Performance reviews

I have an easy approach: define clear goals and let them to go for it with their personalities and personal way to lead. I just work as facilitator removing hurdles and explaining the changes of the rules of the game (company priorities, procedures…).

You should easily measure the performance of the goals, they should be clearly defined and the person and you can easily measure the evolution. But that’s not all, you also need to evaluate behavior, motivation, focus on priorities, levels of exposure, etc.

How important is to take notes and examples for performance reviews. They provide you a good story-line of what has happened and how the behavior was with respect the expected performance.

In management roles, someone can try to hide a bad performance with a heavy agenda, excessive workload, poor focus and lack of control of your duties. This is not acceptable and to explain it you need to have good framework of organization, good examples about what are the basis and how to approach them.

 

MVC pattern + DevOps + agile = SaaS developer

This equation is so simple, there are transferable skills that can be used in different platforms.

MVC pattern + DevOps + agile = SaaS developer

In the market, companies working on SalesForce, ServiceNow, Workday… all of them are looking for developers. You cannot learn how to develop ServiceNow code using the traditional training channels: they just don’t exist.

So the skills that these companies are looking for are:

  • Developers with perfect understanding of MVC pattern.
  • Developers who understand the cultural aspects of DevOps, the principles of automation in SDLC and quality of software.
  • Developers with perfect understanding of some of the agile methodologies.

Hiring these skills, you ensure that the learning curve to be a developer in your own platform is minimized. They can become experts in just some months.

By the moment, the only academy that certifies that these guys is the SalesForce academy. So many of the certified developers in Force.com are being hired by other companies to work on ServiceNow. It’s simple, they only have to get familiar with the library of objects.

I have just noticed that AWS offers their own DevOps training, classifying DevOps as a methodology, which is wrong!

Leadership Vs. Defensiveship

Corporate life is full of management styles: leadership, authoritative, micro-courtzonemanagement….I’m able to differentiate other type which I call “defensiveship”. I do not know if this concept exist or if it has other name (probably “defensive behavior” is more correct), anyway!

Defensiveship can appear by different reasons: in organizations where middle layers of management are more and more put into a straitjacket; organizations which require more hierarchical behavior…

It’s not easy to have a continuous defensive behavior and not been impacted negatively by it. The key element is that they are in a matrix organization with crossed responsibilities, and they are able to hide themselves into the specific assignments and tasks.

Leadership Defensiveship
Have a vision, believe in it and promote it Inherit visions from different stakeholders
Accept conflict and manage it Reject, avoid Conflict
Make decisions Look for decisions on the relevant stakeholders
Feel accountable Do not feel accountable
Look for active positions Look for passive positions
Team is the first thing for him/her S/he is the first thing
Clear understanding of the priorities Continuous assessing of the priorities due to the need to balance opinions
Understand politics and use it to pursue the goals Understand politics and use it as excuse

 

 

Flow, psychology

The flow is something that has been studied since years and I find this mind status important when you are working with other people. You do not need to be a team lead to think about it, it’s just to understand how people is behaving and how they react.

I find this picture useful to identify generic behavior of a given person, so I can understand how s/he uses to be, and for people who is working with me for more time, it helps me to understand how they are.

Challenge_vs_skillOther interesting review is here, (sorry, it’s in Spanish).

For group behavior I prefer Belbin team roles, for understanding individuals, this is more convinient.

Let managers to manage

Micromanagement is still so much present in organizations, this is something that sometimes I forget because it’s so much weird to me that way of managing major deals.

I have seen people affected by micromanagement, careers progression cut, people under sick leave….

and the micro-manager complaining about the lack of time s/he has!

let-managers-to-manageDon’t do it!

Same picture, same feelings

Reporting consumers are very hungry about the data, the details and the different perspectives they want to have on a single topic. I have not objection on the existence of reports for management, but there is a limit on all of this so we should be focused on the customer and not just doing internal reports.

Back-office employees, do not use to meet the customer, so it’s important to establish a direct link between then and the customer. Ok, you have the software, the products… but in a big organizations you also have people doing management stuff and they do not deliver software, they produce reports. These guys are part of the team, they are part of the E2E value chain delivery and they are part of what your customer see from your company.

Same picture, same feelings, is a sentence I use when I look at the perspective of the reports my customer is receiving. Having the same reports internally and externally ensures me the team is aware of what the customer is seeing, and they react when some trend or data is unusual or out of context.

I do not use to ask for new reports if they are not for my customer. If I find a set of data that can be valuable for the customer, I ask the creation of such report and I send to my customer with a question:

is this type of information valuable for you?

After some months I ask again if receiving that report is valuable or not. If it is not, then I stop sending it (time is gold).

Keep reporting lean and very focused on what your customer wants, this will enable you to react quickly when they want changes, keep overhead costs at minimum, and keep the people generating reports with a clear sense of customer value.

bike in Netherlands

bike in Netherlands

(Den Haag, Netherlands, passion by bikes)

Attask

I found this SaaS company, and watching their videos, I wanted to dig into more details.

  • They are in the “Marketing Resource Management” magic quadrant.
  • Clear pricing tables.
  • Task management, resource management, capacity management, Gantt charts, agile project management, workflow automation…
  • The solution looks for the major productivity at all levels: in the requirement, design, tasks, plan, quality of the delivery, delays… there is an excellent combination of the Six Sigma principles, combined with SDLC and productivity best practices.
  • Look at the list of companies using it.
  • Magic quadrant: Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services: leaders.

Attask-joapen

Organizational charts

Every time a new organizational chart arrives to your e-mail, you take your time to read, understand the political moves, the roles identified on it and the evolution of the people within that organization. For me this is the main use of this communication tool, the rest is secondary.

Well, secondary? from the political savvy yes, but from other aspects it’s important. I started to work on an account without a clear organizational chart. The result?

  • Team leads have a vague idea about where their teams are working within the account.
  • Sales do not understand the team organization and when they want to build a solution they are proposing delivery models that do not fit with the reality.
  • HR is not able to understand the role of the people with respect the rest of the team.
  • Account manager knows the weaknesses of her team, but is unable to transmit these weaknesses with respect the whole thing.
  • Everyone builds their own idea of the organization, and they learn day by day new parts of the team, the learning curve is slow.
  • People which relevant skills do not know each other, the other day one guy told me: I’m looking for a freelance Tibco architect; why? there is one in our team based in UK!!
  • Only some people know the whole picture, and they are tired of explaining it.

Now that I am doing a Six Sigma training, the only thing I see is waste, so much waste of time on communication.

Hey guys, why you do not do a simple organizational chart?

El-Cid-Sevilla

(Estatua del Cid en Sevilla, tapizada con un colorido croché)

Tell me how you measure me and I’ll tell you how I behave

I have listened this sentence from a CIO with regards the behavior of his organization. He was complaining about how people forget to improve things and focus on do the things in the right way. In some way, when the individual targets are set, the people focus on them and forget about the rest of the things.

This is pure human nature, just a survival principle.

The situation commented was related to help-desk support where people have to attend customers. There basic ingredients of a successful service are the quality of the service and the time response. The right balance of these ingredients need to be adjusted to to fulfill the required volume of calls at the end of the week are key.

If you say to the people the target measures you have: number of calls for each week, or average seconds each call should have, etc you will find that so many of them will be able to reach the numbers in a very accurate way.

What to do then?

Define your metrics, define your targets, and measure.

Once a week do an extraction of the picture by person, and study the people who are out of the average:

  • Those who attended too many calls in a week.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the calls.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the next call (time between call).

Have a  1 to 1 meeting with the ones who were out of the picture (those who were out of the average figures you have measured).

And ask them what have been they doing last week, ask them about details of how the week was. Try to understand the reasons, do not accept excuses and repeat the message of the principles you have defined about “how to deliver an excellent service”.

And never, never: tell them how you are measuring them.

Learned lessons about evolution of IT solutions for Human Resources

The revolution of IT on HR continuous, and there are a lot of changes being implemented to transform the HR services to achieve HR and corporate goals: more efficiency, better rewards, talent management….

Some o the main things I have learned during the last 24 months related to HR services can be summarized on these 3 points.

1.- The country that protects more the personnel data from their employees is Germany. The take this very seriously and the penalties for the companies and legal representatives are big. If you work in Germany, you can feel safe with respect what your company is doing with your personal data.

2.- New software generation is making possible that specific HR personnel will not participate on HR processes anymore. The HR solutions directly involve the personal of the company to complete some HR processes. I hope that in the universities there is a class to teach the people how to manage talent, how to manage teams and some basis about HR processes. When I started to work HR did almost everything, now the situation is so much different.

3.- Some years ago payroll and time management were the core of the HR processes. Nowadays, they continue being a key asset, but they are so mature processes and companies look for savings on these processes.

What are then the processes that provides value to HR services? Talent management. You can see companies/solution such Workday, TalentSoft, SuccessFactors that are building their solutions on organizational management, change management, talent management processes. Payroll and T&M are second priority.

A company doing something different is Northgate Arinso. Apart of their offering, NGA has specialized on Payroll processes offering connectors to other platforms (SAP HCM, Workday…).