Category Archives: Y

Y is for… (Are we there) Yet

Everyone knows what it’s like when you take a five-year-old for a journey in the car.

After about five minutes of the drive, they will quietly ask, “Are we there yet?”. At this point, you’re fresh and your patience is intact and, in a rational manner, you will be delighted to calmly explain to your little darling that there is still a long way to go.

After an hour, and the same question being repeated about a hundred or so times more, your sanity will be stretched to breaking point and it will be all you can do to stop yourself slamming on the anchors, getting out and running to the hills screaming.

Projects can get you like that too.

Particularly when things are going wrong, for example when the test environment is down,  the demo won’t work or the deadline is looming.

This is the point when, as a manager, you need to resist the urge to ask, “Is it fixed yet?” every five minutes. Think of the five-year-old in the previous example, compare yourself to that, and remind yourself that asking your techie that question will absolutely not make it work any quicker. In fact it’s likely to slow the proceedings down.

So, if you don’t have anything to contribute to the proceedings, get yourself out the way. Even if it means you are relegated to tea-boy/girl or pizza delivery-boy, it’s a thousand times better than annoying them and perhaps delaying the solution.

Your time would be better spent keeping everyone else away from your techie too. So do that instead. Other people asking your techie when it will be ready will be significantly worse impact than you placating them, and acting as conduit to the upper echelons of management.

Before you get to the point of leaving your techie alone, make sure they know to let you know as soon as you can help, or they solve the problem.

Y is for… Yellow Stickies

A firm favourite, the Yellow Stickies tend to get pulled out at workshops as a way of capturing opinion from the assembled workshopees.

While workshops, if they are run properly, are a good thing, the widespread use of the yelow sticky as a means for “getting all the issues out in the open” or “having a stab prioritising the workload” is often badly over/mis-used by people that don’t know how to run a workshop properly.

How many times have you seen the “facilitator” scurrying away after the meeting, with a huge pile of flipchart sheets covered in stickies rolled under his arm. Odds-on that’s the last you will see of them.

Yellow Stickies in a workshop is an example of a Horses for Courses item; if you cant use it effectively, then don’t use it.

** You know what Yellow Stickies are. The A-Z isn’t sponsored, so wouldn’t want to fall foul of promoting a particular brand, like Post-It from 3M, do we now?

Y is for… Yesterday

You: “When do you need this done for?”
Gimp: “Yesterday.”

You will no doubt have had the above conversation countless times. It’s become some kind of glib, I.T. in-joke. The response is generally accompanied by a raised eyebrow and knowing look; “It’s not my fault it’s been dumped on me from a great height”. And of course, they’re now dumping the problem on you. It’s a form of Tennis, but not a particularly great one.

So, in the absence of a time machine you can, by all means do the best you can to satisfy the request, but make it clear at the outset that you will not be held responsible for failure to deliver on time. Remember, you are helping them out. Someone else’s lack of forethought and planning does not become your problem unless you allow it to.

You can of course look to use the event to gain yourself some brownie points, perhaps even seeding the grapevine with stories of how you pulled them out of the fire.