The 2006 was truly amazing year. We have accomplished so much - we have created the West end development centre, brought in and started several projects, completed phase 1 of employee conversion, started benefits program, ESOP program, redefined the company visual presence, grew the business and the company size considerably and created foundation for future growth.
Most important achievemnt is the fun factor - I am again looking forward to go to work - and again since the Montage days the synergy is coming back. Thanks so much to all of you who helped it happen.
It was also very educational year. I have learned a lot about what running a business really means. Many things are so easy to understand, so common sense that you did not appreciate them, until the situation forces you to think hard and recognize the obvious.
Here is seven common sense truth I have re-learned in 2006
1) Hire by attitude, not by skills
Attitude indeed does determine the altitude. Skills can be acquired, and helping people to grow in their skills is actually fun. The attitude is very hard to acquire and even harder to get rid off ... after certain age it is barely possible.
2) Dare to risk
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we had waited with the new project until the contract is finalized, everything detail is clarified, all i's are dotted and all t's crossed, we would be still waiting. Now, we have made nice progress and are well on the road to completion.
3) Work with client, not for client
Having mixed team - your own with customer's people can be both blessing and curse. We have decided to make it a blessing. And it became one.
4) Prefer BFD to PFP
The BFD - bad first draft gives more value than Perfect Future Plan, for two simple reasons: the change invalidates much less the skeletal implementation than the plan and b), with BFD you have already made the first step, you see what is wrong and things are moving. Getting an imperfect solution and apply series of fixes is often the only practical way to completion - however wasteful it sounds - because with getting to BFD you have learned a lot about the business and environment what none PFP would ever reveal. This is especially true when you work against incomplete or ever changing requirements and scope
5) Visual approach is the best
Use cases have great value, but without user interface draft they may be (and will be) misunderstood. User interface mockup - even paper or whiteboard one - adds great value in removing the inclarities and validates the workflows in the use cases. See this book for more information
6) Gradual changes win
Series of small improvements has better chance for success than an ambitious attempt to overdo the whole thing. If you are lucky, the small improvements you make will support and amplify each other -as the positive feedback. An example: since 2000, saved probably hundreds of hours of desperate searching by simple change: I dedicated EXACTLY ONE spot where I always hang my car keys after I return home :-). No rocket science - but how useful.
7) Multitasking considered harmful
The better you manage to get everything else, except the one thing you are attending to, out of your head, the more success and fun you will enjoy. You can dress this simple truth to wide variety of psychological (The Present) and even spiritual packaging (mindful awareness of Zen, the Power of Now) but the basic message remains the same. Focus on the present moment. Wherever you are, be there. Trying to go to two different places simultaneously will get you to neither of them. So obvious ... and so true.
Looking forward to new obvious truth I will discover this year :-).