Tuesday, March 11, 2008

S2 Appreciates Quiet Strength

I have been intrigued, motivated and impressed reading the book from Tony Dungy. This was a very powerful inspirational book from one of the well respected and revered coaches in the NFL. The most apt statement that has been resonating with me which I find most suited and apt to day to day work place environment is the following

Whatever it takes....

No excuses ,No explanations

Today's high stress, pressure projects (no different, no less than the NFL game time pressure) warrants to embrace this mind set. The theory is simple that there are no excuses and no explanations (justifications) and every team member needs to do whatever it takes. Yes there are the independency champions but nothing is more involved and interdependent than winning an NFL game. 53 people playing in different sets(offence, defense, special teams) contribute to winning the game. The offence can turn over the ball and put defense in a bad situation or the special teams can make the starting position for offence miserable. But there are no excuses, no explanations every individual has to do whatever it takes to win the game. The results may not be immediately available but this is such a fundamental mind shift that the long term benefits of this are immense.

I just hope, I can spark that in my team and as someone said charity starts at home so I need to embrace this first in letter and spirit.  So I will do whatever it takes to succeed ...no excuses and no explanations. The results may not be immediate but they are going to improve over time period.....

Monday, March 10, 2008

S2 Muses: Leading Indicators of Project Success

I think one of the industry wide pain point is the continued lack of success of large complex IT projects. Post mortem reports galore, lessons learned plenty, infinite measurement points but the guaranteed success  remains elusive. This makes me ponder what could be a leading indicator of a project success. A lot of the metrics are after the fact analysis like schedule slip, cost overruns, defect rate etc. For me a leading indicator will be pointers that identify critical aspects of the project even before a project is started. Well for example the need for a leader or a project champion. Increasingly in organizations the project champion is stripped of all powers to make some tough decisions or the project champion is constrained by a consensus decision making process. The need for a consensus decision making points to  a lack of well defined vision, goal of the project. Also if a project has a long life cycle it has little chance of complete success. More than likely at the end of the project battle will emerge a wounded tired bloody survivor and not a victorious soldier. Anyway I would like to listen for these leading indicators. For one of them I believe is to establish before the start of the project that there will never be a increase in the budget and /or a change in the timeline once started. The only thing that would happen is a trade-off requirements.

Monday, March 03, 2008

S2 : Life is lonely on top

The last month has been least to say eventful. There have been a few changes in my workplace and I have been a part of the roller coaster ride. I guess we are still going through the bumpy ride though I hope we are no longer in for any flips or deep drops. Well you never know since as you go up the food chain, the air is thin, its lonely and things happen. There are more procrastinators than well wishers. There is little to gain but a lot to loose.  Yet, I chose to go for the ride up the top since I wanted to experience the phenomenon. I hope in my attempt to perform, I do the right things.  It may not be the desired final outcome and applauded by the world but it will be an honest and sincere attempt to do the right things. The first thing is to have a participative process of decision making. People construe participative decision making sometimes as consensus based approach but that is not the case. Participative decision making requires active participation from the right stakeholders in a decision (from top to bottom) but final decision making lies with the person in charge.  It implies that the rational and the approach behind the final decision is understood by all the participants I recognize my limitations and limitations of my position in the overall context of the organization but I see that as typical of any situation of life. My self grade will involve assessing myself how well I did within those constraints. The second aspect is to have the right team around me. The key aspect of any team is trust and the ability for the players to line up behind the captain and support each other in the most productive way.  People may think they are supporting and very participative in the organization activities but that is not the case. One should read the five dysfunctions of the team for an eye opener.  Star performers of the past assume that they are not to perform day in day out. On the contrary, the star performers are expected to perform at the same high level day in day out. Like any professional team,a star performer gets the necessary limelight when the team does well and gets severely dinged when the performance takes a nose dive. Well all it warrants is a lot of soul searching? Do  I have that team? Maybe or maybe not but I believe that I need to trust the team first before they can trust me. I have to give them my vote of confidence before expecting them to trust me. I am ready to do that. However if things don't change for the good in the immediate future there will be changes in the team or if need to at the captain level? The expectations are high, challenges galore and odds stacked up against me. However I have trust in my God, my skills and my team.