Git ‘r Done (part 2)

Someone recently forwarded the following article to me: “Get Shit Done: The Worst Startup Culture Ever”.  Before reading it I was a bit ready to disagree. (see my previous post on getting stuff done.)

But after reading this article, I have to agree with the premise of the article; and point out I think there’s two different ways of looking at what “Get Stuff Done” can mean.

At my current assignment, a coworker and I were joking about how some people had some many letters after their name like PMP or CAPM, PMI-SP and the like.

So we joked we needed some letters and we settled on GSD – Get stuff done.  At times on this particular project we seemed to be the only ones accomplishing much or caring about accomplishing much. We had one person who was more concerned with the agenda of the meeting every day (yes, daily meetings to see why the project wasn’t getting done.  With 5-6 people in that room, that’s 25 or more person-hours per week of discussing why things weren’t getting done.)

So in that context, “decide what your goal is, and actually GETTING IT DONE” I think “Get ‘r Done” is an important concept.

On the other hand, I have seen (and fallen prey to myself, both as a manager and as a employee) of the “Get ‘r Done” attitude in the above article.

The project above I was working on never got done.  It wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of myself and several others that it didn’t get done.. It was though for the lack of effort on the part of management that it never got done.  At one point they asked me what could be done to make sure the project could be completed on time. I gave them several examples of areas where they could put some pressure on another group to streamline some procedures.

I was basically told that wasn’t going to happen, and that I had to work harder and “get ‘r done”.  At this phase of the project, I needed 4-5 items from another group and the other group had a policy that each item needed a separate ticket.  Each ticket had to be done sequentially and could only be submitted when the previous ticket was closed out.  Oh, and their policy was 2 weeks per ticket.  Period.

So, by my math, that’s 8-10 weeks. That assumes every ticket goes smoothly, which had not been our experience with this other group.

The project due date was in 6 weeks.

So, I was being told to get things done, in an impossible fashion.  Talk about demotivating.

In general, I’ve been my best as a manager, when I’ve been given the tools to let my team get the job done. It may be buying them dinner one night as morale boost. It may be making sure no extra work gets thrust upon them, or keeping certain other managers from trying to add to their work queue. In one case, it was buying a new NAS so we had enough storage space that we weren’t getting paged every night about diskspace issues. When properly motivated, people can move mountains and better yet, can often do it in a normal work week.

So, if you want to get it done, make sure your team has the tools to do their job, aren’t being distracted, and aren’t being given reasons to have low morale.  They’ll move mountains for you. But ask them to work harder without any of the above, and sooner or later you’ll find yourself without a team, and your boss simply asking you to work harder!

By the way, on that NAS, I think that $5K investment probably helped keep a key employee of mine from jumping ship for greener pastures.  That NAS was probably a better investment than if we had tried to offer him another $5K to keep him happy despite the lack of sleep from all the pages and other issues.

Moral: You want them to “get ‘r done”, give them the tools they need, remove barriers and keep morale up.  They’ll get it done.

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