Feb 05

Be happy and be serious?

A couple of times I got comments from my colleagues that I’m always very happy and smiley, and sometimes they think that I’m not serious at all. This is the big compromise which I need to do continuingly. Although I’m very optimistic and I’m trying to be as happy as possible – the life is too complex to worry each day – but when you’re happy, because of the perception your face and body language show, people can occasionally take you as very unserious, informal and easygoing person. And it’s not essentially the truth…

You need to find a way to make sure that you can project the message about the task you can accomplish and the way to keep your attitude as positive as possible. The way how I handle it is that I try to make sure that all of the points which I’m working on are very clearly communicated, so the people can see what to do and what is supposed to be done. They see the execution and they treat me very seriously because they can behold that I’m taking all the steps which were planned, executed very seriously.

It’s important. It’s not really preventing you from all these things to be happy, very positive and to shoot equally positive attitude. It gives you very big and valuable cocktail of energy. If people see that you’re serious and happy at once, you will motivate the team, the clients, as well as yourself – which are very important – much better.

Jan 27

How to be ready for fire?

In my previous post I was talking about fire breaks out and the way how we handle it. I think the most important part is, as well, the preparation for the fire and all the accidents which will come with it. Again, this is a big analogy for the project management.

The better you prepare, the better you’ll be able to handle any unexpected situation. And I can guarantee you, for all the projects we are managing; you will always have the fire drills and events that you can’t really predict. The way how we handle it is to make sure that we anticipate and try to look into the future. We try to imagine, if the fire will happen, what are we supposed to do and what to do to avoid it.

To give you an example – you have project which is supposed to start in four-weeks’ time and you begin realizing that the key users who are testing the application are not available for you. So what do you do? This is typical fire – you won’t be able to do the testing and to launch the commercial application in front of your customer, but you need to find the solution.

So what we proposed and what I used in my previous job is to try to do the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), which helps you to identify the most crazy behaviors and events that can happen, and try to build the hypothesis: how you will react and what you will do to prevent it. It’s pretty simple: you can just search on the block for the FMEA – I think the first time it was used was when NASA built the space shuttle during the conquer of the space by the Americans.

It’s very effective tool which helps to manage the fire a little bit better and, in fact, prepares you for the fire which will happen in the business.

Jan 20

What to do when the fire roars?

I remember that when I was a young boy I’ve been always coming down and looking at the rushing red fire truck. I have never realized that all the stuff happening before, after and around the truck may affect my business life.

What to do when the fire roars? It is known that the most significant thing during the blaze is that we are able to localize it. We know what and where is burning and we ought to inform all the people who may give us a hand. And these are firefighters, as well as everyone else around us – among them our neighbors or companies around our building.

The same is going to happen on the project. If we know that something is wrong, we have to hurriedly inform people who may have an impact on this, as well as to find an expert who may help us. What we need him for? The expert – being actually our firefighter – may localize the source of the fire – the source of the problem – much more effectively than we could.

After we find the source, we also have to stop the fire spreading. We need to determine in what way we could extinguish it by using the most effective means. It’s an analogy to the projects, again, since we have the very same opportunity to localize the source, find out what happened and gain control over all of the side effects of the fire. It’s also important to work out the best – meaning the most effective – method of its extinguishing. As we know, some of the project solutions may result in increased expenses and resource usage, and it probably won’t appear too productive. The same is with the fire – each type is being extinguished in a different way.

When the blaze is finally stopped and everything is under control, the next step – which we often forget about on the project – is to find a solution to prevent the fire in the future. What to do to make our project well-done? If we find, for instance, wrongly wrought tests linked to a specific system start-up, then what could we do to make them well planned within the next similar project?

I’m not sure if I still want to be a firefighter, but it occurred that I work as a qualified firefighter extinguishing miscellaneous fires every day.

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