Friday, September 5, 2008


The project in China crossed X1 yesterday. There was some discussion on the the solution architecture. But my preferred direction was chosen. Good news for the sensible and reasonable people in the team. I had sent a reply on the subject a few days back after a heated teleconference. It took me a day to write my mail and I spent re-reading the mail and achieved a good response from the business process head in HQ. I don't know why I re-read it many times, maybe because it took me some time to complete it, with constant re-writing to get the message across. I wanted to avoid wordiness and keep it brief while trying to explain my preference with some notes on the relevant technical details. I am glad that the message was received well. I felt tired the day after as if I had struggled a lot more than actual.

The struggle I think was in finding my voice. I needed to find out what I wanted to say instead of just sending out a mail just to express a comment. So I felt my stand was more on the common sense approach to reach a reasonable outcome for all. I think that's my voice or message that I wanted to say and I think that I could speak from experience now that I have been here for quite some time. I think that is the strength that I can exploit. Following the IBM transformation I heard from Gerstner's book, I need to have a strategy as well in these times. Combining the result from the strengths finder's exercise, I have a possible course of action. So what is my strategy?

Firstly, since the technical aspects of my work will be outsourced and my strengths in input, strategy,etc., it would seem that my greatest prospects remain as project manager or coordinator. I think to remain in a technical field such as programmer or system support may not have a long term future. Staying in the middle ground, where I can understand the needs of the business and understand the technical details and perhaps chart a strategy to implement is my real strength. So it combines the role of functional and systems analyst as well as project manager and strategist. So I should learn to manage my weakness in formal planning and follow-up using all those templates and forms. I hate doing things following structured procedures because it feels restrictive and because I think I am more intuitive and creative.

Secondly, I think other careers are not feasible for me yet. Although my strengths can be parlayed into other areas not necessarily in information technology. Perhaps as a journalist or writer. Perhaps as a subject matter expert in supply chain for both upstream and downstream. So my flirtation on being a trader or writer may not be full-time endeavors until I achieve some concrete accomplishments such as completing a book or doing actual trading. So more effort in these areas until more confidence can be achieved. Continuing with my public speaking efforts in Toastmasters I guess is something I can still continue but more as a supplemental or complimentary skill. I don't think I can be a great communicator though perhaps an above average or, at least, a competent one.

I think I now have a fair idea of my strengths and weaknesses and I should strive and capitalize more on my strengths. I will need to re-read Buckingham and learn how to manage weaknesses. As the year comes to an end, I have delivered some projects and I am starting to regain a measure of confidence after experiencing the early problems. I have also learned about a few option about my future from my boss this week. All options offered to me do not have a future in the present office. For the medium term I expect some changes with a final offer soon. It may look like a transfer abroad or transfer to the outsource company. Clearly change is around the corner for me.

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