…Yeah Us, Get Out of Our Way We’re Leading!
Over the last few months I’ve worked through some projects that have a unique trait. The last time I worked in a scenario like this it was at Bank of America. At Bank of America some of the team was in Jacksonville, some where in Atlanta, others in Charlotte, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and a few more disparate locations. Looking back these were all amazingly efficient and well run projects.
Today I lead these efforts in my off time in addition to my day job. I find it easy, in contrast to the struggle many companies seem to have with internal development. My efforts move forward quickly, with a few blockages here and there, but overall without major problems. Of course, I suppose I deserve some of the credit, but really it is the process and the ability of the team that I have put together. Just as it was before, the enabling of a highly skilled team is without reproach. I’m extremely proud to be included in this effort.
Right now I have a staff of two, one in Portland and one in South America (never really know “where” he might be). This current team I’ve only had together for about 2 weeks now and they’re already productive. In the past I’ve had up to three other people on the team.
Now I’m going to gloat for a second and brag about leadership.
Gloating Good Leadership and Good Scheduling
When the leaders of companies come to me for assistance with consulting, integration, implementation, or development I give them two choices; scheduling or motivation.
Schedules Cost Money, Tight Schedules Cost TONS of Money
One is they can have schedules and I’ll control the schedules 100% and expect 100% deliverables. The minute one of those deliverables is not received the entire schedule will be redone, dates changed, and other items altered as needed. Possibly with a change of scope, altered functionality, or other differences. I’m very strict about this, I don’t care if it is a meeting or whatever, arrive 5 minutes late we’re going to change the schedule. With a changed schedule comes a whole new slew of billable hours.
Mind you, I don’t drive the schedule into the developers minds, that is my problem as the manager. The worse thing for me to do is to tell the developers when they HAVE to deliver something. It is merely a death knell of project success. I merely provide a steady flow of requirements, ideas, thoughts, and motivations. When I have this control, I’ve never missed a deadline, but it is stressful, and thus the reason that the schedule WILL be rewritten many times when the deliverables fail to arrive on time that the developers depend on.
Motivation is Worth Thousands Per Year, Multiplied by the Motivated
If schedules are tossed aside and I can work the team as I know they’ll be most useful, motivation comes to the forefront. What motivates a team, what makes that developer want to write code when they get up? Is it the beer in the evening, is it the clean steady flow of requirements or the ability to make sure the code is “clean” and the “implementation is good” that drives and individual? Either way these things are keen to me. When I’m allowed to focus on these motivations, the core functionality, the specific features, then things really get done. Deliverables are generally more than met, often surpassed.
If schedules are tossed out the window, and the cart isn’t shoved out in front of the horse to fall on, the product is often provided in one solid, reliable, resilient piece of work. These are the product deliverables that most teams can only dream of.
The Leadership of Companies that Can Lead with Motivation…
ROCKS! Period. They are the brave ones, the leaders who have cast aside the “waterfall” of failed projects over the years and stepped up to try something that works. They’re the ones who step inside the mind and realize that to lead, one must serve. Without then the team cannot truly produce. To lead you must destroy the stress of the team. To lead you must serve their need to move forward and progress in the project.
Whatever the case, don’t stagnate, don’t manage down, make sure your teams don’t have to manage up. Learn how to work with and for the team, not how to control the team and you’ll find that you truly begin to lead the team.