Saturday, 23 February 2008

Training, Fun and Work!

This week was much less on work load. We had a nice training session by Dexter Valles. His way of showing how we could improve our managerial skills was interesting. We did a few psychometric exercises to understand ourselves. We had a few activities which, irrespective of the results, reflected our current style of doing things. Our scotoma in being more task-oriented than goal or vision oriented showed up. We used the opportunity to learn new ways to rid ourselves of this scotoma. The entire training session setup for a period of 2 days was fun filled and also gave us the opportunity to meet managerial teammates across D-Link.

We had initiated at work a more spirited fun-filled exercise of requesting everyone to decorate their cubes with a theme that was across an entire team. This too was well done. The Video team guys came up with a D-Link in 2020 theme, while we EmSys chaps came up with "Hardware/EmSys going Green" which was more about the company's own mantra. Ours was a more permanent setup that did not disturb our workplace and looked less like decor. We liked it. There were other interesting themes about which were checked out by our CEO Mr.Jangoo Dalal.

Friday, was a time for birthday celebrations and fun of all sorts. We organised an ethnic wear competition and followed it up with a collage game. There were special snacks served for the day (which is not done as usual at this office.) Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, and we made sure that the fence-sitters were also sufficiently entertained. The first steps of making work more fun was initiated with this.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

via nova

With the shift to the new office facility complete on 11-Feb-2008, I am now using a new timing (0730hrs - 1630hrs) every day at office. This is coupled with 90 minutes of travel to and fro under ideal conditions insofar. The total distance is 21.5 km which is 43 km to and fro no matter what short-cuts you can try.The way to office is a little better in terms of road condition and traffic [the time being earlier in the day]. There are pick-ups and drops for two timing shifts 0730-1630 and 0800-1700 in use presently. These are mostly Chevrolet Taveras which are quite roomy and comfortable.

Doing this journey by myself (thanks to my Chauffer) has required me to be much more disciplined in my sleep and wake-up. I no longer have the luxury of error in the morning owing to the traffic that swarms the new via everyday. There is an elevated highway in construction on the new route. However that seems to be taking quite long and probably until 2009 or sometime into 2009 to near completion. Further the elevated highway is being created as a 2-laner which may result in traffic problems in the future when it is commissioned for use.

Facilities at the new office are nice. People still find the shift from 0930-1030 to 0730-0800 difficult to adjust. This is probably the first week of the human body's rebellion to change. I have been lucky to start office with breakfast and my favorite coffee.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Release ...

One of the teams at my company is making a field trial product release. This had a lot of dependencies from my team which we had to close with a lot of "process" to avoid political conflict. For the first time insofar at D-Link, I have been able to breathe easy while The Release is on. This will soon be followed by a Product Launch shortly with the press and marketing events.

While it has been essentially a good show so far, there have been few show-stoppers. Things that people took for granted earlier came back. Murphy's law is active in full swing. The release has been postponed by two days (and is presently almost a tomorrow() function which never really happens today()). I see frantic activity to solve at the last minute whatever could have been addressed and sorted out earlier.

I know for a fact that in most academic centers (schools and higher educational institutions alike), there is mass behavior of handling examinations and practicals at the last minute. I tend to believe that this behavior is carried on to work and life as one comes out of the academy into the real unforgiving world. Perhaps one important thing that most schools and universities miss out is to teach students timeliness and ensure that last minute work is discouraged with the strongest possible measures.

People find it difficult to do more with the time they have everyday. Everyone who takes up multiple responsibilities out of interest find themselves unable to serve all. People hardly benchmark and find their capacity nor do they work on increasing their capacity to deliver more in less time. This could be simply an exercise of recording daily activities whilst at school or work. This way activities that take too long can be weeded out and that time can be put to better use. I have done this by having a latent diary record, a realtime record (of activities as and when they are complete). These tools helped me plan.

I feel that whoever is postponing tasks at the last minute has been too busy prior with other problems that some were ignored until they popped up late. The real solution to being cool, calm and level-headed during a Product Release is to avoid ever having been too busy to have ignored other responsibilities whilst tackling a Gordian knot.

That said, when one is in a situation it is hardly useful to be retrospective. One needs to get out of the bear-hug of the last-minute. This can only be done with strong leadership, assertive decision making, participative management and guidance to whomsoever seeks it. Then people will be able to get out of charybdis. Perhaps a lesson in Greek Mythology would also help!