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Answer to Relationships and Results

posted Jan 3, 2011, 12:03 AM by Jeremie Poutrin   [ updated Jan 3, 2011, 1:39 AM ]

I read this post on Randy's blog and to be honest, he really explains how a project can be affected by bad relationships.
This happened to many a while ago and I am still bothered with that failure.
The project was complex and with really tight schedule. everyone was stressed out even before I joined the effort. The problem was that their poor mood and stress contaminated me.
And this is my fault. 
here are a few principles I try now  to follow:
  • When things are not meant to be, don't stress you out and take things step by step.
  • When people around you are desperate, be cheerful.
  • When people are feared, reassure them.
  • Know that when you are overwhelmed you tend to overestimate things, so try to know yourself and undermine this behavior.
  • Try to find common ground with people - study them, pay attention to them and their attitude and study what they like.
  • The way of a great leader is to see the light even in the worst time

This is part of the job. so it's important to make the effort. That's the price of a good atmosphere. it's not easy, as you may find some of the people you know boring and with no interest in their life. the art is to overcome your belief, because it's always all relative, and work on it. 
I am still far from mastering that. But this is something I'd like to achieve.

Here is some literature:
Who in this world are the best at entering communication if not sales people: The Sales bible 
To prevent conflict recognize your and other people's behaviors: Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst
In short this small book explains everything: The 5 dysfunctions of a team, a leadership fable

Concentrer son travail

posted Sep 20, 2010, 2:36 PM by Jeremie Poutrin

Je viens de lire un article dans le figaro (http://bit.ly/cMKdta) qui dit qu'un travailleur Français est dérangé dans son travail environ toutes les 12 minutes. Cela me rappelle un de mes ancien collègue qui avait des difficultés à fournir ce qu'il annonçait pour le lendemain. En l'observant j'étais assez interloqué par son organisation: il passait son temps à répondre à des mails, aller à des reunions sans préparation et à être interrompu par des collègues. Son niveau de stress était tres elevé et je me disait intérieurement que c'était normal.
Il faut savoir que pour trouver un niveau de concentration correct il faut environ 15 min, selon constatation. La technique consiste a couper ses courriels, fermer la porte, mettre son telephone en attente. bien sur cela est a faire lors d'analyses poussées tel qu'on les trouves en ingénierie. les cycles de travail doivent durer entre 1h et 1h30 maximum. après cet periode il faut arrêter le travail! ce temps correspondant au cycle d'activité naturel de l'être humain. vous pouvez alors prendre un café et lire vos mails.
Mais il faut pour cela un environnement favorable avec un espace de travail controllable, des managers éduqués et un peu de discipliné. si vous travaillez sur une base de 4 cycles par jour, vous serez étonné par votre capacité. Essayez cela sur une periode de 8 semaines. Communiquez autour de vous sur votre volonté à ne pas être dérangé. Si vous faites partie d'une equipe et avez des affaires urgentes, choisissez une personne dédiée pour 1 semaine qui prendra en charge ce genre d'interruption. je vous invite à regarder ce site pour plus d'info: http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

Sense of Urgency

posted Jan 23, 2010, 10:15 AM by Jeremie Poutrin   [ updated Jan 24, 2010, 12:57 AM ]

Today, I was watching a few videos on Youtube when I ran into that one:

John Kotter explains that what he observed as being a key factor among successful projects was the creation of a Sense of Urgency.
He also said that this is not naturally created. That you have to keep it alive, because of the rate the world is changing. (Exponentially according to growth ratios)
I definitively agree with him because I observed that myself and read a few books and article, corroborating the fact that human-beings tend to relax when they are successful and that ego rises.

I also had a few long talks at the Open Agile Holland 2009 with project leaders, coach, senior IT people. And it became obvious to me that the key factor of people having initiated change successfully were the people having introduced that sense of urgency.

It also reminds me my experience in Prague at T-Mobile. I was in charge of deploying the product I developed. My product was complex but only one piece of a more complex system.
I was setting up the machine that was suppose to talk with the CRM(Customer relationship management) system of T-Mobile to authenticated mobile phones. I was strugglying configuring it. Nothing was working I checked everything twice, two times ;).
I asked the guy in charge of the CRM system if he did everything correctly on his side. He told me: "Yeah, everything is good, no doubt!"
I was about to lose faith in succeeding with my mission. After 2 days of hard work; being occupied in troubleshooting products of partners/competitors (our partner this day was also a competitor) who were not able to setup the connection with my machine.
Suddenly, I became certain that I did everything correctly and since the beginning. Then I decided to create a sense of urgency on the other side.
The guy called me back 10 minutes after to tell me: "Sorry, I didn't plugged the cable in...". I learned that the hard way this day.

For the last part, and also a little bit more prestigious than my story, I would like to talk about Philopoemen, Prince of Achaeans and great warlord. When he was not fighting, he still reflected about it, still being ready. He used to keep this sense of urgency alive. That's how he remained victorious as long as he was in charge of leading his army.

Wise Quotes

posted Jan 10, 2010, 3:06 PM by Jeremie Poutrin   [ updated Jan 10, 2010, 4:04 PM ]

Here is a compilation of a few quotes that I read here and there and that are very important to me. Some are from historical figures other simply from IT professionals, but they all illustrate a few key concepts, that in general drive the one following them toward success.

"In preparing for a battle I always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Companies that maintains a single management system throughout the value stream will see a 25% to 30% cost advantage over competitors.
"
Management Challenges for the 21th Century (1999), Peter Drucker

"Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position."
Mohandas Gandhi

"Software development is a chain with many links and improving overall effectiveness requires looking at the whole chain."
Kent Beck

"The moral of this story is that we need to figure out how to deliver software so fast that our customers don't have time to change their minds.
"
Implementing Lean Software Development From Concept to Cash - p34, Mary and Tom Poppendieck


Art of Negotiation: proscription of True or Moral words

posted Oct 21, 2009, 1:51 AM by Jeremie Poutrin   [ updated Nov 29, 2009, 9:36 AM ]

In day to day’s life, you are all the time negotiating:  When you want to buy a car,  get a new job, present your conclusion to your boss...

For centuries now, negotiation has been analyzed to extract what is called good behaviors and practices. As Agile methodologies, it’s an empirical science.

Practicing negotiation as a “science” influence you beliefs. When the other party does not share your beliefs, you may be tempted to convince it.

Let’s take an example, and talk about Asymmetry:
Asymmetry is the fact that you are playing a game with a different or advantageous set of cards compare to your “opponent”.
The counter-party you are dealing with may behave differently from what you believe to be the “Best way”.
It will result in Asymmetries. You get good information but interactions remains limited, for instance.
This Asymmetry even as good for you as it can be (you create an advantage), might never be good enough to highlight the best mutual-gain solution(ultimate goal of a good negotiation). In your point of view, the result of the negotiation may be discouraging.
Being discouraged, you can be tempted to take shortcuts, telling the other party how he should behave.

Telling for instance:
  • You should be more transparent to highlight a better solution.
  • You should not try to be too competitive at this stage of the negotiation.

This might be perceived as:  This person thinks he’s superior in a pretentious way or think you are stupid.

The other party might react doing:

  • Denial
  • Mockery

For you it might result in:
  • blindness (you do not consider the other party enough. Therefor you are going to miss some of his deep motivation/interest and reasons of his behavior.)

Conclusion:

Always staying patient is difficult. We believe in what we do and it is natural to try to convince people around us. The frustration and emotion can be strong while negotiating.
If you want to convince people to accept your method, do it apart of any negotiation process. It has been proven to be more efficient.
 

Note:
The following lines are inspired by negotiation techniques from the book “Methodes de Negotiation by Alain Pekar Lempereur and Aurelien Colson - Dunod - p246/247” (language: French).
Mutual Gain : Getting To Yes Negotiating Agreement without giving in, Second Edition by Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton - Penguin books  - p56

Irene web site : http://www.essec-irene.com/
Program of Negotiation: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/

Creation

posted Jun 19, 2009, 1:16 PM by Jeremie Poutrin

The purpose of this blog is to communicate about my professional experiences.
Some content is coming very soon!

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