Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Improving Performance

I am again bored at work with nothing to do but procrastinate. I attended a training session this morning on wireless communication. It was informative. The speaker is an interesting geek who uses Latin phrases as his password and watches ‘Dr. Who’ – the quirky science fiction television show from England. He was an interesting speaker who I often see around the hallways looking at me. I realized he seems to be a good technical guru who could speak well in front of audiences. Earlier in the morning I listened to the meeting on the project though I did not participate too much. I am focused on a certain aspect only and not involved in the other parts.

Yesterday we had a meeting on the deliverable to be submitted to a contributor. It was a good meeting that proved my point. I don’t know why meeting like these are still held which is a waste of time. I tried to explain that the process is already clearly defined but I guess people are entitled to their opinions. This seems to be a sacred rule that must be respected. So I respectfully attended, listening to the people discussing and explaining their points and occasionally I contributed my views. It was a good session where everyone could explain their points but a total waste of time because the answer is already known. The main opposition is coming from the contributor who is key person in the project.

I surprised that an external contributor could question the internal processes of the company. But I am somehow glad he did because it only proves my assertions. I hope that people would listen to me more now that I have been proven right a few times. I noticed that I talk excitedly and quietly that seems to reduce my integrity. I am easily excitable and sometimes I may seem to be emotional during discussions that people treat me as second stringer. I guess I should pause more and think deeply before speaking. But this is the test for new people like me. I guess I have to prepare and appear to be more knowledgeable. Most of the people don’t know much around here or don’t cultivate a learning and eager attitude. Most seem to be old and tired and just willing to procrastinate.

Our domain manager sent a note about reducing the fore casted completion time as the estimated time exceeded the budget by nearly 50%. I am surprised and my boss - the project manager is no help. He seems to be punch drunk a lot of times and I am surprised that he has lasted long here. His son is a rocket scientist and sometime everything seems to be rocket science over here. It’s a funny contradiction where everything seems to be clear and straight forward but at times it’s more confusing and messy in other times. The quality of thinking is sometimes poor I feel although there are a lot of training sessions. Perhaps there is a lack of reflections and introspection. One thing for sure is that the people here are practical and experienced with little tolerance for intellectuals.

The company was voted recently as one of the top 100 places to work in America for computer systems. It’s only the second company in the state to receive this honor. I think the main reason is due to the transformation program that took place. By applying best practices like process improvement via Rummler-Brache methods, Balanced Scorecard, Portfolio Management, Project Management, internal training and certification, increasing communication and heavy use of web-based tools like websites have made this company a great place to work. But nevertheless, there are still people like me who procrastinate and don’t have a clue at times on how and where to begin. I guess I have to perform my own performance improvement analysis by looking into my personal idiosyncrasies so I can tailor a more efficient working life.

I am listening to Robert Reich’s audio book ‘The Future of Success’. He divides the successful worker of tomorrow into the ‘geek’ – familiar with modern technology, and the ‘shrink’ – analyzer of current trends. An interesting book although I initially thought it was dated and obsolete. But I wanted to listen to the thoughts of Bill Clinton’s labor secretary on his take on the future. At least it’s coming from a professor who was a cabinet secretary to one of the best presidents America ever had in the greatest country on earth. Not a bad resume for a writer. One of his main points is the lack of time in the future due to the increasing information and I agree with his statement.

It’s the month of Nanowrimo and I wanted to use this opportunity to finish a first draft. But I find myself unprepared again. Maybe I will just ‘free write’ and see what will come out of it. I have downloaded a few writing tools and the tools out there are very sophisticated. I think I am getting to understand more the ‘craft’ of writing than just the act of writing itself. In some ways, it is managing one’s creative mind that is the challenge. Sometimes too much creativity and imagination results in self-abuse and distractions. For instance, I borrowed too many DVDs and books again and went on a road trip in the weekend to Chimney Rock and Lake Lurie instead of preparing for Nanowrimo.

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