been very closely working for around a year and a half was here in the office and believe me the long days were productive and the environment refreshing... I am sure the Team also had a good time interacting with her and lerning more about what we are doing and plan to do.... However a few surprising things really made me worry about what we call as a "Warm Welcome".... while we were giving warm welcome to our product Manager we realised that a warm welcome is needed elsewhere too... where?

Here is a situation.... I come to office early morning , I see 2 new faces running around the floor full with 140 developers and qa engineers looking for a cubicle number... I saw them loitering around and thought of checking with what they were upto... just to the surprise I come to know that they are looking for a cubicle that actually lies in the same zone where our Team sits.. and he is not a part of the Team that we work with.... I ask em which Project / Product / Team / Manager.. to the surprise they only know one Name ...... "Godamnm". Confused over their places and the development they ask me to help them find something for them and after a few emails with the superceed and Team I come to know that Yes there is a change in attitude needed in the way you welcome the New Member to the Team....

At my previous lovely workplace a few months ago we had unique ways to introduce Team members... I dont know if it was followed before I joined in or not... but at least we made sure that the entire Team was called up when the introduction happened... slowly it evolved where the new joinees got the introduction from our Team members in unique styles and with lot of fun activities and jokes.... this wasnt enough.. we made the new joinee have a good hearty laugh... just to ensure that he feels a part of the family on the day he joins the Team....

Now why is it important to have a warm welcome?

Do you think the forming and norming will work if the new member stays in the team for weeks before anyone knows that he is a part of the team?

Do you think a new member would love when he has to find and work with a person for the next 7 days as his buddy?I remembered that recently 2 completely different personalities were made buddies and they did not even like to see their faces ;)

Team building is a process not an activity.... and the process needs to be defined , more importantly followed...How would a new member of your team value you or your team if he is not integrated well?

So next time if Arun's and Abhishek's get losts there needs to be a process to rich them into the Team...

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Team Building, What does the leadership need?

It has always been a paing, Yes PAIN... building Team is not a easy task, you have to be calm, patient, understanding, shrewd, helping and above all energetic... Many times team building is not even considered when teams are formed. Mostly what I see in the Service sector of the IT world in India it appears like Teams are formed and collapsed.... The process that we call forming -> norming -> perform and out stand is nevertheless given importance.. as opposed a policy of HIRE and FIRE is applied.

As Building Team comes into discussion I always feel that you need a strong leadership that would apply various rules and methods to build a strong force as opposed to just a Team... Here are a few things that I see important in the Team Building process:

1. Goal Setting

Every Member of the Team needs to know what his goals are for the year / period / project / release or task. Goal less members cannot form a Team... I heard a story in my childhood when a Sailor asks a Bird about a destination... the bird just flies down the sky and says If I had known it I would have being resting and not running around in open sun and sea.... A Goal less Team member is a Headless chicken and cannot let the Team build. Specifying and measuring goals will help achieve fair degree of Team spirits as each one would know what they have to achieve and of course they are in line to organisational objectives....

2. Communicating
Its important that everyone knows how to communicate, they need to be made understand on how to communicate. There should be a fair degree of open culture where everyone is asked to openly talk... a few times I have realised that the quietest people are the smartest ones , however the ones that talk a lot get the paycheck .... Communication has to be fair and in a 360 degree angle... anyone should have access to anyone...

3. Inspiring
Inspire them to grow, Inspire them to think, Inspire them to innovate, Inspire them to critisize, Inspire them to do what they want to.... Yes Inspire them to fly... Its important that everyone in the team is inspired... un inspired mammals are like dead bodies... talk, Understand , Implement and Iterate this till they do what they want to do....

4. Do they Reflect it?
A healthy culture? A spirited soul ? A fresh mind? A killing attitude? Ask them what they have learnt every now and then and make them learn new things... Get them to a place where they start asking themselves on what I have learnt and am I on it or not... Not just this it is important that reflections are thrown to every part of the organisations.... think about Vipin talking about organisational values, think about Shankar loving everyone the Team member, think about people who had quit wanting to be a part of you again... isn't it all reflection? I learnt and I want to learn more....

5. You Suck!!!
Not many take criticism healthy... not many criticize healthy... this is the biggest team building killer... kill it. have sessions to criticize... I always wanted to arrange workshops where every week one person is going to be criticized.. let him /her know what wrong they have done for the whole week not from one person to have grudge or bad feel but from all anonymous masks where no one knows no one.

6. Where is my Mentor?
Let them find their mentors.. let them choose. They need to decide from whom they will learn and what.. its important that they understand and realise that there is a lot of mentoring available and each one of them are ready to mentor others... whoa did we just not plan to conquer the world?

7. Share / Earn / Laugh
Why go to a laughing school when you can sit with your team and make everyone laugh while you do the same... its important that the Team enjoys each others company.. let them laugh and laugh loud.. so that they feel the emotions and burn the frustrations... Laugh is a medicine to the success of Team building activities.. it begins with a laugh and that is what exists and persists...

8. He cannot do it SO CANT I?
Its important that you put yourself in the shoes of others and then talk... i remember Yogesh N once telling me that "I think it would have got delayed if anyone would have done it..." its not about someone not able to do it... its about can you think what he can think of...moreover can you stand for what he stood for? Why not discuss Rama here when he choose to say that even if I had worked on the upgrade to Hibernate I would have taken same or maybe more time.... its all about Team and the bonding... the more you understand each other the more you say that...

9. Commit to your mistakes
Let each one of us come out and commit what we do wrong.. what we can do better and what we intend to do.. there is nothing stronger than committing your mistakes and facing what is lying ahead of you... put the Team into the habit of being honest

10. Driving
Drive them to the best... Till they become the Ants or the Penguins they need to be driven.. Get every one drive everyone but in one force and flow... Its important that they are driven in the right directions... the more they go right the more they learn and earn...

11. Timing
Have you heard of a father who's son asked him how much he is paid every hour? And then he comes back and pays his father just to get time from him? Well your Team is like that... make sure that out of work you find time for them.. be with them when they think they need you. Make yourself available for what they need.. Make this a habit , make this as a passion... after all as a Manager you are not a Supervisor but a force...

12. Loving
Teach them how to love each other and stand by each other.. now this is not something you can do easily... When they love each other they love what they do..

Do you think you have some more to discuss? Why not share?

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

What keeps you Motivated?

A few posts from me on Motivations and Rewards and Rewards and some humor affecting motivations and then nothing after? Well yes the truth is that I am not motivated enough to write on motivations these days... the simple fact been that there has been lack of Intrinsic Motivation off lately...

Well that also made me think on what keeps me motivated? I feel everyone we work with is bonded by the fact that intrinsic motivations work... somewhere and somehow and such factors really affect the growth and downfall of talents... In reality the downfall is seasonal and the growth is continous, specially due to the fact that anyone who is not motivated (Or on a downfall) tends to switch to either another job or a role or open the disaster doors... and this leads them to the begining of the growth... isnt it?

Yes. I thought I would share with you on what I feel keeps me motivated.. and maybe it applies to you as well...

1. Challenged and Challenging Job: I think this is the biggest motivation to anyone... If you are not been challenged in a job you take it easy and when you take it easy it is no more helping you. I have seen highly productive engineers performing bad just becuase the challenges were not thrown at them... Now wonder why Deepesh , Amit , YN, Savio and Rhushi always need to be kept on their toes?

2. I need to be listened? Yes.. If you are not implementing what I say is still OK but at least listen to what I want to say? The de-motivation of anyone begins when we dont listen... Recently I went through a phase analaysis where one persons Ideas were rejected in and out analysed the reaction and it appeared that the moment this happened the person started to look for a change.. He was off for a few days attending interviews?

3. Where is my share? Everyone wants to be recognised, human nature. Its Managers duty to ensure that everyone doing better is recognised in an appropriate way. This recognition should also be linked to the Business results for instance: The 4 Quarter delivery we achieved is yielding us to a another bigger contract with the customer, This is due to the hard work from Rama, Yogesh , Deepesh, Savio , Rhushi , Nikita , Ani , Saket , Natwar and many more...

"Congratulations guys, Your efforts are getting us through a bigger more contract and this will definitely help us in achieving broader and bigger goals for the next few quarters"

4. Pay me peanuts?
This is a sensitive and a bigger part of Motivations, Top talent always wants to be paid appropriate. You pay to what they do and contribute. Usually top talent is over looked and this really causes frustration. The compensation is also linked by the talent to the goals they achieve... for example when Nikita last time told me that "My average appraisal mean that I will get a average compensation change" it showed that a person contributing value to the growth expects an at par growth for what they are making in terms of money.

5. Where do I go?
Uff... The Roadmap.. I need to advance... I want to grow.. I want to change the direction of myself and my organisation. I want to fire missiles from the bullets that my organisations has given me. All of this means that I need to see how I can grow with the people I work with and the organisation I am into. It is important that a timely and frequent review of growth options is discussed with top talent or to that matter every mammal that can be motivated.

6. Too much in the office - Too less in socials
Some balance should be maintained. Lot of hard work also means lot of frustrations and lot of road blocks. People who work hard , smart and effective also needs time to have a good social life... I have seen several people who leave the organisations when they are growing or are on a better growth path, just becuase after a few years they are frustrated becuase all of a suddent they realise that they did not have any social life for the time they were with the organisation. I feel that people who work long hours in office and on weekends will have a average 1-2 year relation with their organisation as opposed to people who balance their lives well who may stay for 4-5 yrs.

Now do you think its important to ask people not to work on weekends and also leave office early everyday?

7. Love each other
A healthy environment is required where team likes to work with each other. The fact that it is very important not only to have better Team compositions but to also have better understanding and chmistries between the Teams to deliver at peak. Team members that value and love each other.

Now can you tell me if there is anything more that keeps you motivated?

I am sure everyone of us wants to grow.. and

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

What can ruin your Project?

You definitely dont need to list down the elements that will ruin your projects, its simply because anything and everything can ruin your project. Considering the fact that usually it is been blamed on:

1. Technlogy
2. Bad Project Management
3. Poor communication

What do you think you will answer if this is asked?