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hiding by Lance Neilson, on Flickr – Some Rights Reserved

Procrastination is evil .. almost always. When you think it’s probably the time in which procrastination is ok, double check: you are not that smart, you are probably cheating yourself 😉 (fear?)

And there is an area in which procrastination is even more evil: when you deal with people so procrastination and people management (can be your direct, your son, a friend …).

Procrastinate a negative feedback? You enforce a wrong behavior.

Procrastinate a positive feedback? You have chances that a good behavior is changed in search of a (potentially) bad one.

PierG

Whatever happens, fewer and fewer IT departments will own their employees’ equipment. “The genie is out of the bottle”

via IBM Faces the Perils of “Bring Your Own Device” – Technology Review.

It’s tough, it’s dangerous and … it is inevitable.

IT Manager, CIOs out there, what are you doing on this topic? What do you think? Bring your own device or not?

PierG

p.s. Thanks to Davide for suggesting this article.

Once Kent Beck wrote:

So if there is value in making good decisions, there is even more value in taking daily those decisions that improve our learning experience.

PierG

By By R/DV/RS, Some Rights Reserved

Every time I hear of a big IT projects, with a big RFP, with a big upfront multi-months/years analysis … I think of what happened to my friend Gianmarco some years ago.

He bought a house. The house was already partially built when he bought it (quite common in Italy). As soon as he bought it, he had some choices to make like: where do you want the light switch in the kitchen?
Yes because in the contract the constructor left some flexibility in the form of multiple choices on some things:  in this way he can manage some of the changes the owner will need.
Now the problem is that Gianmarco wanted the light switch in a position and of a type that was not part of the options so … he had to pay an extra something (Change Request) and he did it ’cause it was his house, his dream.
As soon as he had time, so many things to do!!!, he went to the furniture maker who designed a great solution but … unfortunately they discovered the new position of the light switch was not good at all. Unfortunately the work to move the switch was already done and so some more money where need for another Change Request.
So two choices: have a ‘not such great solution’ or .. pay another something.
As it was his new house, Gianmarco decided to pay again.
That was a great period for Gianmarco as, few months before moving to the new house, his wife discovered to be pregnant! Great news!
The baby was born few weeks after they moved to the new house and quickly they discovered that this unexpected ‘event’ was not compatible with the brand new kitchen: there was no big table or proper position where to ‘sit’ him and have him under the watchful eye of his parents. So??? Another Change Request 🙂
Now, going back to my IT projects I have a question: why do we, as IT people, learn from the wrong examples?
PierG

Plans are mandatory. Make one, follow it.
Adapt the Plan to the emerging situation.
Without a Plan you’ll never know what DONE looks like.
Ignore that silly advice of respond to change over following the Plan
If you respond without a change in plans you’re lost and will not recognize DONE when it arrives.

via Herding Cats: Planning.

I do love Glen Alleman and his blog. I often agree with him and in any case I find his posts interesting.

What I don’t like about his new post is the mix between the concept of Plan (uppercase P 🙂 ) and the definition of DONE.

It seems that something is DONE above all when you have done the last activity in your plan. And this might also be true but I don’t like the idea of coupling the concept of DONE with the execution of the plan.

DONE to me is about users using what you have produced, it’s not about someone having followed a plan. I prefer to stress the coupling between DONE & value actually being sucked from the product you have delivered. Or couple with the concept of learning: DONE it’s about giving the possibility to learn and explore.

The plan is important … and it’s not the goal, it’s not the DONE to me: that’s way, while there is value in following a plan, I value the response to change more if it helps in getting to DONE.

My 2€ cents,

PierG

ok I know some things about IT projects:

1. many IT projects I know usually fail

2. the vast majority of big IT projects I know in Corporate IT fails

Now the question is why? Because if I can understand why, maybe I can solve problem and suxk less 🙂

Unfortunately there are many reasons, but I want to underline one of these reasons that’s particularly true for big projects that span across different business units or areas in a corporations (like CRMs, ERPs …): lack of Product Owner.

Who has the ownership of the project? Who’s accountable for the functionality of the Project / Product as a whole? Who’s responsible that what’s been developed is good for the company and is coherent with the company strategy?

Yes you can find Owners for each business unit or area (maybe!) but what about the Corporate view? Is IT responsible for it? Has IT knowledge or power enough to close this gap?

PierG

A friend of mine, Managing Director of an european firm, called me a couple of years ago. He used to have a problem with his team: no one was taking care of responsibilities. The team was pretty focused but everyone was working his own “‘piece’ and putting the pieces together was not giving a good result.

So he called a senior manager and put him in charge of the product: no questions, he was responsible of the good and the bad of everything on that product.

Things were going better … till after some months he started suffering the same problem that his Managing Director used to have. And so he applied the same solution: took a couple of his top managers, splitted the product in two, and gave them full responsibility.

Things were going better … till after some more months they started suffering the problem the Senior Manager and the Managing Director used to have. And so the two Top managers applied the same strategy splitting the product and giving each of them some well defined responsibilities to some of their directs.

And so on through several layers of the organization.

My friend the Managing Director called my few weeks ago: he is happy the company is still open 🙂 but he has the same problem. Everybody is now responsible … so nobody is responsible.

He need a new recipe: any suggestion?

PierG

There are the micromanagers. The ones who believe they can do better than anyone in their team and for this reason they use people in their teams as their arms …. just because they don’t have time enough and so are obliged to ‘use’ other people.

Then there are those who see themselves as managers who delegate. When they have something they cannot do, or don’t want to do or … they throw it to someone in their team. Almost no direction given, just thrown the activity / problem like a ball and above all no reporting / feedback model in place. When something goes wrong they start running and shouting …. and thinking ‘next time I’ll do it myself’.

Then there are those who choose what to delegate to whom, who provide proper context, proper guidance, proper empowerment, who agree in the reporting / feedback model. Those who are in touch with the activities because they are reported with the proper cadence and the proper content.

PierG

I remember a sunny Saturday afternoon when I was watching my son making his first attempts to walk. It was funny to see him holding a chair, making an uncertain step and falling down. And then standing up again, making a first and this time a second step … trying to find a good balance … and falling down.

That afternoon I received a phone call from a friend of mine, the owner of a mid-size company, who was complaining for the quality and the performance of the products his company was producing.

“PierG – he said – we lose too much time, we spend too many money: we have to do it right the first time. That’s what I’m starting saying to my management team: we are good, we can do it, we have to be smarter and do products right the first time. In this way we can be faster, cut costs and avoid waste. Waste .. waste … that’s what that Lean stuff is all about, right?”

Do you want to know what happened? After 8 months my son, trying and failing and learning and trying and failing and learning and … was able to walk and even to run. My friend, the CEO? He closed his business.

PierG

p.s. Of course this is all fiction … of course 🙂

p.s. More on do it right the first time

 

A wise friend of mine asked me:

“if a strict control is useful, why don’t we have traffic lights at every single crossroad?”

I smiled and said:

“do you want a coffee?”

What’s your answer? 🙂

PierG

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