Who is responsible for the delay?

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dilbert.com

The company measures our performance and effectiveness by looking on the charts, numbers. The theory is simple. The managers set up goals, priorities, coordinate tasks. The employees are responsible for the results. Who is responsible for the delays?

– I have a problem with the hardware and software. It didn’t work. I couldn’t do my tasks.
– Oh… your performance is terrible. Take a look at this chart? Try to read the guidelines.
– I have a problem with the hardware and software. It didn’t work. I couldn’t do my tasks.
– Oh… this task is the most important now. You should finished as soon as possible. Try to restart your hardware next time.

Who is responsible for the delays in the above situation? Employee? Manager? Partners? None of them and all of them.

The question is not who is responsible for this situation but what to do now? Charts help us to identify the existence of the problem, not the reasons or solutions. The problem may be simple or complex but to solve it we have to start asking to understand its nature.

How asking about “who” helps? In my opinion it helps to increase the delay and nothing more.

Bugs, problems, issues versus creativity.

11df929025b42348e9d3db9e19afa3f3How to deal with bugs? The first solution is to implement a control chain – an inspection process. Each part of the project (e.g a module, script, documentation) will be controlled by a number of people or systems during the development.

Quality Engineer: Hey, I have detected a bug that should be fixed till the end of the week.
Developer: Oh, ok. I will fix it as soon as possible.

This is a standard dialogue between developer and quality engineer during the development process. The bug was detected and probably it will be fixed as developer said “as soon as possible”. From the quality engineer perspective it is something what should be done here.

Housing estate resident: Unauthorized cars shouldn’t be here!
Housing estate administrator: Oh… I will install RFID based car authorization system, then we solve the problem. We need 10k dollars to implement such system.
Another voice: Why unauthorized cars are the problem? Is it true that there are no parking for the guests? The RFID based car authorization system will deepen the problem only. This is not what you want!

How many times the bug solution is a reason of the next, more serious bug? To solve bugs we have to think about the whole context not the bugs only. We should learn how to ask about the reasons. How dilbert comic is related to the article? The bug is a lie. The more serious bug is an unsatisfied client. The most serious bug is a company culture represented by the manager.

Reporting. So simple with VBA

reporting I have to prepare a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly report… This is what managers do. Why? Why writing reports is more important than leading people or solving problems or proposing ideas?

Reports are important but in most cases reporting can be automated. We have to stop for a while and start working smart.

  • Can we talk about my idea?
  • Unfortunately I have to prepare a report. I have no time.
  • What report?
  • I have to prepare a financial statements. Download time logs from our experts, copy and paste them from hundreds of e-mails. Horrible…
  • Why don’t you use your brain and computer for doing all these things?

Let’s look at an example of an application that downloads attachments and move e-mails from Inbox to a separate folder. Here I will describe a procedure that may be used to download attachments from our e-mails.

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Learning – taking risk?

dilbert-105395-strip I have no time to learn at home, I have no time to learn at work, I have time for wasting so much time.

In my opinion learning always means taking risk. Nowadays, companies encourage people for taking trainings but in the same time they do not tolerate mistakes and as a result they do not tolerate creativity. We have to risk our position,  to do something in a different way, different than everyone before, change or improve something. What if we will fail? A disaster. We turned out to be irresponsible and stupid. What if we will succeeded? Nothing. Lucky guy, but nervous. In this case it is better to be like everyone. It is a trap …

How to be a good programmer? By programming. How to develop our skills by doing the same, well-known things? Impossible… We have to break such infinite loop to go further. Unfortunately, it will be uncomfortable for us, due to challenges on our way.

How to start? Let’s ask your colleagues about the worst task they performing. Ask about their ideas and design a small thing that will help them a lot. Small thing – small risk, but maybe a great improvement.

ASAP

rysunekAs soon as possible… how does it look like in the long run?

The goal is to do tasks immediately. Unfortunately in most cases tasks cannot be separated. When we build a house we start from foundations. We have to be sure that everything is good enough to start building a walls. Otherwise, after some period of time our house will be turned into a piles of rubble. Can we enjoy fast results if we will be forced to repeat everything? Sometimes we are doing our tasks ASAP, but like a hamster in a spinning-wheel we are stuck in the same place. What do you think about that?

Theory of probability in the office. How to correct typos in the data?

dt160106Previously I have shown how to use Excel and VBA language to automatically format financial statements or other documents. Today I will describe how to use theory of probability to correct typos in the data collected in our database e.g spreadsheets.

Surprised? Yes, we use theory of probability and statistics, completely useless piece of …. maths, to automatically find and correct typos made by our clients or colleagues.

– We don’t need that because we have autocorrection tools in our office software!
– Show me then, how to correct surnames or account numbers using these tools?
Oh… We need to wait when our customer will tell us about the mistake in his/her personal data…
And then you need to say sorry ;)
– What can I do instead?
– Let’s look at the example below …

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