It's All About the Data

It's All About the Data
It's All About the Data

Monday, January 27, 2014

80/20 Rule

The phrase 80/20 rule gets used by a lot of pundits to describe "that 80 percent of all our results in business and in life stem from a mere 20 percent of our efforts". 

The original 80/20 rule came from the Pareto Principal which talks about root cause analysis - 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.

My 80/20 Rule
It has been my experience that the first 80% of any task or project takes 20% of the time - and - the last 20% of a task or project takes 80% of the time.

Here are some examples:
  1. Trade partners (construction subcontractors) will get about 80% of the work done, leaving 20% to be found by others.
  2. Students will prepare for about 80% of the test material, hoping the last 20% will not be on the test.
  3. Kids will clean 80% of their room, and hide the last 20% under the bed or closet.
  4. Team members are gung ho to finish the first 80%, but have other priorities at the last 20%.

Why the last 20% needs the most attention?
It needs the attention because that is where the 'finish' zone is at.  The finish zone is where all the:
  • Synthesis is done
  • Customer receives the value of the service
  • The job /task/project is DONE and COMPLETE.

The last 20% may be the hardest part, but it is worthy of the same attention and dedication and thoughtfulness as the first 80%.  Here are some strategies:
  1. Understand the last 20% will be harder and give it appropriate amount of project time.
  2. Give the effort that is required.  It is hard being the last 20% team member but I say it is rewarding to be part of the 'finishing' team.
  3. Use more checks and balances so the last 20% is not so much about fixing things (see Last Planner, Agile methodology, and writing effective requirements ).

Finally the pundits say "that 80 percent of all our results in business and in life stem from a mere 20 percent of our efforts".  I think here they are talking about most of our time in life and business is spent not in productive pursuits.  How much time do we spend trying to find that email the boss sent out that he/she wants an answer on?  Too much time, I agree.   

A job worth doing is worth doing well (and complete).  Plan well and good execution is the key to success.


David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com).  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Knowledge vs Solution


In today's 'instant access information', there is a growing notion that all information is free.  It is the we can just 'look it up on Google' craze that created this.  However, solutions comes at a price.  Someone had …

  • To see a problem that needed to be solved. A business need described
  • Decide to solve the problem. Make a commitment of time and energy.
  • Had to develop a process (whether it workflow process or use case analysis)
  • THEN solve the issue and create benefit.

KNOWLEDGE VS VALUE

There are two kinds of information

  • Knowledge base - this is the common knowledge we all know if we did a small amount of research (how to do a pivot table in Microsoft Excel?).  With about two minutes in Excel Help, you can learn how to do a pivot table.

  • Solution - this is the information that requires synthesis, integration, and that information that is not commonly known.   This is the information and resources that results in a solution that should be paid for.  It is not to be given to others as part of a technical 'download'. 

SO, WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CREATING A SOLUTION?

Why am I making the distinction.  I think people misunderstand the nature of difference between knowledge and solution.  One is merely data, and other is a problem solving idea that brings value.  Data has become democratized (anyone can access it), solutions are not so accessible.

Search for knowledge, pay for solutions. 


David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com).  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Art of Managing Up


Recently in my managing career, I read an article by Wayne Turk titled "The Art of Managing Up".  I don't remember where I found this article, or if someone recommended it to me.  The article can be found here.  It proved to be a perception changing article.

First, if you work for a company, I would definitely read this article.  If you work for yourself, you still have customers/clients that you need to 'manage up'.

It was an important article because it clarified to me several key points.
  • I was struggling too hard to change my boss to my way of doing things.  That was clearly the wrong approach. It reminds me of Jim Croce's lyrics to "You Don't Mess Around With Jim":
"You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim"

  • Managing up is really about stretching yourself - see article.  What can you do to make the situation better (whether that is the project, the corporate culture, or the company itself)?  I understood the need to stretch, but didn't realize my participation in dysfunctional company interactions was limiting my ability to manage up effectively.

  • Communication - I cannot stress this too much.  I had to learn my boss' communication style.  Every manager, including me, has a different style. 
    • See how they communicate with you, it usually is a good indicator of how they want communication to happen.
    • For some managers, ask - they might tell you, but observation of the manager's communication style will be more illustrative.
    • When, how often, form (written/verbal) are all aspects.  Some manager's want discussion, some want just the 'short and sweet' discussion.

  • Lastly - provide solutions to the problems you bring to your boss.  Be a solver, not a whiner.  Does your solution need to be complete (helpful, but not required).  The solution does need to be thoughtful, cogent, and provide a path to success.

Managing up is not manipulative, but a method to create a stronger 'bond' with your boss and create an better work environment.


David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com).  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.