Monday, September 29, 2008

Buck up

It is so easy get lost. So easy to loose the motivation. There are so many distractions that its unbelievably hard to remain focused on your goals. I am going through the same these days. Office work and family life keeps me so busy that I am getting hardly any motivation to pursue my goals for this year. And time is running out fast.

We once discussed about the perseverance. Habits of Innovative People : Habit 6.

We should preach what we follow. But today am in situation where I need to follow what I preach. I realized that as you grow up the ladder in your organization. It becomes harder and harder to remain focused. How to get out of this situation?

Let me take this as an opportunity to experiment with myself. And try to find a way to deal with it. So here is what I am going to do. Firstly, I need a way to keep reminding myself of the tasks which are getting delayed. Alarms or To Dos won't work because they will remind me when I will be busy doing some other work. I am taking few post-its and pasting them over my work desk, on TV and on door of my bathroom. This should remind me when I am not technically busy.

Memory is taken care of. What about motivation? Rather Self-motivation.

I should now do a SWOT to take stock of my situation.


This shows high degree in Threats and Weakness. Unless I make opportunity quadrant heavier or Weakness quadrant lighter, it will remain a very uphill task. So to achieve this, I am now marking each day 10 to 11pm for my tasks. This shall remove the time management from weakness. Now if I add brainstorming activity this dedicated slot, I see opportunity for new ideas. This should now balance my SWOT. Lets see how it goes now. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
                              John W. Gardner

Monday, September 22, 2008

Half knowledge is worse than ignorance

I was discussing this with Praveen the other day. And he brought this interesting point. People would start learning something and then will leave midway (why?). Then, they are left with half knowledge. Now not only they would suffer from misusing it but will cause pain for many innocent victims too.

The problem Praveen mentioned was application of Design Patterns. This everyone agrees that patterns are grossly misapplied. And many times they create unwanted trouble instead of help. That's why Anti-Patterns where published. To warn people of they traps.

Lets generalize it here. Like Dilbert's boss, we will find many people who would start learning something new. Not because of need, but they want to use the jargon like others. Now they would loose the patience half way. Off course, any subject gets complicated after few chapters. Then it becomes a test of learning ability and patience. Which we know these kind of people lack. Now starts the massacre of technology. Such people will start with throwing the new jargon they picked...left and right. You will look for a corner where you can go and scream. Like Praveen said..."If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail". So this monkey will now take the knife and will start cutting whatever comes its way.

I feel taming such people is the biggest challenge for managers. Not because they themselves suffer from this problem. I am talking about those who know that this is a problem and are technically sound too. (I have a manager like that. At least at the point of writing.)  Such people prove as liability than asset if part of design team.

How you deal with such people?

Caution. Never get into argument with such people. If you can not get rid of them, then only way is to help them improve. If you are their manager, enroll them to trainings. The money spent on their training will get justified by the bugs they will not be introducing. Which will improve others productive too. Now, if you are their peer or worse, their subordinate. Motivate them to learn. Throw advanced jargon so that curosity drives them to learn. If you have a manager like that, make presentations and involve them in discussions so that they get a better hang of things. Its not an easy job. But its your only chance that can save you from night outs. Fixing the design issues they brought in with their half knowledge.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thanks Keng LEE

for the appreciation and your valuable comments.

For other readers, Keng LEE is a KNOWLEDGE ADVENTURER & TECHNOLOGY EXPLORER. He is an avid blogger and you may find some very insightful reads at OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGIES.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Make most of what you have got

We haven't discussed about innovation for quite sometime. Today lets talk about dealing in innovation with limited resources. This is the case quite often too. We feel the spark of great ideas but then we let it go due to a seeming resource crunch. Seldom its money. Mostly its time that we say we don't have. But I am not going to talk about time management. That's one topic beaten to death. So lets focus on the other important issues.

So the crunch you would generally feel, other than time, will be either be money or technical know how. The money is not so important. We will come back to it later. The technical skill is a much bigger hurdle than generally anticipated. And later you discover it, the more it hurts. Because it completely blocks you. No amount of time or money will then help.

Now obvious thing to say would be to update your skills and keep learning and blah blah blah. I prefer different approach.

Just in Time learning

Basically, you don't learn something, until you know you will need it soon. It doesn't mean you wait till the very moment you need it, then block the work and start learning. Its Just in time. Just when you anticipate its the right time to update or acquire certain skills. No bullet lines Use common sense. Evaluate you learning speed, available time, etc and figure it out.

This way you can mitigate the risk of technical know how to a certain extent. But some time the JIT learning will tell you that the time required is not feasible or perhaps, the technicalities are way too complicated for you. In such case, I suggest you extend your team. Or build one, if one is not there already. Its better to collaborate with subject matter experts, rather than trying to learn and become one. But to ensure control over things, I suggest you acquire basic knowledge, even if you are taking services/help of an expert.

Now about the money. Well that's where the real test of innovation is. Before you start looking for innovative ways of raising funds. Spend some time over what resources you have at hand. What can be borrowed feasibly. Brainstorm over ways you can implement your idea with whatever you have got. You will find mostly you can use inexpensive ways to simulate the actual implementation. This would help you gathering funds because you will have a working proof of concept.