Mar 09

One of my close friends recently decided to leave Microsoft and start his own company. He has been with Microsoft for a long time and the change from MS to a starting a new organization will be a big one. When I started thinking about this change I started thinking about my own journey through various organizations. Every organization has an character, a heart and a soul. What do I mean? Let me take you through my journey through these organizations and explain…

Baan(1997-2000): A Successful ERP company trying to accept globalization and experimenting with distributed development across NL, US and India. In 1997 that was tough thing to do with infrastructure limitations and also cultural limitations. There was still frictions between different teams on ownership of work. This instability was not just in development but also in management originally the company was run from NL then it was taken over by management in US. Management styles are very different between NL and US. It was a great learning experience to see how a successful company was struggling to cope up with time.

Nortel(2001): Again a successful company trying to survive in economic downturn. There was chaos everywhere. The goal seemed to be survival to fight another day. It was tough with major layoffs going on in every division. Moral was low and people spend more time in worrying rather than working.

e-Emphasys(2001-2005): An entrepreneurial venture trying to define itself. Are we Consulting company or a Product company? Should we focus on long term strategy or short term gains? How do we refuse lucrative consulting projects today and just focus on product development for long term benefit? It is amazing how this conflict impacted every decision we made. Basically we just could not decide what we were. Some employees loved consulting and working closely with customers other did not like traveling as consultants and were happy doing product development but for a startup you do not have choice you make your call based on daily needs. The key learning was define your strategy and follow it. You cannot do everything successfully and grow.

SAMSys/Sirit(2005-2006): Another small entrepreneurial venture in RFID space struggling to raise capital and survive to see brighter days. We all could see the hockey stick but the rapid growth in industry was just not happening. Finally we just ran out of money and Sirit took us over. The key lesson was raise capital when you can and not when you need it most.

Microsoft(2006-2008): Amazingly successful company trying to maintain alignment across all its products. Think about it when a new release of Visual studio is planned you have to make sure it is compatible with the latest under development release of SQL, Share Point and Office. When new version of BizTalk is built it is also dependent on SQL, Share Point and Office and Visual studio designer. Did I miss the Windows releases. How do you keep all this in sync. It is a complex problem to solve and I think the company does pretty well to maintain this alignment.

Alignment is really crucial for overall success but I personally think it takes too much time and effort and affects time that can be spent on innovation. I am sure someone higher up in the organization thinks about it. 🙂

So this brief info about companies I have worked for. What about your companies? What was/is your company like? What does its character look like? Do share with me… Until then enjoy…

Jan 06

Businessweek also has another article predicting 10 things that may happen in 2008. Another good read and interesting stuff. Following is the list. Please read the detailed article by following the link below.

    1. Green Crisis
    2. Airline Consolidation Begins
    3. Bloomberg’s Historic Run
    4. Bye-bye, CDs
    5. Facebook Fatigue
    6. Finally, Internet TV
    7. The Biggest Bribe Penalty Ever
    8. Web Crash 2.0
    9. Crude Oil Will Top $100
    10. Big Brother Fears Return

Ten Likely Events in 2008

Jan 06

Read a good article on businessweek.com. They have predicted 10 things that won’t happen. It is amazing because people like to predict things that will happen. Here is it other way round but it is really interesting stuff. 🙂 Following are the predictions. Please read the detailed article by following the link below.

  1. The writers won’t win the current strike
  2. DreamWorks isn’t going to leave Paramount after all
  3. Apple won’t reinvent TV viewing
  4. Juno won’t win an Academy Award
  5. Google (GOOG) won’t buy a media company
  6. Indiana Jones won’t be the biggest film of 2008
  7. Katie Couric won’t quit
  8. The Disney-Pixar deal won’t implode, Part Three
  9. Fox Business News won’t close shop
  10. MGM won’t be the first Hollywood studio to get sold

Ten Things That Won’t Happen in 2008

Sep 23

Business Week has started a great new section on their website on Management. The section covers managing career, team, company and board. It is a great site with some good case studies and videos. I have subscribed to its blog too. Hopefully the site will have tons of good information going forward. J

Link: http://www.businessweek.com/managing/

    

Sep 09

Yesterday I graduated from UNC with my MBA. You can read more details at http://sudsblog.com/?p=331.

Aug 22

Management is all about connecting with the people on your team. So how do you effectively manage a team? You can read more about this at insidecrm.com. Following is a link to the original article (read more).

digg story

Feb 18

It is difficult to innovate something new. It is more difficult to identify which innovations to fund and most difficult is to make money out of new innovation. I have been writing some posts related to innovation. Following is summary of all the posts related to Innovation.

Identifying and Making Money from Innovation

Planning and Managing Innovation

Feb 11

There are 4 types of professional practices

  1. Pharmacist: Where customers know what like an aspirin and they want it at lowest price.
  2. Nurse: Here the focus is not just on providing aspirin but on ability to council and guide the client through a process. Customer wants to be involved in decision making process
  3. Brain Surgeon: Here customer has a problem and he wants a solution from a expert. He does not want to know how you get the solution.
  4. Psychotherapist: In this case customer has a serious problem for which he needs and expert but he wants to be part of the process of solving the product.

     
     

  

Standardized Process

Customized Process

High

Degree

Of

Client

Contact

Nurse

Hiring: Interpersonal Kills stressed

Training: Formal including role plays of client situations

Promotion: Limited if remain in this box

Ownership: Profit sharing, but little equity sharing

Psychotherapist

Hiring: Very Selective experienced experts with industry experience

Training: Experiential if any

Promotion: Up or out in short time frame

Ownership: Broadly shared

Low

Degree

Of

Client

Contact

Pharmacist

Hiring: Paraprofessionals and other low cost resources

Training: Formal, Structured

Promotion: Few Opportunities

Ownership: Closely help

Brain Surgeon

Hiring: Best and brightest from top schools

Training: Informal, apprenticeship

Promotion: Fast track, up or out

Ownership: Partnership or “Open Equity”

 

Source: What kind of provider are you? (True Professionalism). Free Press.

Feb 04

5 Why’s is a Japanese problem-analysis technique that asks ‘why’ five times when reviewing a problem or situation, with the belief that by the fifth ‘why’ the root cause will be discovered.

5 Whys is a question asking method to determine the root cause of a defect or problem. The five iterations are not gospel, rather it is postulated that five iterations of asking why is generally sufficient to get to the first cause. The real key is to encourage the troubleshooter to avoid assumptions and logic traps and rather to trace the chain of causality in direct increments from the effect through any layers of abstraction to the first or root cause.

Jan 28

Aggregate project plan enables management to improve the way it manages the development function.

Following are eight steps of an aggregate project plan

  1. Define project types as either breakthrough, platform, derivative, R&D or partnered projects
  2. Identify existing projects and classify them by project type
  3. Estimate average time and resources for each project type based on earlier experience
  4. Identify existing resource capacity
  5. Determine the desired mix of projects
  6. Estimate the number or projects that existing resources can support
  7. Decide which specific projects to pursue
  8. Work to improve development capabilities

Source: Creating project plans to focus Product Development by Steve C. Wheelwright and Kim B. Clark (HBR: 92210)