viernes, 23 de octubre de 2015

Mindfulness of change, success and failure

The aroma of succesful teams, the smell of destructive teams

It took me some time to realize the common aspects of failed technology implementation projects. It becomes difficult particularly when you are paid to call everything a success and every failure a problem with the client. But even with all the obstacles to become clear of how failed projects smell like, here are some odors:
  • Everybody seems to follow a prescribed recipe, even though they may recognize that the problem to be solved is immensely multivariate.
  • Leaders see their role as written in stones and they do not adapt to the specifics of the client. They believe that their role needs no redesign even though the symptoms of failure are obvious.
  • Everybody talks about the human factor but decisions are taken with no clear link to human aspects.
  • There is almost no rethinking time to review what is being intended.
  • People look more carefully at the formalities of project progress report knowing that there are aspects outside the project report dynamic that threatens all and the whole effort.
  • The project report office gets blinded and exclusively focused on what is reportable not in what is what is critical – of course the office has a complicated issue report philosophy.
  • People prefer mindlessness approach (it is easier to follow the same path) rather than a mindful focus (redesign the path with the end objective in mind).

Those symptoms are quite different to a project that brings success, due to a good process of planning, executing and reviewing each meaningful step. Some aromas of a successful technology implementation project are the following:
  • Everybody but specially leaders are ready to reconsider any recipe of project planning or execution based on the very specific aspects of technology, people or processes the client may have.
  • Leaders see their roles as changeable according to project needs and priorities. First priority is goal achievement and the exercise of power is last priority. They do redesign the deployment as needed.
  • An integrated approach to change is constantly assessed not only with respect to the client but also within the technology implementation team. Decisions are made after considering human impacts of major moves or redesigns.
  • There is a continuous review and rethinking of the whole approach being followed as far as technology, people and processes are concerned.
  • People follow a mindful approach being aware of the action options, and the actions outcomes.
In my experience successful technology implementation teams ask themselves a lot of questions. Sometimes one answer is found, sometimes several answers are found. They look uncertain, but they are fully aware of every step along the way. All opinions, including leader’s opinions, are assessed.
Failed teams look like religious fanatical groups where they feel illuminated and guided by a leader that may not make mistakes or whose mistakes cannot be assessed or criticized. After a decision is taken, by the leader(s), everybody seems to pray: Amen.

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