Monday, 30 November 2009

Bigg Boss / Big Brother and us?

They really change the TRP ratings when they run on the prime time, people make several thousand hits over web to know whats going on in this reality show. Everyone is crazy to know what is going on in the house. I reach home from office and watch the repeat telecast of the show.. and I know a lot many others too.... So what is in the house that I like about ? We like about? For may of us I believe it is just the curiosity to peep into others lives... but there is another factor that we knowingly and unknowingly execute... we Observe.. We observe the people that we see over those hidden cameras... we evaluate their characters.. and then we conclude on who is good or bad and who is the winner.

Yes the show is all about Observance.. we watch , they do things... we watch , we analyse... the only issue here been that we observe others and do nothing for them.. except if we vote for them. So what does this show teach you? Nothing? You sure? forget about the bitchy remarks , violent and abusive language... it can teach you a lot.. by one mere thing... Observance...

I recently got to interact with one of the contestants of the Bigg Boss (Indian version of Big Brother) the person said that after he was evicted from the house and he watched the versions of the show where he was a part of it... he felt sad about himself... a chat statement that said

"I could not believe it was me... it was a sicko there, a complete a**hole using my name , face and sleeping with my reputation with every single action"

So what made him say this? Observance...He observed himself and he got exactly what he has being looking for....Observing one self is an art.. many of us posses it... just that we dont use the skill effectively... we dont realise that we posses it... sometimes we dont even know what we should observe and get what out of it... Ideally there are 2 types of observers in us ... we ignore 1 ridiculously and dont care about the what are these observers like?

1. Intrinsic Observer : This is an observer that keeps a tarck of what we do inside our brains and heart... Have you noticed a voice telling you that you are lying your Management about the figures you are showing in the presentation and that you are ridiculously falling behind? its the Internal observer that tells you that beware .. the road ahead is bumpy....

Intrinsic Observation is also when you do something and there are lot of thoughts behind it.... you revisit what you have done... and conclude what you should be doing next time... The internal observer is the most powerful observer... it keeps on recommending us.. but we shose to ignore it completely.... simply so we can do what we want to do.

Extrinsic Observer : The Observer within you that watches the externals of you, what you do, how you do, how clean you keep your desk, Project Plan, Work sheet etc etc... The moment we start observing ourselves and the external factors associated we derive a lot of things that we would want to change... instance the external observer tells me that we lost the last client only because we chose not to have a flashy presentation and outlook. next time you improve... or you realise that the Team follows you in keeping their desks clean... you improve.. they do.

Undoubtedly if any of the observer within you awakens.. and makes you think of the change... you are good to learn from mistakes... the moment you choose not to listen to them... you are beating yourself to death.. and yes with a nail driven whip...

So what do you do now? Listen to your Observer... he is saying something... Lets listen what it has to say...

Are you burnt out?

We ask this question... a few hours, days moment before we make a request to our Boss for a week long vacation or just when you think that its being a full quarter and you haven't taken your holidays .... I have read and seen a lot of guys saying , talking , writing this... We are burnt out and need a break from routine... I too sometimes. But I never found out what this burnt out means... Honestly never.. when you are not very productive at work is burnt out? Or You had too many tasks in the last few months and now you dont means burnt out? or you just achieved what you were supposed to and now you are burnt out?

Well I dont know when, this part called Stress I believe is an offer made in your appointment letter.. which you have gladly accepted in return of a huge salary... then why dont we say that I have had enough for the last few months.. I need a break from the huge pay... well kidding...Everyone @work gets stressed, sometimes due to overload and sometimes due to under load... but Stress exists... the moment this element called stress enters your work world you feel stressed... Fully Stressed...

Now Are you stressed too? Maybe , Maybe Yes, Maybe No... Yes and / or No... I cant get any answer not in the list above... I am dammn sure about it.. But do you know if a week long vacation is the answer to your burnt out Status? I doubt.. the week long break can get you out of routines .. but can it get you out of burnt out status? really NO.. Honestly Not... its a psychological effect that some people think that since they have taken a break they are out... I thought I would list down.. when to call that you are burnt out... how to handle the burnt out status without going away from work , and Finally how to come out of it... I purely write this based on my experience... not to mention that in the past 4-5 yrs, I have never felt that I can be relieved with a 1 week break after I was burnt out.

How do you know you have burnt out?

1. You wake up , first thought.... Dammit Office
2. You get up , brush , freshen up... you think.... Can I just stay home? can I call off sick?
3. You work for 1 hr into office and you feel thats the end of the day.
4. You are rude , less talking with your collegues.
5. You prefer writing a email and letting someone else follow up.
6. You just sit i front of your computer... last and first thing you think of during the day is Coffee...
7. You do your job, but you know that you are not doing it right.
8. You try to runaway from what you have being doing.
9. You hate attending meetings.. because you think its a waste of time.
10. You forget to check your personal emails until end of the day...
11. On your way home you realise that your wife asked some groceries.
12. You forget its your friends Birthday / Get together / Meetup .. is spite of reminders until an hour ago...

What to do to not get Stressed in the Burnt out status

1. Start your day with yourself.
2. Music .. some soft one.
3. Do not think of your tasks until you reach office...
4. Call your old friend on your way to office.
5. Login to your desktop.. and open a social networking site... see what friends have to say about you.
6. Put a funny one liner ticker on your homepage...
7. Every 30 minutes.. just go out and check the weather... even if it rains or its burning sun.
8. Speak to your desk buddy... ask him about what he did last evening.
9. Out of your last few weeks of work.. bring up a task that you have being not doing.. completing it will give you pleasure of not being stressed.
10. Think of ways that relax you.. Movies , Books , games , puzzles, riddles.. play them online or offline..
11. Never read "How to reduce Stress"
12. Do you have more to add here?

You really sure you want to get off it now?... Ok So hold on...wait for the next post to come... we discuss... how to handle the burnt out status and come out of it with ease...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Enterocial need!!! Can we get Enterprises Ready?

So much of hype of Social Media, so much to speak about it.. but with the world turning its heads on Social Media, Social search , Social culture... are the enterprises ready to adapt any of the good that Social Media brings in? Well I am not sure how much of it will be debated or how much will be agreed... but the challenges in running big enterprises lets you think on the best ways to improve enterprises and interaction in enterprises.... and Social buzz can be of good help there...

Think about a few challenges that enterprises face, everyday...

1. Communication : Departments like Human Resources, Administration needs to co-ordinate with the employees on a daily basis, on a mass basis... every time , every other day... not only they have to depend on certain tradtional modes of communication but also on the speed that is not so very promising...Imagine HR department want to call for a fire drill emergency update? Or think of a memo to not let people smoke out of the building? Today everyone in big organizations definitely uses Mobile phones... lot of them web enabled too.... why not have a tool (not just micro blogging) like a corporate twitter or yammer to let that happen at ease...

2. Information Share : They build huge share point portals... they put processes, documents everything on that portal... they enforce everyone in the company to have the portal as a default homepage... they block general internet to make people forcibly use it...imagine a automated chat robot that works with the enterprise intranet again... ask a question and get an answer... from within the team, from the automated robot... yes an enterprise aardvark...

3. Sales , Business Development and prospect networks : There are several business units, each business unit has its own set of contacts , prospects and well wishers... however there is no way for a Business Development Manager who joined a year ago to know who are our contacts in the last 10 years since the organisation is running.... A Linked in? An internal linked in that doesnt just create profiles of your sales team but the list of your own prospects.. with references that can link to future business development. Enhance the Enterprise linked in to a step further and add cross department, cross domain feather lists...

4. Business Processes?
Each department has its own process, due to domain or work ... Enterprises always worry about getting in sync, however mergers , acquisitions don't let them do that.... now imagine having one tool that can let each unit define its own Business process yet have it integrated in a tool... A Google process manager?

But imagine all of this getting into one tool or a set of integrated tools that can help enterprises adapt social buzz in a way... Are they ready.. No... can they be prepared for it? Yes...

I would call this concept as Enterocial i.e. Enterprise + Social .. and thats what can make our lives easier.... what do you think?

Monday, 23 November 2009

What did you miss?

I got a call from a friend 15 minutes before I had to decide on writing this post... The conversation very short and simple, effect very long and lasting... To give a bit of a background my friend is leading a team of 50 Engineers, analysts, QA and Business Managers, A year ago while we were busy building our Team, he too had started to set a direction to his...

We had almost 8-9 chats on cultures and spirits and the values, bonding and emotions they friend today reckoned a statement we discussed...

"Build Teams, Don't form them"

He said he thinks using experts he just organized them and formed them to a working model... now that its a running vehicle, the moment one part mis works the vehicle stops.....So forming and Building what to choose? You may ask what difference it makes... I would say a huge..... in one of my previous posts last year.. Team Building , What does leadership need? I wrote a few points that were essential... today I speak about the steps that you may miss in Building Teams and some way chose to form them with issues that can kill in long run...

1. Culture
Usually building the teams we forget this point... Culture... We bring the best minds, attitudes , people ... do we bring a unique culture? well the answer is no... Leaders have to decide on what culture they want to have.... Do you want to be challenged? Do you want to have a flat scheme where people can ask each other questions that can lead to improvement of processes and profits? We usually assume that Best people can build Best cultures.. I think I reverse it... best cultures help build best peoples... If you dont have a culture , in spite of having a great set of individuals you may not have a great Team, or in spite of having a great Team you may end up not having a great organization...

2. Chose Diamond, Chose Gold , Chose Stone
Aint we the same people who Interview the people and decide whether they fit the job roles or not? In one of the previous posts a couple of years ago I wrote.. How to chose the right guy
eventually I also meant that lets hire those who just not fit the role, but beyond. We choose people, we dont choose Team members... If you go by Technical capabilities you need in your team, you may end up hiring a geek who stinks, doesnt speak to anyone but the screen and returns a scare for a smile... So its you who has to decide if you want a diamond that can work hard, Gold that can be sold well or a Stone that may not be as hard as a diamond, not as presentable as a stone, but can build a Great Wall of Chine when set with others as a group or Team and can compliment them too at the same time...

3. Empower them
We usually end up only coaching and coaxing our Team, we end up telling them what to do and how, they do that and they continue to do that... in process what they learn? forget if you are not looking them to learn anything... what do they teach you? Nothing????? What do they do when you are not around? How do they react when they are in a disastrous situation? We miss empowering our Teams in our attempt to build teams.

4. Trust them, Treat them
We either trust them too much or nothing... a Mantra for a successful Team is the amount of trust you put on them.... If a developer says 10 days for an effort, how many times do you ask him to justify it? If your developer is stuck in something bad, how many times you tell him that somebody else could have resolved this issue in 5 mins... Knowingly unknowingly we do this... often and more often....Trust Team , Trust them...

5. Throw them in the Sea and float them on a luke warm tub
Bring them into action in disastrous situation and let them work on best things otherwise, throw them into sucker bugs and throw them into challenges... try out all situations with them so they have a perspective of Team, Culture, Situation, Customer and Organizational goals...

Did you miss any of these while building your Team? If yes work on it now... its never late because you always have great people who work with you and they are learners....

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Build fast, Break fast

There is nothing in this world called quick solution. If something is going to be built quick , it is going to break quick. Our experience in building good quality softwares is a good example for this... I remember first time our interaction with our then Product Manager Karin.... we discussed on a feature where the estimate given by a developer to add a new feature was given to be a couple of weeks... a similar feature done earlier in couple of days...

Big Question come to the minds of Product Owners , Project Managers and even Developers when certain thing is going to take time... but the fact is that what takes time, comes with a certain level of quality... and we have to go by the fact that something built quickly can not necessarily be the best...

On our current project we faced a scenario where the framework we use gives a quick support on building JSON components...some engineers chose to go with it easy to use , easy to build.. quick to use and quick to build.. today I took time to read through the code base and that is what makes me write this today....

We in our past projects used JSON.. the only reason that the tool was supposed to be built and delivered quickly... we used it , it worked well initially.. the moment we started using it with our actual projects it started failing badly.. eccentric characters, complex data structures, variable hierarchy more predominantly the debug and maintainability headaches...for something that we delivered in 1 month took 4 months to fix in phases...

As Project Managers... we expect our teams to develop and deliver quickly... but is that worth? Is it what you are looking at in long and short term of your roadmap? the answer is and should be NO....So next time when your developer comes to you as says that he can build something very quick for you, or your estimate says that something is going to be built very quickly answer these questions....

1. What is the proportion of Build vs Maintenance
2. Can anyone in your team build the same thing that quickly?
3. Have you seen the design and are you Happy about it?
4. if your competitor says that same thing what would be your arguments to it?
5. Can it be maintained and / or rewritten that quickly?
6. Does the work reveal good quality? or just fast work?
7. Can the developer who built it stand up and say that its one of the best maintainable code?
8. Did you choose to do it because its easy to do?
9. Did you do it because there was no other better way to do it?
10. Did you think of other best practices that lay there?

So many more... but you begin with these.... As a developer however you have other more things to think...

1. Can I fix all bugs in it if it comes to me in future, as quickly as I built it?
2. Can I revert, upgrade , roll back and commit the fixes as confidently as I built it?
3. Can the weakest developer in your Team handle the bug fixes?
4. Is it quick because its a technology benefit or it is because its a way you have done it?
5. If you are out of the project mid way , can your counterpart do the same thing with same effort and have the same feeling about it as you?

Answer it.. and you may choose to do the same or other wise.....

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Lessons from the Recent Deadlock issues

I usually don't do this over this blog... on my private blog diary however I maintain my own lessons but thought it has become very critical and worth a share. The recent deadlock issues really really tested my patience... it started on 30th October and finally seems to have ended today. But before I loose track of what and how we did, what we should take care.. here are my lessons from the issue :

1. A bug should be treated as immutable - It should be removed or created never fixed.
Every time a bug is created in an application it causes a lot of issues. People say we fixed the bugs.. the truth is every time a bug is said to be fixed, there is either another created or the same one removed. Don't ever think of a fix actually fixing the actual problem.

2. List down the problems , don't fix them yet
We usually mistake by finding one problem and starting to fix it. A better approach is to generate a huge list of problems in 3 orders:
1. Actual Problems
2. Potential Problems
3. Past problems in the same area

Prioritize it with 3 different sets of people... QA, Dev and Project management.. generate a list and then start working on them. In the meantime you may get requests to hit each of these areas adhoc.. Do not move around, unless you have convincing inputs. Fix one and make sure the fix doesn't break anything else.

3. Pick up the one that you think is obvious and get deeper to the non obvious
When you start the investigation on tricky issues, you end up investigating or looking for problems.. more usual answer to bigger problems are very small fixes.. I remember one of the alerting issues we had in the past had a typo and 2 years 3 hard core developers could not get the fix working.
When you step into a problem area make sure you cover the linked non obvious area.. there maybe something very silly in there...

4. Never bring only experts on the issue
Experts tend to focus only on technical directions, many times experts have a rigid view of how things work and they dont want to move away from it and find problems... 3 times during this deadlock issue we found that non experts came very handy:
1st When they traced that downloads block.. by accident or by luck and by hawk eye
2nd When they found that uploads take time when done in parallel
3rd when somebody not even on the system gave an idea to look at areas that are used in conjunction and have less of a link
All 3 times we found good traces and inputs to move further and find out whats on.

5. Analyse, List , Analyse , Detail , Analyze , Fix , Analyze , Test, Analyze, Analyze the Analyzed
Follow it hard... anything you do , just analyze and re analyze.

6. Trust your Findings, Analysis, Team , Fix , Test and Release
Trust whatever you do. Stand by it. Make sure it succeeds.

7. Nothing can be found and fixed in 1 go
It can never be, make sure you find , remove and keep finding.

8. There is never an end to a problem.
It will come back. Very soon. Be prepared.

9. don't loose track of what you have done.
List them out. put it as a checklist and then tick them on and off. Revisit them.

10. Wiki your approach and the tools, technology you used to fix it
Document your approach.

11. Spend hours and hours on looking at whats going on, minutes looking at exact problem area
May help you give more ideas on where to look at the exact problems.

12. leverage the dependency factors, Isolate what is not common
Add up flexibility to your analysis

13. Make a Team to look at the issue not individuals.
Individuals focus on certain areas based on there likings and feelings. Bring a Team that can drive discussions to move in the right areas. Add Team that can value in discussions..

14. Group to find it, Individualize to analyze, Pair to fix, Group to Test
Bring groups to find the issues, helps when different people, Individuals to analyse them , brings developers to pair and fix them as they can be more effective.

15. Revisit what is done earlier
Go back and see what has being done so far and what has being done in the past.

16. Track everything you do to resolve
Keep it in a way you can refer to it later.

17. Buy a Lunch to those who fixed it
Finally !!!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Technology , Outages , Bugs and Us

No matter what you do... there is nothing called as full automation...
One manual error and you are gone for life.... Over the last few weeks
some good effort from the Team we have successfully being able to get
rid of the eclipse to our code... Yes we got rid of conflicting ORM
technologies in our code, upgraded and migrated our self to the best
one that works...

However its not easy... technology is predictive and so are the bugs
it holds, in 2 spells we have had severe troubles. Locks , Lock
contentions , Dead locks... pulling of people from critical tasks to
let our customers use our systems, Sleepless nights debugging the
locks and the SQL behind them, debugging the code , 1 , 2, 3 several
times... , Seeking experts every now and then..

I am sure you face this, If you are a technology team every now and
then. We learn our lessons and we become more effective , more
precautionary...But is it enough?

Well No... you need to bring Caution and Precaution in the Team. Bring
a Pessimistic QA and an optimistic developer in your tasks and maybe
it will work.. Here are few things that can take you at ease when you
are in such situations...

1. Bring a Policeman in your Team, He should not be the tech Lead, Not
the Architect.. he should be one who knows a bit of technology and
asks you why a certain line of code is checked in.

2. When in troubles take Baby steps... You can change the whole world
in one day and You can change yourself to match the world in a day...
Dont try to do either.. slow down.. take step 1 watch , step 2 wait ,
step 3 snooze and step 4 wake up...

3. Relax... just hard work is not enough , you have to be creative in
finding problems

4. Do not listen to your Sales Team nor your developers.... Both go to
extremes... One wants to do everything with Technology and immediately
the other wants everything immediately...both hurt in problem

5. Bring a Semi expert , Non Expert and one expert in a loop and see whats on

6. List down areas , check them out to find the issue...

while I write this I think about it... Am I going to go tomorrow and
follow this the next time we have trouble?

Hell Yes

Monday, 9 November 2009

Few ways to identify a Commited collegue

  • You have never see him out of office
  • The places he is most found is the work desk , meeting room , coffee macine
  • When he speaks about the project, he is at top of his voice
  • He is on every forum and community related to the domain you work on
  • When he is done he would sit at other desk and watch what they do, help them
  • The first and last email you get at work is from him
  • He is there in sun , rains and winter
  • You think you can sleep well because he is there to handle any emergencies
  • You get a chat message or an email in the middle of the night on how you can do something better

What else can you think of? I will add more when I get some sleep for this week.... I plan to sleep 15 hours this week ;)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Path to Organizational Success - Be Demanding?

Everyone of us is demanding, very demanding... we want good salaries, we want regular promotions, we want everything that someone can offer and someone cant... We crib for what cannot be offered more than what we get already... in other words we are too demanding.. I am sure when the Managers discuss this they discuss the same... Eventually I think its not too bad to be Too Demanding... But it would be worth for an organization if you change the perspective...

Demand from Yourself than demanding from Others....

I spent my weekend running through the TED India Live streams on a vulnerable Internet connection that kept dropping... one of the speakers Nandan Nilekani spoke about India's future in this TED India event... I link it to the demanding paradigm.... if we have to see the future of India to be great in the future tech world, we need to be Tooo Demanding... Yes too demanding with ourselves.... Too demanding for every thing.. and it doesn't apply to Organization it applies to individuals who are in place as leaders , managers and also Team players...

Imagine working on a new product where the Management expects a product out in the least time... Yes the Management is already too demanding... Project Teams in such cases start to fail, sometime they sustain other times they too become Too Demanding but for reasons that fall on the other side... Both Teams and Management have a good goal in mind... but the expectation is a killer here... If we have to help in this case what will happen if the Project Team becomes too demanding with itself not just in developing a product in time but also a product that can change lives of everyone involved?

To make the future of our company, our nation.. we have to be Too Demanding, but for:

1. Innovating - Demand to much of Innovation from yourself

The key to success of any Team is the amount of Innovation the Team brings into the Project and the organization. Innovation here really means on how you see a Value Proposition through an idea that can change the lives of your users in the best possible way and in turn change the lives of your sales Team?

Imagine in the era of Photo sharing when some guys innovated Video sharing ... what we see in the MeMe (Me Media as Aaron Cohen always called it) has reached enormous journey already...So get your Teams together... Ask them a question... What have you Innovated? What would you like to Innovate? And what do you need to do it?

Involve your team in process of Innovation... make them go find ideas that can change the way the product is used. A simple way of doing this that I plan to implement and what came to my mind while I am writing this... Put an Item on your Story board... "Most Innovative idea of the Month with the person's name who ideated next to it.." Appreciate the effort and try to bring the innovative Idea to implementation... keep a track of all such ideas generate a leader board... help organization understand and get the Idea funded. Be too demanding from your Teams and As Team players demand too much of innovation from self...

2. Ensuring Quality - If you cant turn the quality chart up who can?
Yesterday while I was having a quick chat with Yogesh our Architect over some code quality elements he made a comment saying that "I am not accepting this quality code, even from myself" I was amazed on the commitment. He stayed until late evening on a weekend just to make sure that he reviews every line of code a developer has written and added comments to refactor the code. Is this not to much demanding about Quality of code you do? Imagine if every developer makes the same statement for himself...I am sure we would have some real quality Softwares.... what it would result in is of course what can help our company finally grow...

3. Optimizing usage of self within the Team

I am assigned X , Y and Z... but I had some time on my plate and I did A B and C, can you make D happen now and this can maybe help us more...

I can only write Server Side code, but I have some skills in UI technologies, databases and some of the config tasks... I may be a Jack of All... but the Team can find me handy when X Y or Z are not there...

Get yourself into a arena where you can optimize every skill of you that can help the project teams. explore yourself and the technologies when you are not sleeping, watching TV , spending time chit chat with unknown faces on face Book.

This can make a multi value Individual and a multi value Team.. and when you have a Team that can do anything and every thing... is your Sales Team going to sit quiet?

4. Productivity - Improve it by 100% every day
Can you? You cant? Well you can... and you dont need to keep the counter to infinite... but Imagine.. today you cover 5 story points... cover yourself to achieve 5 the next day but with JUnits and some tests covered... darn you have increased by 100% already?

Next day cover 6 story points and some documentation... add it with the JUnits and 6 story points with the next day... reset your counter to 5 story points again end of week.

I am sure not only you will have a greater value of achievement but also a greater deal of dependency on tight projects...

5. Setting and delivering expectations

We all fail here... We dont set the right expectations with ourselves when we start... for instance a developer when starts on the feature starts with a mind that this is too difficult to achieve in the stipulated time... even if you tell the developer that a feature that was estimated for 1 week he is given a time of 1 month to finish... Always monitor 2 levels of expectations... 1 that you keep with your Lead and another that you keep to yourself... we usually mistake by keeping higher expectations with leads and lower with self... reverse this. This will have a severe impact on how and what you deliver...

The next top 5 will come next.. But if you start on increasing on your demands with yourself now.. even if people call you too demanding.. can actually help you achieve your actual demands easily ;)

Project Success and Team Values

Values always drive success, Success in any form. A Team without values is not possible, or in sweeter words no Values no Organizational success... so where do these values come from, where do they go and how they affect the success of any project?

Too many questions... too little time to answer... but let me answer these questions for you today with some more questions... if you still dont get an answer we discuss it further...

"I think if we change the Document Info tab to a common area we can use it more effectively not only will users get an added benefit, but the code will also be cleaner"

Puneet had this discussion with us on a healthy weekend..

Stephen said "So much of Javascript on the login page is not good, we loose benefits like SEO, heavy logins, general login values "

Rhushi says "Dynamic menus are the way forward, we dont want to put lot of if else in the presentation layer"

Yogesh T says Our first phase should be driving the important features we can achieve, later should target the features and code refactoring

Well I am not saying that these are the only values of our team... our values lay beneath the statements made above....

1. How best can we do things that our users will love it....
2. We are up to remove every barrier that can make our product less valuable
3. We are ready for today , tomorrow and several days after tomorrow...
4. We are up for changing what we did in the past to improve them always...

So many discussions we have every day, each of the discussion bring up a different value which is unique... I like it, I love it.. these are the things that drive us to success... these are the things that are letting us build a team that can sometime in future do what we want to do and what we never thought of doing...

Today I see these values are what determine our project success... These values can drive the organizational values and then later these values can bring organizations to greater value......

What statements does your team make, that can bring a light to your customers future

Friday, 6 November 2009

Of Teams and Mediocrity II

Tanveer said :

Well, Everywhere this is the same thing going is because of impotent recruitment process.
A Interviewer don't want to hire a person better than him, a manager give preference to a candidate from his community, People who refer candidates set out as well as break out the interviewing process.
That is what people say that only because of few team members this project is actually driving.
So finally you left with one choice i.e. - 4th choice.

Does Mediocrity start with someone joining or even before joining? The answer is Yes to a certain level its about the hiring process... but finally the mediocrity takes its path only with mediocre team... In a previous post on How to find the right guy I mentioned some things about hiring process... but thats not the core of mediocrity...its the environment, culture , its the surrounding that pornshows mediocrity...

Ending Mediocrity is the only choice if You, Your Team and Your Organization has to grow... YOU is the important part in finishing mediocrity... I write more details about the same as you follow this post... but the question is can you end mediocrity? Well No you cant... The Leaders can to a certain level.. but the values of the Team can definitely kill it....

"I am up for it, lets make it work"
"We did a good job, I think you were fantastic in it"
"Hey Guys I am gonna make this work over the weekend so you dont waste your Monday on it"
"I love Facebook too, but you know I love to make my product better than it"
"So what if I get paid less, I love my Job "
"Lets finish this and then go for Lunch?"

When you start hearing this it means that the end of mediocrity is introduced... its the Team that can kill it.. and we all leaders and managers have to play a role in it... How?

Sense it , Feel it , Penetrate it and Remove it...

Well I am not defining the procedure to seduce here, instead its the way you choose to handle mediocrity...

Sense It
1. Find out all the behaviors that lead to mediocrity, dont think of how to change them... just observe them.
2. Individualize the behavior, a Team can have a common mediocre behavior but there is a lot of individual set of items in it.
3. Pull out the common points , plug them into individual elements.

A common set of mediocre behaviors are :

1. My Job role doesnt define this
2. I did my task and now I go home, so what if he is stuck
3. I think its not something that is easy, it has X, Y and Z problems.. I would solve them only like others do...
4. I work longer, I should be paid more? or I work less...
5. I am the only hard worker here? why???
6. I think they are not so good...I can do it in 5 mins they take ages for it.. so I would too take ages

Feel it

Now since you know whos and whats of mediocrity target independent elements...feel them, be with these problems... try to understand individual reasons to problems...

sometimes you may hear...
1. The last train home is at 5, I have to go
2. I cant work long hours, I have family to take care at home
3. I have never worked on it before and thats not my interest area too
4. I was looking forward for XX , but I got YY and that doesnt motivate me
5. We used to work differently , here it is different so I cant be very productive

Penetrate it

Now since you know the causes and reasons of mediocrity.. try to penetrate it...

1. Pick the Best lot , put them on worst tasks
2. Pick the worst lot , put them on the best tasks
3. Be with them, let them own it and see what they do...
4. Bring them into situations of war of the lords and see what they do and how they handle it...
5. Show them how you do it, and what you do.. let them follow.

Remove it

Now its time to get rid of mediocrity.. but there are lot of precautions to be taken..

1. Introduce them to step into the processes... One at a time.. if you start multiple things in one go you will be killed...and the Change will be mediocre itself
2. Tell them what needs to be changed... and why and how it will benefit them
3. Be specific... let them understand what needs to be achieved..
4. Get suggestions, Get recommendations, ask your teams to suggest...
5. Confront non-performance. Make sure your team knows that continuing in the old, mediocre behavior is unacceptable. Enforce this if needed..
6. Ask for feedback and also involve them in change processes.

Prepare yourself to celebrate the change in Mediocre behavior.. remember you also need to explain the Team on why they dont get some facilities.. its only because they have to get rid of the mediocre behavior.