Monday, June 12, 2023

Activity, Methods, Outcomes

Back in yesteryear, I recall the first time I had a management job big enough that my team was too large for line-of-sight from my desk and location.

Momentary panic: "What are they doing? How will I know if they are doing anything? What if I get asked what are they doing? How will I answer any of these questions?"

Epiphany: What I thought were important metrics then I realized now become less important; outcomes rise to the top
  • Activity becomes not too important. Where and when they worked could be delegated locally, so long as there were "outcomes" that met business expectations.

  • Methods are still important because Quality (in the large sense) is buried in Methods. So, I decided that I couldn't let methods be ad hoc. Methods have to respect history, conform to certain principles that are strategic and enterprise-defining, and be obviously value-adding.

  • Outcomes now become the biggie: are we getting results according to expectations? It's like the difference between focusing on the minutia of tasks and the strategic implications of major milestones. 
There's that word: "Expectations"
In any enterprise large enough to not have line-of-sight to everyone, there are going to be lots of 'distant' managers, executives, investors, and customers who have 'expectations'.

Some of those expectations are held by those with professional influence over your career, so they have to reckoned with on a professional level. But others: they have the money!; the basic fuel of projects.

But not only do they have the money, they have a big say about how the money is going to be allocated and spent. In effect, they are the "influencers". So, you don't get a free ride on making up your own expectations (if you ever did)

At the End of the Day!
  • I had 800 on my team
  • 400 of them were in overseas locations
  • 400 of them were in multiple US locations
  • I had multiple offices
  • It all worked out: we made money!

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