Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tactical Management and Strategic Requirements

In my previous post I tried to shed some light on the issues which are very much required by top management level, in my current post I will try to highlight areas which are missing by second layer of management or we can say the engine part of the an organization, often neglected or always considered as working properly. However an issue at this level result in low productivity and often work stress and low commitment and dedication level.

Define yourself:

Organization evolving from scratch to mid-level always has this phenomenon especially if technically skilled people are elevated from lower level or organization foundations are built by techiest. The problem is people with highest paid amount of salary and benefits’ always jump in to technical problem and in client support. It’s always good to be part of team but if you really don’t know who will carries the ball to the goal post then ultimately team will suffer. For mid-level manager it is very important that they always focus on Ariel view of the company and surroundings, this will help them to not only equip with latest trends but they will help to get more business which is the ultimate job of these people. Ordinary things can be done by the ordinary people and but if highly position people will start client support and analysis and design part then who will search for new venues and business. So ideally people should act what they are asked to do like VPs should focus on business developments, technical directors should focus on overall growth and project scopes overall performance, work environments and productivity measurements, Architects should focus of project design and performances. Because we will not do what we have to do then we all will mess up like those who are not in business now.


People are not doing what they have to do rather they are doing what they love to do.

Ready to relocate:

When we start doing something we develop a learning curve human nature always resistant to learn new things because it’s difficult and it required a dedication. So change is an ultimate requirement of any IT organization. However it is always observed that people are reluctant to learn new things or they learn it through the hard way. In progressive organization people working in a team are like fire fighters they do what is required to do but once things are under control they start practicing their job descriptions.

Analyze and document:

One of major problem in growing IT organizations where there are lack of documented processes that people are not ready to document about requirements. A non-documented project can have a huge variance because the changing requirements from the client. To reduce rework and enhance profitability is must that each client requirement and change should be documented and approved the client to keep all stakeholders at same page.

Work Planning and WBS:

Make sure that each team and its member have a clear set of requirements and work break down structure. Vague WBS and lack of planning at work level can take effort to 60% above the required level.

Quantitative Estimates:

do not perform guesstimates on any project or even on a single functional points, define objectively the complexity, effort, time to spend by dev, QA and project management. search google for such templates.

Rework and information Gathering:

People doing multiple things at the same time or multi-tasking of senior members of organization is one of the major problem areas. Human mind can work on many things simultaneously but can focus on one at a time. It is always better that team which is supposedly working on project have direction communication with client and they gather it properly. Once signed and approved it will help to reduce rework effort.

Micro management and extended meetings:

People at any level of organization do not like baby sitting or micro management. For organization of IT, it has more serious impact on productivity due to intuitive nature of work. People often get frustrated and their working abilities may reduce if they are continuously monitored or managed. Ideally a project team should be autonomous in its decision because they are responsible for it. Similarly it’s always good to discussed serious issues but long and extended meetings always have serious negative impact on overall productivity. If a company is paying 100$ per hour to a group of senior managers, and a meeting of 5 people for 60 minutes will cost 500$. So ideally project meetings and status reviews should be concise and should not be more than 30 minutes.

Client communications:

Organization often prefers to save their technical staff from client shocks and realities shocks. This has a serious negative impact on overall team productivity and organization profitability. Due to this reason technical people never realize the criticality of situation. Furthermore this phenomenon takes a lot of time of top management which could be more productive if spent on business development. It’s always better to assign some client liaison who is responsible for project and client handling who can be offshore or onshore.

Dare to delegate:

Phenomenon is similar to above mentioned situation, that we have to trust on our team member and we have to dare to delegate task to those who are responsible for it, rather doing everything by ourselves.

Keep an eye on holes of your ship:

Being a senior member of crew it is one of my basic responsible to observe where we are bleeding. Organizations have small pockets or cavities from where the money is bleeding and we never consider that. Major areas for these bleeding pockets are resource intensive support projects, infrastructure requirements and infrastructure backups. Ideally it’s the responsibility of finance and operations to highlight these areas and decision should be made on these on quarterly basis.

In my next post I will focus on lower management where issues are with project managers and team leads. then I will suggest tool and techniques to resolve these problems.

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