My latest stint started during the failed AT&T and T-Mobile consolidation effort. .
Now it is entirely possible that it finished with another consolidation.
6/2012 – 5/2017
Internal team growth and development.
Our program was reviewed for growth. We created the internal standard operating procedures to enable team expansion.
The breadth of our team influence expanded exponentially.
We completed infrastructure focused system improvements, expanded frontline user research, expanded visual design ownership.
Created a stable delivery process supporting the ‘uncarrier’ revolution.
User experience is a line item that is en vogue, or not, so the team would experience wide fluctuations in leadership support.
This was both an opportunity and a challenge. The environment was disconnected, at best.
Permanent employees in leadership positions were jockeying for position in the anticipated ‘brave new world’. M&A activities have that impact.
First thing I learned, there would be onboarding here, but not the network type, like the project I just completed. This onboarding would involve people. Big change of mindset for me. Whereas my primary focal point had been to eliminate people from the process, here would be all about enabling, facilitating people to do the process.
I inherited a program that was in dire need of attention.
There were resources that no one knew what they were doing. They had been brought on for a ‘retail prototype program’ that was shelved, but no one wanted to do the ‘dirty deed’ of letting them go. It was never my role to make the decision, but it was my responsibility to identify the risk. Kudos to the sponsoring leader. When faced with the decision to send them packing, he recognized their potential and tossed me a challenge of creating a program to help them along and potentially extend their career with this client.
Within my first two weeks, I had two people give notice they would be moving on.
The remaining members of that ‘core team’ would resign before the end of the year.
It was a storm and I was in the middle.
The role was a lot different then. I was much more of a managerial consultant for the client and an operational program manager for my employer.
In English this means I did anything tossed my way by the client. [“I want so and so fired. You do it.”]
It also meant I had to provide the coaching and guidelines for the consultants onsite. Enforce the SOW. Oh goody.
I remember my first days. It was a joy. It was a pleasure. We were doing meaningful work, across the board.
There were some dark days. but I reconnected with some of the smartest people I have ever worked with in my career. I was thrilled. We were doing things, important things.
During the honeymoon, I was presented with plenty of challenges to overcome.
Come on, this whole ‘getting into the system and becoming productive thing’ is challenging enough, but when your client-single-sign-on is whacked from day one, life gets more interesting.
I was challenged to move up and down the technical stack, always a pleasure. AND I was tasked with improving the user experience delivery for the legacy frontline internal users.
To be honest, I was much more comfortable with the first role than I was with the second. I have always been a data geek. Give me the feeds, we will parse them and establish the root cause to prevent it from happening again.
Now instead of focusing on the feeds, we were improving the human factor in the equation. Refreshing.
There’s more, oh so much more, but how do you communicate it?
The team had some procedures. Incredibly, labor-intensive, time-wasting procedures.
The cadence was:
– Tag-up meeting first thing Monday morning – the entire team is expected to attend
– Tag-up meeting at the end of the day Friday afternoon – the entire team is
expected to attend.
On the surface, that doesn’t look so bad. It isn’t, the timing could be better, but I get the basic concept.
The labor intensive component was for me.
The client leader had established a process where a team report was printed for each team member so each person could take their own notes.
This is a great timesaver for each of the team members, but it sets up an environment for miscommunication.
Working with the Director, I was able to bring our team into the 21st century and establish a process for sharing the information.
Gone were the early mornings of praying the printer would work correctly so I could kill a grove of trees to create the ‘tag-up’ sheet for each of the team members.
Now we had a shared file that was used as the system of record for the Tag-up meetings.
Life was easier for everyone as we established the rules around updating so we could facilitate cross team communications and provide leadership with the information that is needed when it was needed.