April 7th, 2013 Posted in Business, Entrepreneurs, Product Development | No Comments »
Did you ever hear the phrase “Hurry up and Wait?” It’s the bane of corporate existence.
I first heard this phrase when I worked for a huge corporation. There is a rush to meet deadlines and prepare quickly for an activity then the feedback or next step gets delayed.
All momentum is lost.
You lose your “steam.”
You wonder why did I rush to get that [Urgent Project] done? Or, why did I give up my weekend to meet this crazy demanding deadline, when they didn’t do anything about it until the following Thursday?
Then when someone asks about [Urgent Project] it is so far from your memory that to build some steam so that you’ve got momentum and speed again, you may as well have not done the initial work. Wrapping your head back into the [Urgent Project] to get back to that focus requires another ramp up period.
The minute that we lose momentum, we lose the thread.
You feel in your bones that you wasted of time and energy. That is really frustrating.
It’s a lot less work to keep moving once you have some momentum, than it is to start moving from a dead stop. To constantly have to restart is a waste of time and energy.
Newton’s First Law of Motion: The tendency of a body in motion is to keep moving; the tendency of a body at rest is to sit still.
Steam engines propelled the Industrial revolution. The furnaces were constantly stoked to keep the high pressure steam pumping. If the furnace died down, everything came to a standstill.
No steam, no forward motion.
Do you think “Hurry up and wait” problem belongs only to big corporations? No.
So why did I call this article “Hands Cut Off, Mouth Gagged, Mind Blank”?
It is because just one “layer” can create a bottle neck in your creative and consistent execution of an project so much so that you feel that your hands are cut off, your mouth is gagged because of the time delay in being able to speak to someone, and when you finally get contacted again, your mind has gone blank.
That one layer creates is exacerbated by the lack of open communication.
Furthermore, like the corporate jungle, what could be taken care of in a 5 minute conversation, takes a 3 page report complete with diagrams. Such a waste of time on busy work when that time could be poured into creativity.
For example, I am used to working directly with programmers. Using any form of modern technology, we can share screens and work in the iterative manner described above. It is fast, efficient, and your ideas are flowing TOGETHER. You don’t have to wait 3 days for the project manager to get notes to the programmer who then sends back the page for you to review filled with small errors that take longer to type up and document than it takes to go into the code to fix. Your hands are cut off from making the changes yourself, you mouth is gagged because you can’t talk directly to programmer, and so much time passed, you don’t even recall the essence of the changes that were requested. Again, lack of frequency means no steam = lack of momentum.
One of the things that entrepreneurs and start-up companies pride themselves on is being nimble. You hear about Silicon Valley start-up cultures that create fast-paced tech environments….young startups are traditionally early adopters of new technology and business practices. They work quickly using the incremental build approach.
The “incremental build” approach gives you small, rapid successes to keep you focused and on the right path. If there are great time lags between experiencing incremental successes it drains momentum. Rapid incremental successes will help you build momentum and boost confidence.
In our global world, many of us are dealing with people across different time zones, different holidays, and life commitments. Consistent execution is paramount: it keeps your head clear and focused; it rewards you with a constant feeling of progress; and, most importantly, it keeps the steam engine moving forward.
So remove the layers, keep the lines of communication flowing with frequent active conversations, even if in short bursts, so that your hands remain creative and your mind focused.
When it comes to creative execution, the key is to get moving, and keep moving. When it comes to momentum, frequency of execution is perhaps more important than the duration of execution.