Deadline, Chapters 8 and 9

Chapter 8 is all about deciding how the experiments will be carried out. Tompkins and Lahksa are discussing possible ways to test the experiments and how to make sense of the results. To solve this Lahksa has a solution which is collaborating with Dr. Hector Rizzoli. This doctor has done similar experiments in the past so he would be a great person to have working on the project. But they didn’t exactly ask him to work on it, they tricked him into thinking he was going to Latvia for a conference. And all things worked according to plan, Dr. Rizzoli arrived in Morovia and gave his conference to the 1500 workers there. After some days, Topmkins finally gets a chance to talk with him and ask him some questions that he has been wanting to ask him since he arrived.

The conversation starts by giving the doctor an overview of the experiments they are conducting. First, while they are experiments, they need to succeed because the products are real products that need to be done. The problem is that by failing they learn a lot more, but they also need to succeed, they need a way to achieve both of those. Topkins asks the doctor for just one fir the best chance of success. Tompkins suggests an improvement program that’s CMM. I didn’t know what CMM was, but after some reading I found that it’s a methodology for software development. CMM has five levels and as the levels go up the process is more organized and systematic. For example, at level 1 everything is chaotic and there isn’t enough documentation and at level 5 processes are being constantly improved thanks to feedback. However, that’s not a good idea because productivity improvement comes in the long term, not on the short one.

Instead, Dr. Rizzoli suggests managing risks because they are the things that take the most time. However, don’t focus on large mistakes, such as missing a deadline. It’s better to focus on smaller mistakes, and those are probably the cause for the larger ones. The best way of doing this is by detecting risks as soon as you notice them. The reason for this is because once a mistake happens, the time loss cannot be fixed. It’s better to search for the mistakes before they even happen. What I like about this approach is that I think that searching for the first symptom of a mistake can help you not make the same mistake again. I feel that if you look really closely, when you detect a mistake’s symptom enough times, you will notice the cause and be able to work on fixing it. Also, there should be a way to communicate these mistakes anonymously.

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Chapter 9 begins with NNL, Tompkins and Belinda starting to do interviews. They were still missing people, so they went to find more acceptable managers. In the first interview, the one being interviewed that he wasn’t the one being hired, it was the whole team. The team had worked together for some years. He was hired. This showed how the one being interviewed had a lot of respect for his team.

The next person to be interviewed was ex-general Gabriel Markov. Even if he had lots of money, he still decided that he wanted to be a software manager. Turns out that the ex-general had people working for an office that didn’t exist anymore, but he managed to get work with companies overseas. He had a lot of experience, he had managed over 13,000 people. One advice the ex-general gave was to cut your losses. This means, Cutting your losses means that you abandon a project that is clearly not going to make profit, maybe it will even make you lose money. I think this is a good practice, if your purpose is to make money, you clearly need to stop projects that don’t align with that goal. However, what I think is the most challenging is identifying these projects that you need to abandon. I assume that, on occasion, it can be hard to identify projects that will make you lose money. Sometimes, you only know until you have already lost the money.

Finally, there  are two phrases at the end that really made me think. The first one is about not losing a day, not at the beginning of a project and not at the end of a project. At the beginning of a project you may think that wasting a day doesn’t matter because you still have a lot of time left, but you will probably need it later. The other phrase said that there are many ways to waste a day, but not even one way to get it back. So, yeah, you shouldn’t really waste time, it doesn’t matter the situation.

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