Posts Tagged Disruptive

Back to School for a Lesson in Failure

I recently completed a 3 year project which – according to client requirements – should have been done 2 years ago. Hey, I’d like to say that good things take time! But the truth is that sometimes life – and IT project execution – is just unpredictable. And painful. But – ever the optimist – throughout the three years, I tried to find the sunny spot in the gloom of our basement project room. And today I’m asking myself “what did I learn?”

You cannot deliver on something you do not know.
Seek out experts, get training for yourself and your team. Classroom training is not enough. For me, I learned the most from my network of connections I had built over the years through my engagement in a professional community – the Americas SAP Users Group (ASUG). Collaboration with others outside of my own usual comfort zone – across companies and within my own company – helps me to shift paradigms, and, in this case, helped me to question my own design and to rethink the possibilities.

Expectations are sneaky.
Expectation – noun – a belief that someone will or should achieve something. We IT people like things that are concrete – you know, “If x, then y, else z…”. As Project Managers and Business Analysts, we follow plans and processes, carefully sequenced and timed. We define scope and lock it down. What is impossible to manage are the expectations of a variety of stakeholders – each with different concerns. In my case, Legal wanted the solution delivered fast. Business areas didn’t want productivity disrupted. Administration wanted something that would require little manual intervention (add time to the project plan here!). Human Resources wanted a solution that employees would like (add more time to the project plan). IT, of course, wanted us to stay on time and within budget. I understood all these expectations. What we missed was how difficult it would be to keep those expectations from creeping back into the project even after we had all agreed some things would simply not be done within the parameters of this project. There’s only one way (in my humble opinion) to prevent being sidetracked by expectations: that is, have one single person as the ultimate decision maker.

“Failure is delay, not defeat.” – Denis Waitley.
Despite your best laid plans and past successes, sometimes you simply fail to meet everyone’s expectations, the timeline or the budget. But I refused to admit defeat.  We missed the two scheduled release dates. We went over our original budget by a significant number. Despite the pressure from management on those two points, our team persevered in finding the right solutions. With my sense of integrity intact, I suggested a redesign of the solution – thereby removing many of the hurdles that were getting in the way of expectations — some of which were pretty important expectations. No one applauded or sent bonuses my way when we were done. But I have the satisfaction of knowing I did the very best I could and that what I delivered really did remove potential issues for our buisness.

Denis Waitly said “Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” I don’t think I can be accused of any of that. The entrepreneurial spirit in me still prefers to challenge the status quo, longs to innovate, and is okay with taking a calculated risk. I have raised two daughters who were at times scared to fail. And everyday, with every new decision they faced, I would say, “What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if you try that?” I have never received an answer to that question from either one of them. And so now I am going to take a page from my daughter’s playbook at Blondes Have More Run  and leave us all with the following.

Excuse me now, but i have to keep going!

fearspartan

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Mentoring the Right Way – Everybody Wins

Mentoring the Right Way – Everybody Wins

“Game-changing technologies are transformational, exciting and disruptive for a reason. They shake up your status quo. They get you thinking about new ways to scale, compete and grow. They move you in amazing new directions.” Join Game Changers Radio on VoiceAmerica today at 11 am EDT to learn about Game Changing people – and how YOU can be one of them.

Guests on the show will be:

Sarah Cooke, Associate Vice President & Managing Consultant at Great Place to Work, Meaghan Sullivan, vice president of Global Channel Marketing at SAP and Sherryanne Meyer join host Bonnie Graham to talk about Mentoring in the 21st centruy workplace.

Meaghan says:

• My own “mentors” in my career make up what I refer to as my “Board of Directors” .
• You’ll never be able to repay your own mentor, but you can pay it forward.

Sarah quotes Lucille Ball: “I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things I haven’t done.” I like this! Be disruptive. Start the conversation instead of just having a seat at the table.

Sherry: “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi” – I can’t do it all myself. It takes a village.

Mentoring – it implies knowledge sharing. In this age of connectivity, knowledge is no longer an exclusive right or privilge of a few. Rather, we all help each other become who we are. Does nature or nurture influence you success? We three women are here to tell you that nurturing thru mentoring helps everyone succeed.

Tune in to SAP’s Coffee Break with Game Changers.  Mentoring – The Right Way will be live today – April 16th, 2014 at 11 am EDT. 

SAP Radio

Link is LIVE during the show and then says “Coming soon” until the podcast is posted approx. 2 hours later.

Show site: http://spr.ly/SAPRadio [case-sensitive URL] – see topic list on right side of page

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