Vivek S Jain

Personal Blog of an rtCamper

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Category: Management

Demo is Worth a Thousand Updates

A regular ongoing project has multiple tasks/modules being executed on day-to-day basis. Client’s life becomes really easy when they get regular updates about what’s going on. Predictability (more on that soon) of updates ensure there is no anxious moment for them.

But at the same time, there should also be a room for demos too. All the updates are fine till client get curious what’s actually is being built.

Let your clients know when they could expect demos of the ongoing work. Weekly, bi-weekly or maybe have a QA site where latest codes are pushed at end of the day. Let your client see what’s being worked upon.

I usually roadmap a project with demos in mind. For example, what is the smallest feature set that my project teams can show in two weeks, then in 4 weeks and so on. The initial demos can be just the bare-bone of the requirement, something really raw.

For agile projects, demo anyways is scheduled at the end of each sprint and here having a QA site works best.

Don’t Hire for Skills..

You read it right, don’t hire for skills. But hire for attitude, attitude to succeed. People with achiever attitude will find their own way.

The excerpt below is my go-to mantra while hiring new members to my team:

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

To be or Not to Be?

A very important question that every company should ask itself before delving into something.

How do you answer ‘Should We Do This’?

Create a 8 slides presentation in 45 minutes about this new venture. Assume that this presentation will be for a potential investor. I am very sure that by the time you will reach slide #4, you will get to know your answer.

Why 45 minutes? Because if you can’t gather your thoughts in 45 minutes, you will not be able to do it even in 45 hours.

When Is the right time to release your product?

Today

The biggest question I faced while working with a product I am leading. There was always a doubt, whether customers will like this product or not? Should I get more testing done? Should I revisit any business logics? When should I target to release? The answer I finally got was very simple – Right Now.

I recall lines from this article by Matt

 if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.

Just ship your product and let customer give you feedbacks. I am getting some amazing feedbacks from the product I released a week ago. Some of the feedbacks are shaping up the product in amazing ways, plus the great inputs that are helping my team to update the documentations and manuals.

If your product is one of a kind and you think its unique, just roll out the 1.0 at the soonest and get your Being First advantage.

Image Credits: http://www.marcpina.com/

Management Lessons learned from Liverpool’s Performance

Season 2014-15 started with a mixed bag of expectations for Brendan Rodgers’ men. Some were hopeful to see more of the style of play that took Liverpool close to BPL silverware last season. But many didn’t count them in for new season’s title challenge as BR’s ‘Death by Football’ style was expected to take a hit after Luis Suarez left to join the Catalans.

First three games of the season started with some promise but cracks started to appear after Tottenham away win. Daniel Sturridge got a knock in this match and that made him available for next few months.  This meant Reds lost both the strikers, who collectively scored around half of the 101 goals last season.

The low

After seeing the low of loosing 3-1 to Crystal Palace by throwing away one goal lead, LFC has come a long way. The signings are gelling well, clean sheets are getting frequent and the ‘marquee signing ‘ Balotelli is showing his commitment to Anfield.

Takeaways

As I see, the first half of the season presented some very important managerial lessons, particularly for senior management while working with second line of command.

1. Do not build team around a star

Instead build a team of performers with high predictability.

LFC’s last season was all about Suarez. His commitment and skills single-handedly tore down the opponents. BR gauged this before the season started and switched to 4-4-2 diamond formation, which suited Suarez’ playing style. Rest of the squad was trained to get maximum out of the diamond. This strategy gave BR great results, but as I thought, only till Suarez stayed.

Life after Suarez is classic example of the downside of building team around a star. None of the formations; 4-4-2 diamond,4-4-3 , 4-3-2-1; gave any results as team lacked the deft finish touches of the genius.

As an entrepreneur, if you have a business plan built around a star developer/analyst/designer than you should have a backup who can fill-in those shoes when needed.

2. Take chances

Seeing an exit from Champion’s league without registering a single win, fans wanted the obvious from the club owners FSG – sack Brendan Rodgers. But FSG chose to stick with Brendan keeping faith in his abilities. The trade paid off and LFC are now the only team that remains unbeaten in 2015.

3. Let managers PICK their teams and strategies

FSG gave BR a free hand to choose new players. Most of the those signings didn’t go well with the Football pundits. Seven months gone and what we see now  is a team that is working as a unit, giving outstanding results. You know that when the genius Jose Mourinho admits that Chelsea had a tough game in his post match interviews.

4. Choose managers who take accountability

Through out the rough patch, BR looked like a person who took responsibility of the bad results. These are the types of people who takes that extra mile to get good results from their teams. They never pass the buck.

5. Choose Motivators

Choose people who can motivate their teams even when things doesn’t goes fine. Even an highly skilled army can loose a battle if their commander lacks motivational skills.

BR did criticize his player when they didn’t perform well but he stood for them, even after loosing. After every loss, I saw a manager who was more determined to get things right and make his squad work harder in trainings.

Just like LFC, your teams might not be performing as expected but the only way to change that around is to take steps to change that around. Identify the people who can do that for you.

Image Credits: This is Anfield

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