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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!