Set the stage – for the last year the most uncooperative, self-important person I have ever encountered has been talking about how awful the new infrastructure is and how painful the process has been.
Every time she whined, I paid attention. The negativity is annoying, but there are nuggets in those statements. The way I see it? Listening to tales of woe are invaluable when you are doing a task or designing a task. If I can avoid encountering those issues by preparing on my side, the whole painful process will be less disruptive to productivity. In days of yore, we called this pre-processing. I think one of the buzzwords is operational excellence.
The little task I was bragging about yesterday? She started that process last February! I think she completed it in January. I forgot. I don’t really care. The only reason I know about is frequent audits of her historical artifacts identifies missing responses from my teams.
I started the task on January 26, 2016. I negotiated to minimize the impact on team operations. The development team made my site read-only last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Cool. This is a system, infrastructure migration, a little maintenance time is necessary. We didn’t decide to do this. TPTB did. We are merely complying.
I am proud to say that I was able to complete the mirrored migration in less than a week. It isn’t a brand, new, beautiful, fully-functional site, but it is enough to keep us working in a brave new world. I am readying myself for the adoption complaints, but that is when I see opportunities for improvement!!
Here’s a little insight into me, when you whine, I listen and learn….
I need to brag just a little bit. I just successfully completed migrating my team’s intranet from an old, old version of a sharepoint to a new version, with minimal interruption and downtime. The average length of time to complete a migration has been 4 months. We completed ours in less than 2, with minimal staffing.
To me, it is common sense. Answer a few basic questions. Find the right people. Communicate and verify the messaging.
What do we need to save? What can we eliminate? How can we optimize the processes? Who do we need to work with to get this thing done?
It is all about the relationships! Last Friday, it was going south, quickly. So, I reviewed the documentation, identified the key resource who should be able to help me, I followed defined procedure without complaining and BAM – today we are back in business on the new platform.
This week was absolutely crazy, busy. Nothing like hanging on in the middle of a storm. This week, I helped bring on a couple of new team members to one of my teams. I take a lot of pride in my onboarding process and it is really nice when someone truly recognizes the value.
Maybe that is the difference in the onboarding of seasoned folks verses initial entrances into a new career? The folks who have significant, large organization experience seem to “get it” significantly better than the newer entrants.
Through this week’s experience, I was able to put my finger on another ingredient in my ‘secret sauce’ – networking. It is all about networking. The first couple of tasks open the gates to the network, but how those tasks get accomplished is through networking.
One of the guys told me I was a ‘natural networker’ and I took that as high praise and a smidgen of appreciation goes a long way.
So maybe pinterest isn’t evil, but it sure can be a time waster. I am on pinterest. It is a great place to stick things that I trip over in my day-to-day life. I follow people. I follow topics. I do it on my own time. What blows my mind is how many people are on it every, single day. Who has that kind of time? Yikes.
Tonight I received a pinterest notification to check out what fellow pinners have been saving and liking. Wouldn’t you know it? The name of a person I work with was in that listing. I clicked on the link to review what she has been doing. Heaven’s to Betsy! How does she have time to be on pinterest every day of the week? I might get there once a week, if I am lucky, but this woman has been there daily. All I can do is shake my head.
I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.
Did I just create a new ‘Customer Record‘ on my account OR did I just update all of my account information with the form information I just submitted OR yet some other nefarious scenario I haven’t considered?
So frustrating. Advice to small business ecommerce sites, eliminating confusing interactions will really help reduce the abandon rates and improve the completed transactions.
This little nugget has been rolling around in the back of my head for weeks. Last year, I was quite successful in far exceeding my goal. There is still plenty of work to do in that category, but I did well.
The question became how to sustain that goal achievement? The answer – through habits. It isn’t the enormous effort put in to achieve a goal that matters, it is the habits that are developed going through the process that establish the recipe for success. This year, I am going to optimize my habits. In any process, there is always opportunity for improvement.
This has been a week. This has been a year and it is only March! Yikes!
Today’s challenges – attempting to convince a corporate IT guy that it is okay to technically break the rules, because my boss said so. Yea, that went about as far you might think it would or should. Why do we have all of these processes and procedures if all it takes is a handshake agreement to get a ‘pass’?
I don’t care and none of this would be bothering me if it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my workload! I am not one of those people sitting on a lackadaisical job here. The woman who reminds me a minimum of 3 times per week to do a task that I have been doing religiously for almost 5 years – she has a lackadaisical job, but I digress.
These are the things that delay my progress in onboarding a new team member. I reiterate, my process works as long as you dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. Folks there are no shortcuts. Every step is there for a reason. Each task has a prerequisite. If you skip one or the other, or take a left instead of a right, that will cause a delay in your processing toward productivity.
I digressed again. I think this is bothering me so much because this delay in processing is really putting a crimp in my week. If we had followed the process, we would be done. I would be able to focus on my personal life during my off hours. But no. Not this week! This week, I have to keep noodling on creative ideas to solve this randomly introduced hiccup into the whole process. What pisses me off! (Here comes the truest statement I have written in weeks!) This whole damn thing could have been avoided! I stated very clearly in August that if we did this option, my process would not only break, but I would not be able to use my secret sauce to get ‘er done.
If I wasn’t already annoyed about the whole chaos step introduced into my world at work, my life gets a nasty wrinkle too. Guess this is a reminder to care about what is important. We have an appointment to do our taxes tomorrow – that means homework for me tonight. Then had my nightly family call. The news is the oncologist will be doing additional research, putting together the history and present it to essentially a board of experts. We should have treatment recommendations next week at this time.
I have an onboarding process that works. It is valuable because it gets everyone productive in a very short time frame. So what is the one way to set me up to fail? Drop the ball.
I gave them my checklist. I have been defining, writing, revising, producing the right steps for years. When I have the time, I use it to keep it updated. Well, of late, I haven’t had any time to do that because I am already trying to complete an 80 hour per week job in 40 hours as it is, so there isn’t a lot of lull in my schedule that allows me to produce updated tools in one of the most evolutionary environments I have ever experienced!
The interesting part is that even with my checklists, they can’t execute. The reason my process works is because I do it. I personalize every encounter.
Why does this have to be done this way and in this order? Well because I understand the cadence necessary to optimize the transaction. Maybe it is my old school database theories rising up from deep in my soul, but ultimately I am trying to optimize the employe eXperience for the newest team member.
I need to work in a ‘trusted’ environment again. When I look back on my career, I realize I was the happiest when I was deep in the belly of the beast and optimizing transactions. In some way, this has tainted my view of the world. I see everything I am doing as a transaction to be optimized; so if I can remove roadblocks to completing that transaction, shouldn’t I do everything in my power to do so?
But it is more than that. In my effort to be effective and efficient, I try to never forget that these are not just messages I am sending about, these are people! At every step of the way to get the job done it is all about the people and the relationships. I think I am one step closer to defining my own personal secret sauce!