Will You Miss Me If I’m Gone?

Recently read this news on TechCrunch: Secret App Shuts Down. Details here.

It raises some questions and the answers to those questions come with an opportunity to reflect on important something. Here’re the questions:

  • How would your app users react if you take the app down?
  • How would your clients react if you stop providing your consulting services?
  • How would your employer react if you put up your resignation?

If you stop doing your work, will that be a setback for them?

If your app is a clone of a popular app then no one would ever bother to notice if it is taken down.

If the quality of your consulting services is like just another consulting provider available next door then your client’s reaction might be, “Hmm, let’s hire another one!”

If you are like just another worker, it might be better for your employer to let you go and hire a new one for a less price although it sounds counter-intuitive at first.

But when the “who” becomes more important than “what,” the scenario changes.

Your work matters. Your app is missed if it is gone. Your consulting services is missed if someone else is providing that. You’re offered premium to stay and do what you’re doing.

Become the “who” that is missed and success might never miss you. This thought connects me with the Paul Graham’s classic article – Do things that don’t scale.

Perhaps being the “who,” who is missed if he’s gone is the most effective mean of getting your next gig.

Here’ gig does not mean just a job, it means live performance :).

So, what would you do so you’re missed when you’re gone?

The Vision Thing

Same school. Same teachers. Same facilities. Same company. Same Processes. Same environment still some people do a great job while the others, just do a job. The difference? Ability to see.

Ability to see is directly proportionate to your thinking pattern. Possibility thinking or Pessimistic thinking.

When everyone has the same Mac and the same iOS SDK, the difference between hacked app code and great app code is just one thing – the ability to see. The vision.


When you limit yourself in a particular title and do not think you should be doing whatever it takes and when you fail because of that very thought, the responsible for that failure is just one thing – the ability to see. The vision.

Seth Godin has written a great post on learning how to see.  A must read. An excerpt:

Seeing, despite the name, isn’t merely visual. I worked briefly with Arthur C. Clarke thirty years ago, and he saw, but he saw in words, and in concepts. The people who built the internet, the one you’re using right now, saw how circuits and simple computer code could be connected to build something new and bigger. Others had the same tools, but not the same vision.

Imagine what’s possible. Make impossible I M Possible and make things happen. You don’t need an invitation to make something happen because you see it that way. Most need. You need not.

The way I see it, each individual is a startup. A startup, which she has to make profitable. By the results she produces. By the difference she makes. By making her existence worthwhile. A startup has less of rules and more of actions powered by ability to see what’s invisible to non-startups.

How does it work? It doesn’t have to be a fact. It has to be a belief.  How you see it is instrumental about what you will get. If you don’t see something then it is unlikely that you’ll get it. The only exception is that someone else has seen it for you.

Don’t rely on other’s ability to see for yourself. See yourself make the startup (read YOU) work. In closing, reflect on what Hellen Keller said,

“The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.”

You know that you’re not born to be a pathetic person. You are born to thrive. Go, make something happen.

Photo credit: chanpipat/Freedigitalphotos.net


Lean Thinking and Project Management

Reading an interesting post on lean thinking and project management by Ian Needs of KeyedIn Solutions on Zen PM blog.

The post talks about Lean Startup principles from Eric Ries and how those principles can be applied to Project Management.

While all other advice is good, I liked the mindset to create Minimum Viable Product approach. Here is why I liked that:

1. It is very natural to how life (or business) works. Ian writes:

For you, that’s a minimum viable project. Pilot your project on a very small scale, then measure and learn as you execute. By the time you initiate a larger-scale iteration of the project, you’ll already have collected a lot of valuable data to help you optimise the process.

2. It eliminates inaction.

Initiating large projects takes a lot of time and it is difficult to move the ball ahead. Starting small has a natural benefit. People’s mind perceives that it is a small thing so even if it fails, its impact would not be that big. While this is just a perception, but it smoothens the actions.

3. It just fits

It fits with the approach I have subscribed for this phase of my life – Living a focused, minimalistic life.

The whole post is pretty informative and good. A must read I’d say.

Hundred and One Life Tips from Nicholas Bate

I’m a big admirer of Nicholas Bate and his style of effectively presenting bite sized information married with numbers. He has a very different way of presenting, touching your emotions and ignite actions.

Some gems:

  • #16: Your start-up will take three times as long as the spreadsheet predicted to become profitable. Make the adjustment now and you will be fine.
  • #29: Talking beats e-mailAnd sometimes hugging beats talking.
  • #56: Cars were meant to replace horsesNot walking.

And the complete Life Tips 101 post here.



On Keeping the Schedule Secret

Reading an interesting article on time buffering on pmStudent.com. The article talks about if time buffering is dishonest.

The project manager wants to be honest and straight and want to convey the actual release date to the team and find out a win-win way.

Josh has shared his thoughts that are in alignment with what a general good practice should be. That is to be open and honest to a maximum possible extend with the teams, customer and sponsors.

Having said that there are times when Time buffering might be a part of risk mitigation strategy. If keeping the Schedule secret is initiated by the Sponsor or Customer then there are cases where the Project Manager has to respect that.

As a project manager, your primary focus should be to ensure that the project is delivered by the Schedule. Secrecy of the Schedule itself cannot be considered as an dishonest act. If it is confidential, then it is confidential.

But if you keep the secrecy of the Schedule for your own hidden intention then it is a dishonest act and should be avoided at all costs.



What Triggers Your Impatience?

Reading an insightful post from Michael Wade. Title of the post is “Patience and Impatience”.

The post is about human behavior. How we choose to be patient or impatient in given situations and what triggers our that very act.

Michael has listed three of his triggers. Here are four of mine:

  1. Only thinking, feeling and being on the effect side. No execution.
  2. When a team member assures that he would complete the job by set time, he doesn’t completes it and is ready with reasons
  3. Deathless execution.
  4. When someone teaches me “what” to do when they don’t know what he or she is doing

I consider these triggers a known improvement area. Have to do something about it.

On Project Customer

Do you know who is your project customer?

Those who have habit of learning project management via internet know Elizabeth Harrin. She has written a  book on Customer Centric Project Management, which has just been released.

She has written recently about who is your project customer in a recent blog post.

Elizabeth says, “Project customers are those stakeholders with a significant vested interest in the outcome of the project.”

Why project customer is important?

The reason is simple – he defines what “value” means to them.

Managing project from just the Scope perspective is conventional; managing project from Customer perspective is little different.

It requires keeping in constant touch with the project stakeholders, maintaining continuous communication with the project customer and ensuring common understanding.

To me, customer centric project management means working collaboratively with the project customer rather than investing more and more time in negotiating what is right and what is not.

Sure, it requires a different mindset and application of project management knowledge but I think that’s where the world is heading.