Dec 13, 2010

Every job has to be done twice.....

As per the book '7 Habits of highly effective people', you have to do every task twice.

Either you plan the task thoroughly, thereby first 'doing' the task in your mind, and go and act your plan, or go without planning, do the task, commit errors and redo the same.

This means,

Either you do once in your mind and once actually, or

Either do once actually, commit errors, and do the same task again correcting the errors.

Either way, you do it twice.

But the second approach has its pitfalls.

One, you might permenantly damage the thing that you are working on. For example, if you are filling a light bulb and it falls down and breaks, then you cannot do that task again. Only option is to spend dark night.

Two, You might temporarily damage it to the extent that it has become useless.

Three, You might face unanticipated pitfalls.

Somehow, going to do a task without proper planning is a norm rather than exception in ERP implementation scenario.

Consider my friend, X, going to collect requirements. He goes in without a plan. He has not prepared on the customer's business. He do not know, the key revenue and cost drivers of the business. He do not know who are the team that is going to attend the session from the customer side and he do not have any idea of the roles played by the people who have come to give him the requirements. He is not aware if the people that are giving the requirements are the same people who are going to support in his implementaion.

Totally unplanned.....

So what happened in the meeting?

The key information was not received, which was only identified when the team was configuring the solution. By the time the key resource who was to have given this information had moved to a new division and it took about two weeks, a lot of conflicts between the customer and the team and a loss of momentum in the project before the complete requirements were received.

This means.....

Mr.X went to collect requirements without a plan and had to do the same process again at a loss of money, time and motivation.

On the other hand, every time Mr.Y goes to collect the requirements he plans it perfectly. First of all he plans the physical infrastructure very carefully. He will know where the meeting will be held and he would ensure that all the basic requirements including projector and whiteboard, markers, duster all are ensured for the meeting. He will have a clear prior information on the participants in the meeting, and what are their roles and contributions in the meeting as well as in the ongoing project. He will know the internal power structure of the customer team attending the meeting. He will have a clear idea of the important and mandatory information that he will require to collect. If possible, he will prepare a questionnaire to collect all the mandatory information.

And he will communicate.....

He will constantly interact with his customer contact as to what are the important information that the customer thinks is important. He will ask key questions like What are the key concerns of the customer? What is the overall objective of the customer from this meeting? What are the individual objectives of each of the participants from the meeting? .....

Even before he speaks the first word in the formal session, he has already ran thru the sessions in his mind and he is ready with all the important questions and clarifications that make the requirement gathering session so succcessful. Every stakeholder including the customer, the customer Project Manager and his own team are all satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

As you can see, both Mr.X and Mr.Y had to do the requirement gathering process twice. Only difference is that at the end of the session Mr.X had a frustrated stakeholder team while Mr. Y had an extremely satisfied stakeholder team.

Any guesses as to whose project will end up successfully?

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