Blog | 06.10.2013

Proactively Solving the Problem of No Problems at Work

When you see a bunch of good-looking people rent out a mountain cabin or a lake house for the summer, and especially if it is set in the middle of some of the most breathtaking scenery you have ever seen – crisp blue skies with fluffy white clouds, lush greenery, and clear deep blue waters with hardly a ripple in them – you just know there’s going to be trouble. Either they will find the cabin haunted by some evil presence, or they will be stalked by a psychotic serial killer, or there will be a gigantic crocodile or anaconda or something beneath those seemingly placid waters or maybe some other form of horror will inevitably visit them.

Yes, that’s just how Hollywood horror movies usually work, and they’ve conditioned us by now to expect something bad when everything looks all fine and dandy on the surface. But when it comes to work, we just take the fine and dandy at face value – maybe we momentarily forget our Hollywood conditioning, or maybe we just don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth for fear of discovering it is a Trojan one. Whatever the case may be, more often than not we tend to become complacent when things are going well at work. Or as we call it – the no-problem problem.

Deadlines are being met easily, the defect count is low and the client is happy. What could be wrong, right? Wrong! Here’s why –

Deadlines are being met easily

This could of course mean that your team is performing at optimum levels, but it could also mean that the deadlines are too lenient or that the project is overstaffed. Do you know which one it is in your case? Unless you know that, how can you optimize your team distribution and your goal-setting? If you knew there was excess capacity you could maybe redeploy it to deliver one more project (thus improving profitability), or you could redistribute it into projects that are understaffed or overworked (thus improving those teams’ morale and happiness quotient).

The defect count is low

Yes, it could mean that your developers are top-notch (“most of them are”, says this developer!) but it could also mean that your QA team is not spending enough time on testing, or that they are understaffed and therefore test coverage is low. It could also be that the QA team is getting pulled into more non-core activities (CFT meetings, anyone?) leaving them less time to spend on their real job. How can you figure out what’s going on without seeing below the surface?

The client is happy

This is probably not bad in itself, but could it be even better? Are you satisfied with keeping the client merely happy, or can you aim to delight the client? Go beyond the brief and give them a moment of pure, unexpected bliss. But you wouldn’t be able to do that, would you, without appropriate insight into how your teams are getting their results?

And how do you get those insights? Enter Sapience. For those who came in late, Sapience is a patent-pending productivity measurement tool that provides you all the insights you need – when you need them, how you need them and where you need them.

We all know life is not a Hollywood movie but even here if everything looks good on the surface there could still be plenty of trouble beneath it, and unless you can figure it out and address it in time, you could find yourself waking up one day to someone in a Halloween mask with a hatchet in their hand standing by your bedside.

Only, it won’t be a movie this time.