Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Knowledge Worker's Contribution - Azara Feroz Sayed

Peopleware is a twenty year old book on the myths in software development. It is a good read for software developers progressing to managers without knowing what managing people and teams is all about and the pitfalls in project execution due to this. Also how an approach of compromising product quality, treating people as components to meet the immediate cost objectives, impacts teams morale. I could easily identify myself with the book having been a developer myself moving onto people management. This short book would be a good read for all knowledgeworkers not necessarily in software.

Refer for summary of the book

Black Team is a chapter of interest to me on how to build legendary teams out of ordianary people - building a elite team working on something special. While the summary of the book has a reference to the Black Team, enjoy the legend of the Black Team at IBM here http://www.t3.org/tangledwebs/07/tw0706.html

Also Network model of Team Behavior is something I always worked towards building.
Managers are usually not part of the teams they manage. Teams are made up of peers, equals that function as equals. The manager is most often outside, giving occasional direction from above and clearing away administrative and procedural obstacles. On the best teams, different individuals provide occasional leadership, taking charge in their areas of strength. The structure of a team is a network, not a hierarchy.

The last chapter in the second edition, The Making of community, is what this post is about.

Today, workplace is the best chance of finding a proper community – if it is there to be found

You're on your deathbed at the grand old age of, let's say, a hundred and one. You're in no discomfort only old. At this age, your thoughts are all in the past. You're taking stock. You ask yourself the question, What really mattered in my life and what didn't? It's no great surprise that many of the concerns that utterly obssessed you all those year's ago (e.g. getting version 27 build to stabilize) don't figure very prominently in your deathbed assessment. No, you're much more likely to think about warm family relations, kids and grankids. Any contributions from your work? Yes, your contributions to creating a real community within the company, something that people loved and respected and gave thier allegiance to. That was an accomplishment that will figure out in your sense of what you have done with your life.

Isn't this the 'Second Half of Your Life' that Peter Drucket talks about in 'Managing Oneself'. It is a must read article for all. I talked about the performance management aspect part of it in my earlier post 'Reaching the top'. 'Managing Oneself' is the first chapter in the book Classic Drucker and has made a mark on me - thanks to Feroz for introducing me to the book.

Refer http://www.sld.cu/galerias/pdf/sitios/revsalud/managing_oneself.pdf for the complete article.

There is one prerequisite for managing the second half of your life: You must begin long before you enter it.

When it first became clear 30 years ago that working-life expectancies were lengthening very fast, many observers (including myself) believed that retired people would increasingly become volun-teers for non-profit institutions. That has not happened. If one does not begin to volunteer before one is 40 or so, one will not volunteer once past 60.

Similarly, all the social entrepreneurs I know began to work in their chosen second enterprise long before they reached their peak in their original business.


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