Bye Bye 2009! Welcome 2010

We are almost at the end of 2009. 2009 was a year packed with action and adventures for me.

 

I had my good and bad times throughout the year.

 

Journey this year: Action, Adventures and learning’s

1.       We got our first customer in Scandinavia.

2.       Got a good understanding client’s expectations and learnt about client interviews.

3.       Learnt about setting up infrastructure (Internet connectivity, VLAN etc).

4.       Travelled quite a bit.

5.       Added new customers. Started doing our first mobile application development.

6.       Had to communicate to the group that there will be no raise in 2009.

7.       Lost a client as the project did not go well (for whatever reasons).

8.       Got exposure to new areas. Started doing work in Test Automation, Load/ Performance Testing and User Interface design.

9.       We were in the hunt for good talent throughout 2009. Did 4 walk-ins (Chennai and Bangalore) and as usual we struggled getting good people throughout the year.

10.   I had experience only with managing projects on my own till last year. Have 5 Project Managers right now, managing Projects. Working on my transition as a Group manager.

11.   Lost good team members (Yes. I had my own share of attrition in the group this year)

12.   With the growing needs, struggled/struggling to manage my time.

13.   Learnt about not to bring in emotions when making decisions.

14.   There is no place for ego when leading teams.

15.   Attended PDC in LA.

 

Scaling Teams

I’ve got good number of opportunities this year for learning and mostly my learning’s are around scalability. I am sure; I will learn this throughout my career and wanted to share some of my thoughts and what I collected from some good books on scalability. 

 

·         The most important piece in the scale puzzle is people.

The right person in the right job at the right time and with the right behaviors is essential to scale organizations.

It’s not enough to get the right people on the bus. It’s important to get the right people on the right seats on the bus. – Jim Collins, Good to Great

Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one; it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals. —Sun Tzu, The Art of war.

What Sun Tzu said is possible only if you have the right people on the right places.

Organizational structures are rarely “right or wrong.” Any structure is likely to have pros and cons relative to your needs.

You can talk about having either flat hierarchical teams or hierarchical teams. I always had a personal preference of flat hierarchical teams in my group. My learning this year is that you cannot enforce this based on your preference. What worked last year may or may not work this year. Continuously analyze the situation and decide what is important.

·         Following are very important things to take care when scaling

The ease with which, one can add people to the organization.

The ease with which, one can measure organizational success and individual contributions over time.

How the organizational structure impacts individual productivity?

What “friction” will exist between teams within the organization?

·         Adding people to organizations may increase the organizational throughput, but the average production per individual may tend to go down.

·         Clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Role clarity is critical for scale initiatives to be successful. Overlapping responsibility creates wasted effort and value-destroying conflicts. Areas missing responsibility create vacuums of activity and failed scale initiatives.

·         Sharing common goals: If you want to scale, it’s very important that everyone in your group shares the same goals and at least understand your vision. Not sharing the goals when multiple teams are in place will not help in scaling. Communicate quite often. There should be no place for complacency.

·         Having some slack in terms of people with the appropriate skill sets is necessary to meet the scalability objectives. For example, if you want new business, you need to work on Proof of concepts, prototypes, do some R&D in new technology areas. Running at a 100% utilization rate or close to 100% utilization rate will not help in getting new people.

·         Focus on Training and Development.

·         Succession plan for all the key roles. Understand that Succession planning is not a HR jargon. It’s very important to have the plan if you want to scale.

 

Overall 2009 was a very good year with lot of challenges. 2010 will bring its own set of challenges and there will be lot more to explore and learn.

 

“Another fresh new year is here . . . Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear, to love and laugh and give!

This bright New Year is given me to live each day with zest . . .

To daily grow and try to be my highest and my best!

I have the opportunity once more to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace, to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!” – William Arthur

 

Wish you a very Happy New Year!!!!

 

References:

The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company

The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise

 

Happy Learning!!!

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