That is my reaction after trying out the new iphone. That made me think about the difference a great engineer like steve jobs can make to a product. How can someone design something as uninspiring as this. It sells..that could be the answer. The emperor do not have clothes…still …hehehe…
Three decades back when I started working for a living, there was clear demarcation between work and life, hence they called it as work life balance. Then came internet, which allowed us to do a great deal of our work from outside the office. This erased the boundary between work and life and I got into a multitasking mode throughout, resulting in imbalances. Now I am on vacation, and I could see this phenomena among most of the tourists as well. Even while sharing the table with family members, many are busy with their smart phones. I am no exception. Had to send a couple of emails and attend half a dozen phone calls during the past three days. I think this is inevitable and that is going to be the way of life. Started agreeing to the fact that work is an integral part of life, and a journey into the wild with the family reminds me that work is only part of life and there is much more to life than work alone.
Its all existing there already. I am just sharpening it and presenting it in a usable form for the project teams so that they can excel in their work and life. Today is the second such program.
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals. After pro activeness, and ‘begin with the end in mind’ comes ‘put first things first’. This is the basis for effective planning. Whatever is adding value to the deliverable (goal) of the project we must do, and other nice to do things which are not really adding much value to the project we must give low priority. If we apply the 80-20 principle (80 percentage of the value comes from 20 percentage of the activities), to project management management activities, the 20% of the activities that gives 80% of benefits are;
- Accuracy of estimates (time, cost and scope)
- A realistic plan to achieve the project goals
- Motivated and committed team
- Smart metrics to know the status and trend of the project, towards goal achievement
- Effective risk management
- Application of the relevant tools and techniques
- Ability to stop doing the non value adding stuff
Knowledge and skills required
In order to develop a realistic plan, one should have the knowledge of;
- Integration management
- Time management
- Cost management
- Scope management
- Communications management
- Risk management
- Quality management
- Human resource management
- Procurement management
These will act as a good checklist to ensure that your plan is complete in all aspects, and to ensure that you are not doing anything which do not add any value to the project under consideration.
One thing I love about the west Indians is their ability to enjoy life. Their win in the t20 cricket match yesterday against the host country srilanka set the stage for celebrations unlimited once again. Congratulations to them. Let them continue the winning streak. This win and the celebrations took me back to my younger days west Indian cricket team under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd. Greenidge and Haynes always opened the innings. Both were equally strong and was very difficult to get them out. Once anyone of them gets out, the real king of cricket Vivian Richards comes in to bat, followed by the captain Clive Lloyd himself. Then comes Dujon the wicket keeper and Gomes the one and only pain bowler in the west Indies team then. The bowling side comprised of Andy Roberts, Malcolm marshal, Michael holding and Joel garner. This battery of fast bowlers was the nightmare of any batting line up in the world. Then the decline started. Now in this win in the world t20 cricket tournament, I see the beginning of the end of this downward trend of west Indies cricket which makes me happy. I want to see the west Indians celebrations of victory again and again. That is quite inspiring.
Human resource management is one of the knowledge areas of PMBOK. Agile is all about commitment, motivation, risk taking, transparency, self organizing teams etc… From this list, the importance of human resource management in agile project management is very evident. In order to be successful as an agile project manager (scrum master), competency in human resource management is very important. I must say that it is more important than the traditional models. In order to be successful as a leader in agile teams, one has to embrace servant leadership with both hands. Gandhi is the epitome of servant leadership. The concept of servant leadership revolves around the concept of ”All leaders servants first, and then become leaders”. Stephen Coveys concept of emotional bank account comes in handy here. When I do something good to you, I make a deposit. When I do something which you do not like, I make a withdrawal. As long as the deposits are more than the withdrawals, I have some amount of positive influence over you. The moment the withdrawals are more than the deposits, then problems will start cropping up. This simple concept is very difficult for people to digest, especially when they are mentored by command and control freaks.
Command and control will not work in high profile teams. During my formation years as a manager I had the shock of my life, when I transitioned from a company culture based on ”command and control” to ”servant leadership”, without any clue about this style of management. It took me a while to pick up the threads of servant leadership, and once you get used to it, one starts enjoying it. During my project management workshops, many introduces themselves as managers of a specific number of team members, and they take immense pride in the fact that they have control over so many people. In reality, do they have that kind of a control?. The following two questions will thrash this myth of a manager as a superman;
- What will happen to you as a manager, if you complain about your team to the senior management?
- What will happen to you as a manager, if the entire team complains about you to the senior management?
In both cases, the easiest viable solution is to change the manager than the team. So, all the managers are terribly dependent on their teams, and a manager is only as good as his team. Acceptance of this reality, is the starting point of mutual respect and servant leadership.