What is the difference between difficult and hard work?

Before I try to answer I would like to share my opinion about a fashion to working smart. Nowadays many companies encourage their employees to work efficiently. It is said that smart work is our individual choice and … that’s all. So, how to work smart? Let’s talk about example.

Imagine the trading and forwarding company that sells and transports bricks. Naturally the goal is to satisfy customers and make a money. Each individual employee of a logistic department knows how to transport bricks as soon as possible from one customer to another. Furthermore, company hires the most experienced truck drivers from the area. Unfortunately the customers are dissatisfied, because of the delays. They blame truck drivers for laziness. Truck drivers blame logistic department for stupidity. Logistic department blame the management for a financial crisis. Management decided to give up truck inspections several months ago because of the savings…

How to work smart in such environment? What’s the problem? In my opinion smart work isn’t our individual choice. To work efficiently we need well organized company and team. Of course, we have to be honest and work as good as we can. Otherwise our work will be very hard.

Finally, difficult work means challenge for our brain. This is the difference!

We are who we are

To understand others we need to understand ourselves first. Our behaviour is connected with our personality. We can choose our friends, but it is almost impossible to choose people we have to work with. Unfortunately, any job-interview doesn’t guarantee that we will fit in well with the team. In this case it is very important to know, what is our behaviour in response to different situations. Let’s take a look at some example.

X: Hi. I hear, you are going to Florida. Is it true?
Y: How do you know that?
X: Whole company know that. You are very lucky!

Y: Let’s go to the point. Do you finish a report?
X: I forget about that. ……………………………………….
Y: …………………………………………………………………….

What will be your answer in this case? There are a lot of possibilities. Answers may be totally different depending on temperament. Continue reading

Management By Objectives

It is believed that management by objectives is the best way to inspire employees to work efficiently. How it works?

  1. An organization defines its goals. It is usually done for one year.

  2. Employees choose their goals from the lists provided by their managers.

  3. Working on everyday tasks and measuring the work progress and performance.

  4. Performance evaluation, providing feedback and rewards or punishments

It seems simple but what about if management by objectives inspire employees to win in the lottery with the one rule: “there are no rules”? There are no rules to make goals from the lists and the only reason to achieve the good result during the evaluation are rewards or fear of punishment?

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Introduction to Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management is a specific approach to assure quality. It is assumed that a company exists for customers and the whole organization have to take care about the quality of the products and services all the time. Neither strict rules, nor special salary encourage people to look after their workplace. It is believed that people are working to earn more and more money but it isn’t the only reason. People are working to feel proud.


Total Quality Management doesn’t forget about the psychology. In most cases we don’t want to make a bullshit. Often we haven’t got a chance to report about problems and almost never to fix them. For that reason we usually warn our friends against the products we made. Does it seems strange?

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Open your mind

Without crazy people our world will be so very different.  Every discovery starts from something strange. It is impossible, it will not work… these two sentences are surely the most common among engineers, but unknown for inventors.

To change our neighborhood we need to listen inventors. Their opinions may be totally different than ours, but so what? We aren’t able to learn everything. Something may be difficult, strange for us, but this doesn’t mean that it is difficult and strange for our teammates.

I’m your project manager. So what? Does it mean you know everything?

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Be brave. Talk with them.

Courage to fund a company. Courage to be an employee. Courage to stand out from the crowd.

We should be very brave to sell our products to the customers, to design and develop them. Only brave people create totally new designs. It is obvious, that without courage we will never get further than we are now.

However, the most important is to have enough courage to talk with other people e.g our team members or our leaders.

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Values. Commitment.

Last week I wrote about the Agile methodology. In the next several posts I will write about the Agile values. Many of them will be common for different teams e.g associations, non-government organizations, music bands, startups, small companies and international corporations.

Commitment. Before I provide the definition I will assume that we couldn’t talk about commitment without giving its context e.g tasks, duties. People may be involved in some project and not involved in others in the same time. We would like to paint our parents flat, and don’t want to do it for our parents-in-law ;)

Moreover, it won’t be very surprising if I say that people are able to work without any commitment. For this reason, we will also work for our parents-in-law.

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To be Agile or not to be?

Agile software development methodologies (Agile Manifesto) are often compared with the traditional project management called Waterfall. People who do that, are trying to answer the question, which project management style is optimal and when we should use them. I recommend especially the infographic from  Agile vs Waterfall article.

The essence of the Agile are team and knowledge. The success of a project depends most of all on the skills, efficiency of communication and good team spirit. Manager should identify and eliminate the barriers to effiecient work. Often the most difficult are communication problems, for example lack of understanding the current needs. In Agile project we have to expect many, many changes. These are releted to current needs, often not inspired by company management.   In Agile, it is hard to create stable work schedule. For some people it might be very annoying. Moreover typical Agile team hasn’t got fixed hierarchy. Agile team is able to cope with any problem if people know each other and cooperate. Each team member tries to handle tasks that best suit its competency. This is the reason why knowledge is very important here. Agile management might be a good choice for R&D projects.

From the point of view of the company, Agile methodology might be in conflict with the expectations. Company management want to get an information about: when it will be ready and how much it will cost. It is required to start the advertising campaign or plan other activities. Is Agile project management possible and efficient?

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