Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Interviewing (viewing internally)

May 2, 2013

Dialogue by Sharon Mollerus from Flickr, Some Rights Reserved

Some notes from my experience interviewing people in project context.


  • I propose two possible dates, making sure there is time in between for writing down what I’ve uncovered.
  • If it it’s not clear who fits the role I need, then I describe what he does and his responsibilities. Also, I state the main goal and topics of the interview I wish to go through.
  • I find two, maybe three, interviews per day is my maximum for really good interviews. Beyond that I can’t do it well – it’s demanding and draining.
  • In one paper sheet I list the context, goal and topics (preferably the interviewer already knows these beforehand) and put a few open questions that I can recall during the interview. I check them out at the end just in case.

Doing it

  • Throw first, present yourself and context: why are we here? Then what you want to know.
  • Begin with easy, non threatening questions, to overcome fear.
  • Look for interesting topics that come up. Rephrase them – that ensures you confirm your understanding and shows real listening attitude.
  • Allow for time, don’t rush the interview.
  • Be quiet (hard, really hard for me) and let them finish what they say.
  • I prefer a plain notebook and a pen. No computers. It’s a barrier.
  • At the end I always thank for the time and ask permission for further questions just in case I need more information.


  • Reserve 30 minutes right after the interview to jolt down your fresh notes in digital form. Trust me on this one.
  • Sometimes I use colors to isolate different types of information. This way I don’t have to force a structure in unstructured notes and still identify higher level qualitative information. More on this here from a previous comment.

Stakeholder – Advocate, blocker or Swiss?

February 27, 2013

Stake, by tonZ, Flickr, Some Rights Reserved

Stakeholder – A person with an interest or concern in something.

Stakeholder is someone with power and/or interest in what you are doing. Thus, a deliberate assessment of who’s who supports expectation management through careful communication.

I think you are a stakeholder on this, lets hammer this in three parts.


The People factor

February 22, 2013

People from Flickr by id--iom, Some Rights Reserved

People from Flickr by id–iom, Some Rights Reserved

Changing people is challenging.

Efforts to put processes working depend mostly on the human factor, regardless of how well those processes are designed and adapted for the organization.

Quite recently we had to change the way we visually represent decisions in processes because we forgot people resist too many changes in one go. The customer is always right (even if he expresses it the wrong way).

Useful aspects to consider when (gasp) changing people:

  1. Establish a rapport (consider checking Dan Pink’s “To Sell is Human” book), ask “where are you from?”
  2. Listen hard, don’t interrupt. Rephrase key messages you got.
  3. Never asssume
  4. Ask them what works!
  5. Do your homework: who are the stakeholders? What moves them?
  6. Use great stories – we are all  story-junkies
  7. Give it a name. Brand it. Check Seth Godin

Dear reader tell me: Where are you from?

(Kudos to Paul for bringing forth this topic.)

“Every individual has a role to play”

February 14, 2013

Now for a really yummy topic.

Rugby Team, by Sam Saunders from Flickr - Some Rights Reserved -

Rugby Team, by Sam Saunders from Flickr – Some Rights Reserved

Googling the word role yelds: “The function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation”. The ending text “in a particular situation” reminds us that roles are meaningful when anything is actually being done by someone within a context – whenever a person acts for a given role in real life.

While modeling processes (for instance using BPMN2.0) roles help define what competences one must have to successfully execute a set of activities without specifying real people.

Just like in a scripted dialog for a Broadway play. (more…)

Mush and Room #2: Set a Goal

February 10, 2010


Set a Goal (a talk between Mush and Room)

Mush and Room #1: Growth through Delegation

February 3, 2010

Growth through Delegation

Growth through Delegation (a talk between Mush and Room)

State of the Art of ITIL… It’s the people!

November 26, 2009

Ponte Vecchio - Crowd, by Tom Stardust at Flickr - some rights reserved

According to Hornbill’s study report written by Mauricio Marrone (published September of 2009), the main barriers to ITIL adoption are (barrier with most responses at the top): 

  1. Lack of resources ([people] time or people)
  2. Cultural resistance to organizational change
  3. Maintaining momentum/progress stagnates

These barriers depend on that fundamental little element on organizations: People. Whence, IT management and IT Governance must align execution and responsibility with envolved people to make sure producing relevant outcomes on time does happen. (more…)

Effective Decision – Magic?

June 8, 2009

Conferring after the call - por Jean-François Chénier, Some Rights Reserved - Attribution, Non-commercial

Conferring after the call -by Jean-François Chénier, Some Rights Reserved - Attribution, Non-commercial

Steve Romero, wrote a comment over a podcasted interview on IT projects and initiatives failure, defending how three orchestrated disciplines can address the core People issue:

  • Governance: Making sure the right people are accountable for addressing critical decisions
  • Process management: The decision process is feasible and doable
  • Organizational change management: Assuring people become comfortable and make their own the organization government processes, support business processes and human behaviour changes in order to make the most of technological solutions

Regarding the latter, Organizational change management, I call magic to the moment during a project when people adopt the subsequent change.