Projects
My life at work - the trials & tribulations!!

Changing Perspectives

Every assignment brings a fresh set of challenges to the fore. It is very important to maintain a positive attitude to adapt to the situation on hand. It is vital to be able to un-learn and re-learn new tricks. This is one circus that doesn’t permit laxity.

I’m writing this piece to highlight the differences I’ve observed over the last couple of months between 2 organizations. I’ve had the pleasure of being in Lionbridge (LB) for over a year and at NIIT for a period of 3 months.

This is my personal opinion and you are welcome to debate it.
Both the organizations are in the E-Learning business for sometime now. NIIT has been around for about a decade ahead of LB. They both serve US & European clients. The parameters for effective project management remain time, cost and quality for both these behemoths.
One difference you’ll observe at the very outset is the concept of bread and butter. E-Learning is BREAD at NIIT & it’s only BUTTER for the folks at LB. Their bread is Localization. Hence the perspectives vary. There is a perceptible difference in Project Management maturity between the 2 organizations. Things that are taken for granted at NIIT are still in their infancy as far as implementation goes at LB.
Here’s a list:
  • MS Project – Enterprise edition – SAP implementation completed at NIIT. This is still in the conceptualization stage at LB.
  • Centralized budgeting – with inputs available from all PMs – completed at NIIT. The PMs at LB are less than adequately coached on the nuances of project management. Hence their exposure to budget sheets is the Revenue recognition sheet which they fill up dutifully every 28th of the month. I’m not saying that NIIT systems are perfect – but at least they’re getting there.
  • Manpower management – centralized pooling of resources allows the PM to assign members online and manage their time. This is not used effectively because the attitude towards using the system correctly hasn’t been developed. The folks at LB may not be able to manage the leveling of resources for want of a system. The PMs at NIIT wantonly avoid the basic use of the system and leave it at that. So, they end up having resources assigned 500% tasks on any given day. Only adds to the frustration.
  • The folks at LB use the MPP effectively – at least to the extent that it is regularly updated and can be presented at any point of time. The systems at NIIT are not optimally used and so, while, a project plan exists, the people are not versed with MS-Project and it is rarely updated.
  • Risk sheets are vital to Project monitoring – we all know that. It’s just that either they’ll be created and forgotten or exist in the users’ heads. Both ways it’s a waste of human intellect. Even worse is the apathy that management has towards a risk sheet.
    Processes are very well defined at NIIT. We were still developing them at LB. The attitude of people towards process conformance is definitely higher at NIIT. Yes – there were folks at LB – who were highly process conforming. But they were few and far between. This again, is a Management intiative.
  • It is great to have a Standardized process – but every project, like humans - has an individuality of its own. This needs to be recognized and catered to. Processes & metrics are good – but they need to be open to discussion – as and when necessary.
  • Quality Audits were as rare as a Blue moon at LB. I’ve been here 3 months – starting up on a few projects – and have already undergone a Quality Planning and Audit session.
    Trainings – the measure of organizational maturity. I must have spent a good amount of time at NIIT getting my trainings done. It is part of my KRAs as well. We never thought of “training” at LB – unless there was a FIRE on some project and the relevant team members needed something special. We thought of Trainings before project kickoffs – but invariably – no FIRE – so NO training!!!
  • SME management – tried and flunked out at LB – we’ve got a decent system going at NIIT – it’s called the VENDOME – that’s SAP to the rescue!!!
  • Infrastructure – stuff that you could take for granted while executing a project. This is an area where LB has made the maximum changes in the year gone by – that’s a positive sign.

    This is as much a critique of my actions as those around me. A few tried to do the right thing, but their efforts never got anywhere near success. It’s not intended to point fingers , just a catharsis of what I’d loved to have at LB and things that I will do at my end at NIIT.
    It’s a start!!
1 comments:

Glad that u r happy at NIIT :)

I'm not a project manager, yet, so I don't know if I'm the best person to comment on this one. None the less, here goes...

I can understand the level of frustration, coz I went through the same phase a while ago.

Of course, my level of frustration cannot be compared to that of a project manager or an ID and I agree with you when you say about no trainings and SME management.

Thankfully, management has realized all this and is implementing all the areas that you mentioned.

Btw, LB has started implementing quality measures, project related trainings, SME management, etc...

I'm not trying to defend either of the two places, coz both have their sets of strengths and weaknesses.

Yups, LB does have a long way to go, no doubt. It might not be excellent and there will be wobbly times, but at least they've realized the changes and have started taking baby steps.


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