Copyright to Hessel Friedlander and Zvika Bash, © 2011
First published under Managers in the Spotlight May 27, 2011, and on this site February 2012
Zvika Bash's Recommendations
HF: What are the benchmarks used to determine successful outcomes?
ZB: We focused on three areas
- During the project - creating a clear definition of milestones and reaching them.
- At the end of the project - meeting deadlines, staying in budget and utilizing capacity.
- After the project - assessing the amount of negative feedback in the service department, assessing the amount of logistical errors. For example, the slow transportation of critical elements to the production environment, and the percentage of time that the system was down due to such errors.
HF: How do you engage people on a project that may mean that their jobs become redundant?
ZB: Every project where the old system is being changed presents a workplace danger for the people maintaining it. However, it also creates a need for learning (teaching) new processes and for executing the new way of doing business. In the current project we combined the old team with the new team. The best solution is to keep everyone employed long term and not to create fear over job losses and layoffs. We did that by training the old team for the new technology and assigned them new tasks (in this project we trained Power Builder programmers to an ABAP software which is part of SAP).
HF: What are some helpful habits that you have formed over the years?
ZB: My big hobby these days is keeping healthy by running, and that indeed has become a habit. Above the physical workout and its advantages, I find that running releases stress and is a good time to calmly think about difficult work related things.
HF: What management and leadership insights or tips can you share with us today?
ZB: I would suggest the following:
- Put an emphasis on building a team and choosing the right people - to build a team with the right combination of professionalism and connectedness. Success in building the team will produce 90% of the job. It is important to create social activities (in the right dosage) to connect the people right from the start (and during the project).
- Integrate the organization's senior management in the project using a steering committee - this helps solving problems and makes it easier to lead progressive organizational changes.
- Collaborate with people in decision-making and in building the work plan.
- Outline the project steps in detail and monitor and supervise them to make sure the progress is in the right pace.
- Decentralize and give professionals the power to make the decisions in their field (followed by ongoing supervision).