Tag Archives: team

A company is a jigsaw puzzle – Day 41/139

Have you ever been puzzled by how a company works?

Let me tell you how.

A company is a jigsaw puzzle where people are the unique pieces of a larger entity. Each individual has a certain way they fit to the team. A person in a wrong role might feel like a close fit but in the end is found more or less useless.

The manager is the person who plays the puzzle. A good manager sees the similarities between two or more people and finds the way to fit them into the organization. Not every piece out there will ever fit the puzzle.

A complete puzzle forms a bigger picture.

The company is truly successful when all the pieces fit. When that happens it is irrelevant what the bigger picture actually is. A team with a perfect fit can be successful in anything.

What can we learn from all this?

If you’re a piece of the puzzle, make sure you fit perfectly at least with all the pieces next to you.

If you’re playing the puzzle make sure you have the right set of pieces to start with. Otherwise you’ll end up frustrated with an unfinished puzzle.

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Codin’ & pitchin’ – Day 32/139

Today we finally started developing our new social media web service. Two developers sat 11 hours straight for building the foundation in a functioning community.

I’ve worked a few years managing software projects and I can say these guys did in 11 hours what it takes a team of two 11 days in an average software firm. And they did the job with virtually zero management.

What did you do then?

I was running in circles and pitching our idea to a dozen people. Big thanks to all you who helped to develop the idea further.

One of these pitches was even videotaped so you can find the it online if you know where to look. However, it’s a poor quality video and will probably give you totally wrong idea on the whole concept, so don’t waste your time searching for it.

Where’s is the demo?

The demo will be out when it’s ready. Hopefully tomorrow. Or next week. Or Later.

Status update 3 – Day 27/139

So far this project has been an outstanding success

Four weeks ago I had no idea how much we could achieve in less than a month. What I do know is that we will do something big. Here’s a small overview of the current status:

  • Apart from myself, six fantastic and talented people have expressed their dedication for my project. A few more were hired.
  • Four multi-million-turnover companies were interviewed and all of them found our solution interesting. One of them even considered it worth paying for. All of them share the pain in the way things are currently handled.
  • 100 people were interviewed for a market study and 74 of them say they would pay for our service if it sincerely tried to help them. If it actually succeeded in helping them the figure was 95.
  • The global annual market size is estimated to be around 200–300 M€.
  • Three “big shots” in the field of web 2.0 and social media have agreed to give us an audience.

And we quote Jesus on our business plan. Can it really get better than this?

Status update 2 – Day 19/139

Things move forward at an amazing pace. Me and my team have decided to launch a pioneering social media service in the next few months.

At this point I can safely say that we will have a technical dream team to make miracles. This is what we have now:

  • Me
  • Server/hardware wizard
  • Back-end guru
  • Web usability specialist
  • Two graphical designers
  • and a hairy, tech-savvy North American beaver with an iPhone

I will dedicate my next week to finding the best people to fill in the gaps. A couple of web developers with an eye for social media will be hired.

From good to brilliant – Day 14/139

There just isn’t an idea that would be good from the start

Almost all people come up with ideas with some business potential sometime in their life. Most never do anything about it.

I’m sure even a bad idea can be turned into a brilliant one if enough people are thinking it through. Thinking and discussing an idea is the development that any idea needs to become any good in the first place.

You mean, I should share my idea with as many people as possible?

Actually I think sharing an idea is the only way to develop it further but I still wouldn’t recommend sharing your good ideas with everybody. However, most people overestimate the power of their idea and are scared that someone might steal it, so they don’t share it with anyone. Start by sharing your idea with a few friends and see where it gets from there. But don’t give up on it on the first negative feedback you get.

What about your ideas and their development?

I’m looking for one to three people to join me and submit a business plan to VentureCup. If you’re a business planning guru, that’s great. It you’re a great presenter, even better but you don’t need to be either. If you think you can positively affect the success of our team in the competition, you’re probably the person we’re looking for!

The deadline for the submission is March 10, 2010 12 noon. So you should have some free time in your hands until the deadline to participate.

What’s in it for me?

That’s up to you. The first prize in the contest is 25,000 € and if we win you can be sure to get at least your fair share. If we don’t win anything then you’ve only lost a bit of your time but might have a whole new future ahead of you.

Game over – Day 10/139

After two long days of intensive gaming, we finally completed the game today. The total length of the simulation was three years which amounted to about 20 hours of work in real life.

It was one of the biggest games ever played on the Simbu platform, nine teams altogether, competing of the same scarce resources and customers. I was prepared to tell you why and how we failed and what I learned from our failures but instead we won all the other teams by far. So here’s a short analysis why we did so well.

  1. The team. All our team members were average Joes. Four normal people with average intelligence. What a team lacks in skills and knowledge, it can easily make up in team spirit.
  2. The plan. All teams had one. Ours wasn’t too special in any way. Sticking to one’s plan and especially believing in it even when the times are rough will bring rewards. But sticking to the plan isn’t about just blindly following it.
  3. The routine. We knew who in our team did what and why. A team with a complimentary set of skills and roles is a good one.
  4. Constant learning. Just doing something better every time.

These four were the cornerstones of our success. I can’t say our team built its success on determination. Instead we trusted each other to make the right decisions. Trust and mutual respect within a team makes it work.

Our plan was based on a cost leadership strategy. All the companies had some strategy but instead of using arbitrary opportunities to diverge from ours, we chose to stick to it the best we could. That really paid off.

When the team trusts each other and there is a specific routine of doing things, there’s a good chance that all the stuff also gets done.

Finally, we had a system of making small adjustments to the ways we do things. Even minimal improvements and optimizations each quarter add up to huge savings throughout a three-year period.

The bottom line

I must say that although this course takes a lot of effort and time, it still is well worth it. What I think is the most relevant learning is that all people and teams have what it takes to be winners if they just get their minds tuned to the right frequency.