I was having a very challenging yet interesting last week, and thus a lot of ideas and thoughts started crossing my mind, regarding how to get something done more effectively and with more confidence of getting them done right. It was a demanding week on the personal as well as professional front, but then when I started probing myself, pushing myself to deliver better, quicker, and more efficient outcomes, I figured out I am reaching to few same conclusions. All questioning was leading to a few similar characteristics that I believe can be generalized as 3 Ps of effective delivery.
Let me just quickly touch upon the term ‘delivery’. Delivery by itself is a broad term. It has different connotations depending on where it is used. Simply put, it is to come up with a required and agreed outcome. For example, cooking a scrumptious meal, sending a courier to a recipient, conveying a message to your friend, creating an architectural design, analyzing the data for useful inferences, developing a breakthrough software application and generating complex spacecraft algorithms. Each one of these have a specific goal and achieving it is nothing but completing the delivery. Of course, every other example involves different inputs, different environmental impact factors, and varied complexities. To deliver each of these, and rather any other example, it requires different skills. However, what kept my mind busy and what I noticed is the fact that irrespective of the skill, there is something more basic yet important that will determine the effectiveness of your outcome. This is where I identified the three Ps to effective delivery, according to me. And those are – Preparation, Patience, and Perspective.
Dictionary Def: The action or process of preparing or being prepared for use or consideration.
I cannot stop myself from appreciating the impact of this one. It sounds obvious. You prepare more you deliver better. The key here is the level of preparation. I will share two quick examples which I encountered this week. The first one is when I took my son to a club cricket match. This match was after a big gap, due to all the exams season. While not many matches were conducted, but routine practice at the academy continued. I was elated to see the bowling performance, which I know is thanks to tremendous rigorous practice sessions. At the same time, what I also noticed was the impact of lack of match practice on his batting. He didn’t do bad, but not as well as could be. On the contrary, one of the opponent players (who happened to play a lot more matches recently) had a lot of match practice and was outstanding.
The second one was where I witnessed one of my lawyer friends presenting his arguments to support his case. It was phenomenal to see the level of details, facts, and legal intricacies he was prepared with. The outcome was so evident. He closed his argument with almost an unsaid stamp of victory. While at the same time the opposition, who was supposedly prepared, looked lack lustre.
While these examples might not convey the whole picture, what I am trying to mention here is the power of preparation. Every one playing a sport practices, everyone coming to court comes with his/her case details studies, every one who is trying to deliver something with quality and commitment must have gone through the learning or preparation. What makes a huge difference is the level of preparedness. Whether you just deliver the outcome or do it with stamping authority and effectiveness, is what differentiates you from the rest.
Dictionary Def: The capacity, habit, or fact of being persistent despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.
This one is my personal favourite. One link back again to the previous examples. I have seen players sweating it out for years, literally. Specially in India, where there is an infinite pool of talented cricket players, you need to be really patient and let that wait not impact you mentally. Similarly, for various judicial laws and ways of working, it might take years to get a decision or result in any legal conflict. Again, wait and persistent efforts is required to get through. You won’t be able to change the laws and rules to suit your situation (which you feel is justified for your case). In such scenarios one needs to be patient and abide by the systems and trust to reach a fair outcome.
There will be instances in life, where irrespective of your preparation and readiness, things will not sail through smoothly. Despite all your anticipation, things might take a different direction. Your level of preparation will help tackle these better, yet you will have to be ready to wait, just wait. Not everything will be in your control and you might have to just hold on till you start seeing results. Many a times you need to keep digging, keep searching for answers. The biggest test of an individual or a team is when they are tested with difficult times.
Dictionary Def: The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.
Perspective is more difficult to quantify and define. That’s because the point of view would surely vary from person to person. Everyone would see the situation differently. However, the importance of this factor overarches the preparation and patience aspect. All throughout your training, preparation, execution and even while being patient, your perspective towards your goal and what you are trying to achieve will largely impact the outcome. Your perspective will define your approach and the approach will dictate the output.
A fair attitude, a viewpoint to benefit together, having a healthy competition to infuse growth, such views will effectively shower great success and sense of achievement. A purpose-driven perspective will often lead to great outcomes.
As mentioned above, these dimensions are useful irrespective of any kind of delivery you are catering to. But then, let me spend some time on relating these to something I have been doing for years now – IT project Implementations and delivery. Thankfully, IT industry has done a fabulous job when it comes to defining processes, updating them timely, which means most of these characteristics are comparatively easier to implement.
Preparation = Training ++.
Merely completing the training courses and obtaining few certifications is not a preparation I am referring to. Once you learn and understand something new, may it be a technology, product, process, or a concept, you need you inculcate and implement it. Rigorous use and profound clarity will help to be ready. Prepare well, especially for the customer interactions. Be ready, be thorough, do mock runs and prepare multiple times. The trust that customer has bestowed in you, needs equal level of commitment to deliver it with accuracy and efficiency.
Patience = Trusting the process
For IT projects, may it be waterfall or agile, teams need to trust the processes they are following. Once the processes are laid down and execution is on the mark, the finish line might still be farther than anticipated. There could be new use cases discovered, new blockers identified, new data issues, new team constraints and sometimes just new budgetary restrictions. The unknowns can spike up anytime. Some could be internal to your team and organization and some could be external, out of your control. Eventually, keep learning and keep growing while you follow the process. Things will fall in place and eventually you will cross the finish line with huge learnings.
Perspective = Intent and interpretation
While IT projects are delivered, the perspective should be holistic to involve benefits for all. The thought process should not limit to just completing the project. The leadership and team should focus on quality outcome in a quick time. Not just that, but there should always be a conscious effort to add and deliver more value than anticipated. The perspective shouldn’t be limited to this. The complete delivery experience should also include learning, opportunity, and growth for all the team members while the customer goals are achieved.
This is something that I have jotted down, and I will be looking closely at these factors to validate my hypothesis about them being success factors.
What are your views on the same? Do you have any other factors that you believe help to achieve effective delivery?