Careers

Is your team doing too much, too soon?

Some parallels can be drawn between a corporate project and a 1,500-metre run. Runners can’t expend too much energy too early, and have to exert themselves only as much as it takes to be running in the front pack or close to it.

In the last lap, a middle distance run morphs into a sprint, with every runner straining his sinew for that extra yard of pace.

Even in a project life cycle, the right pace and method has to be judiciously chosen at each stage.

Bug-ridden ideas

When a team accomplishes too much too soon in a project, it may be bypassing the much-needed warming-up period, in which a team could weed out impractical ideas.

No matter how much planning has preceded the launch of the project, it’s only in this period that ideas crystallise.

If a team launches itself into absolute execution mode at the very outset, ‘bug-ridden’ ideas are likely to gen entrenched and define the course of the project.

When the impracticality of an idea or ideas comes to light, the team could have advanced far into the project, and undoing errors resulting from ideational faults may either be impossible or time-consuming.

Just In Time

In the world of Agile technology, there is the concept called Just-In-Time, which is about avoiding doing things other than what has to be done at a particular point of time in a project life cycle.

“In the early part of a project life cycle, it does not help to think too much about the future when you are only trying to break the big picture into smaller parts and deliver value in the shortest possible time. What does this mean? Early on, you have to focus considerably on validation. You cannot validate whether your idea is good or not; your customer has to. If the customer keeps on giving feedback, the product is improved. It’s not necessary to have a product made completely before seeking validation. A model or design of the evolving product would do. Doing this will reduce the possibility of rework and the resultant cost as much as possible,” says Mahesh Varadharajan, a senior agile consultant.

Mechanical processes

We know that through most part of a 1,500-metre run, a runner avoids expending too much energy and keeps building a reserve for the last lap; how does a corporate team avoid dissipating time and other resources?

The better question is: How can a team ensure it has sufficient time for finding creative methods to solve knotty problems that may crop up at the most critical juncture of the project?

By preventing a situation where it has to continually review and improve mechanical processes.

Early on, the team should have a system in place that would take care of these processes. To give an analogy, mechanical processes play a huge part in impalement arts.

In crossbow shooting, the one wielding the bow and the human target don’t figure out the right positions during the show.

Through practice, it’s all mapped out in their mind; in fact, their entire body is tuned to it.

The last lap

In the project life cycle, the last lap involves the ability to quickly run through all the aspects of the project, removing any lurking bugs.

The efficiency of the team at the stage depends on how well it has met the unique demands of the other stages.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 9:50:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/is-your-team-doing-too-much-too-soon/article17466007.ece

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