Category Archives: Destructivisms

Eternal Sunshine of the Rush Job

clip_image002[6]As strange as it seems, I managed to get a bit relaxed before the New Year (even though I joked on my corporate messenger’s status about fancying New Year more like a deadline than a date). While I was a bit lazy-minded, I all of a sudden have found one more reason why we favor working under strong deadlines.

What do you mean, “I don’t like it”? Please, remember the last “all hands on the deck” situation. Wasn’t it as if you could pull several all-nighters in a row? Wasn’t it at least a bit fun to work on the problem this way? What is the reason, except for Panic Monster? Yes, I remember that working under such stress is, well, stressful. Still, there is something attractive to it too.

Ok, if you do not feel that way when you are bound to do the 5-days job in a couple of hours, probably, you don’t have to read the further bullshit. For others, I have an idea to think over: what if (I don’t know for sure, haven’t seen any researches on the topic) we like doing it this way because of clarity of the situation? Look, when you have just screwed all the terms, you usually have only one task left. Sure, no one removed the other tasks from you backlog, but, hey, we have THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK ON OUR HANDS! It is also a clear one, because instead of “I should spend some time brooding over the task” you just do it.

Therefore, for some time, we may be sure, that it is the only one we have to pay attention to. Sure thing, all those others will catch up with us soon (nope, not all, actuallyJ), but right now and right here we do not have to choose anything: just do it. In addition, it is much easier to work, when you have only one thing to do. It is much easier to get into flow-state: nothing diverts your attention. I believe that makes us happier, too.

Unfortunately, it does not make us better workers: if the job takes 5 days, fulfilling it in one night won’t make it the best. We often screw things up, or just do not work up to our own standards.

However strong effect on us have the adrenaline and Panic Monster, we are tired after adventures like that. Especially, if we do not follow simple rules of [AT1] recovery.

Anyway, keep in mind, that there is possibly one more reason why we like deadlines. Knowing that may sometime tip your conscious to not procrastinate something is more valuable than not knowing it.

P.S. if you know a research paper, which supports or denies the idea, please let me know.

1)      Ссылка на статью про авральный режим

2)      Поискать ещё среди своих статей что-нибудь на тему понятности цели и авралов

3)      Да, цель едина, она кристально чиста, как правило, это погружает в поток. Даже не то, что это очень важно.

 [AT1]В русском тексте ссылку на блог по авралу и питанию.

Cutting corners.

blog не обходи процессыOne day a following story occurred: a friend of mine (whom I respect very much to the current day) approached me and asked to help one of his then subordinates to fulfil some task faster. “Why don’t you guys go and submit a ticket to the service desk system and then come back to me and give me a number? It’ll be fast enough”. But in vain: their belief in me was strong.

Well, as it happens, a bit too strong 😉 It took me almost twice as long to finish the task as a similar one which was just submitted to our service desk. The guys were disappointed. But then, I let them know beforehand that giving the task not through the working process was a risky task. And the task was late not because I tried to convince them that I was right. I definitely knew something.

My knowledge was as following:

1) I was really overburdened at that time and scarcely could manage my own list of tasks

2) We really had an established process in the house.

The effect of those two? First, If I cannot manage my own task list, any new task which is not formal enough will change the things for the worse. Second, a mature process is better than a task-overwhelmed man. Why? It’s simple: processes are written to make things happen as identically as it is possible. Men aren’t. What does it mean? It means that in the process we had back then there were included various controls to manage tasks, remind people that they have to do the tasks, remind the people’s managers that the people haven’t done the tasks in time and so on. It is repeatable, it is controllable and it mitigates many faults of an individual. And I, at that point, didn’t have any decent process of my own, so it was better to rely on the company’s ones.

So, for me, going around some mature process isn’t worthy in almost all situations. If you don’t follow the process, you usually:

· Lose feedback on what’s going on. You need to go to the guy you’ve asked to do something, and he may be absent/ill/busy. You cannot use standard controls because there is nothing standard, when a person is controlling the task, not a process.

· Break rhythm of work. Hey, you really think that all that backlog is just for fun? Nope, they’d like to have their tasks done fast too. And we promise them some level of service. If you inject too much tasks into pipeline, some of the “usual” tasks may linger in the list infinitely.

· You set a bad example. Especially, if you are a manager. Going around a process looks like going against the rules. And it corrodes morale in the unit.

Still, sometimes, going around is ok. For example:

· You really have a very urgent task. It is so urgent that both you and the implementer are able to control the task flow daily or even hourly. Manually, without a process. Just be sure that you aren’t wrong and it is urgent.

· The process seems to have a drawback, which you may hope to fix. Then what you do is actually putting the task through the new, not established yet process and again control everything. After you finished, you make sure the existing process is changed to the new standard.

Do you know other cases when it’s ok to work around a process?