Am I a Decision Maker or Decision Breaker?

Am I a Decision Maker or Decision Breaker?

I find myself challenged more each day since moving out of software development as my full-time gig. It’s a different space on so many levels, and I have a long way to go to get to the point I believe I need to be at, to fully operate in the space of People Person.

I covered People last week. As a People Person (because Human Resources is so, urgh…), I want to be able to engage more with everyone, understand where you come from and where you want to go.

We know that people will move away from Global Kinetic at some point. I moved a lot in my early days as a Developer. It was how I learnt, and grew as a person, and as part of each business I was involved with.
A cog in the works, if you will.

Quite often, we were completely thrown into the deep end and the only way out was to do the seemingly impossible.

How?

Speaking (yes, using our voices),
taking time to prove something ‘off-book’ to present as a better option, making a call,
and sometimes, simply by failing at the task at hand and having to start
again.

Historically, the bigger development jobs were Enterprise clients. Huge teams, big systems, countless integration points, and usually at least one really pushy boss-type person who was applying all manner of threats and pressures. 

Nowadays, many developers have never taken a product from concept to production in that type of environment.

Not everyone has been exposed to the disciplines, including the
bureaucracy, of deploying to shared environments, where downtime is not an option,
where data-sources are shared by other systems,
where your software gets the blame because it is the face of an error thrown elsewhere,
or worse; where we break other systems because of something we miss.

Development in the last 10 years has become more web and mobile device focussed, and there are countless products and solutions where there isn’t a large multi-tier system in play.

Even here at Global Kinetic, our projects vary from very strictly-managed, to ones where the client has given us near free reign with how we design the solution(‘with great power comes great responsibility’).

    • For some, we manage builds, rollouts, app store submissions, and even production servers.
  • For others, the development is done by our teams, and then handed over the fence to a configuration team who handle the builds, environments and production rollouts.

All the way back to the top again.
Am I a Decision Maker or Decision Breaker?

 Apparently, I like history lessons as a way forward. I’ll work on that 🙂

 All these differences boil down to how each person interprets the situation, and the plans and decisions made therein.

 A decision maker will use the resources and information at hand and take a decisive route when dealing with a problem at hand. They will trust themselves. They should trust their team.

A decision breaker, will sit quietly, rather doing nothing, or worse, carrying on down a path they know to be wrong, until someone else makes that decision for them, often too late.

 Here’s the rub. You may be wrong anyway!

But if we all stand up and do what we are trained to do, trust each other’s
abilities; we can only end up creating more successful solutions.

Do you know what each person in your team does?
Do you understand where your work fits into their world?
Do you question each other in an honest way?
Do you trust your teammates? Can they Trust You?
What dependencies and impediments exist?
Do you know what the bigger picture is around your project?

Where it fits into the Client’s world?
Where the client fits into our world?

 If we learn what is required of us in our roles, we are then able to make the decisions needed to best deliver on what is expected of us, and probably more!

 So, next time you are uncomfortable with something:

challenge yourself to get it right
trust the decisions of others
get the right result as a team.

 Ross Pickford - Global Kinetic

Global Kinetic

We The Peeps™

Probably my favourite part of coming to work at Global Kinetic every day, for the past 11 years, is the people.

Loud people, shy people, obnoxious people, BOSSY people, timid people, introverted people, needy people. People from entirely different backgrounds with vastly differently world views and experiences.

This in and of itself is not unique, but what I feel is unique, is our special blend.

Think of it like an artisanal coffee blend. Sure, sometimes we over-roast it, add too much sugar, forget the milk, heck, even drop the container occasionally. But overall, we are a great collective. Better as the whole and not just the parts.

The quick history lesson is that we started with 5 people (with others in the wings in the hope the contracts would get bigger).
We took a risk,
gave up the safe employment option,
and essentially worked month-to-month for quite some time.

Fast-forward 11 years, and we are a family of over 80 people, with a stable business. We have not finished, and in fact feels like we are just starting. It may not be Facebook, but we are fiercely proud of where we are, and what we have achieved.
Importantly, we are working really hard at getting to the next milestone(s).

For those who don’t know, each of us in the core team are Developers. It’s how we met, how we built the business.

Mark, Sean and Hendrik are still quite actively involved in the daily development space (architecture, development and DevOps).
Gunnar and myself finished our longest-standing development project at the end of March, and for the first time are not actively developing as our primary daily activity, but rather completely focussing on finance, payroll, and people.
Loren, Sergio and Martin moved off active project work over the previous couple of years to focus their attention on the running of the core business pieces as their primary focus.

Why the history?
I think, like each one of our personal backgrounds, the history of how we have done things as GK, what we learnt doing them (or not, in some cases) is
built into our DNA. But a step further back, is that the GK DNA is 8
people’s DNA,
which in turn is influenced and impacted by 70+ other people’s DNA.

We try really hard to have Global Kinetic be the best place for people to work, that create the best quality software for ourselves, and our clients.

Does it work all the time? Of course not. We are all people.

What does that mean, we are all people?
We mess up, we make the wrong call, we communicate differently/incorrectly/not enough, we assume, we get angry, we laugh, we cry, we make mistakes.

Most importantly though, is that we try. If we don’t try, we must try harder at trying.

There have been a lot of changes over the past year particularly. To grow, and expand we have had to change processes, take up positions that didn’t exist previously, and focus more on those that were neglected. This has meant core members moving out of active projects, putting different team structures in place, moving people around as projects change. Change is hard.

In trying things, through changing things, each of us need to remember that we are all People.

Not everyone speaks the same way, interprets the same sentence the same way, or achieves the same result through the same process. We are wired differently to each other. It is why we work as a collective.

However, it does mean that the onus is on each of us, as individuals, to make that conscious effort to communicate as best we can with each other.

To listen.
To hear what the other person is ACTUALLY trying to say.
To speak, when something needs to be said.

It is important to remember that we are not all here for the same reason.

That is not only OK, it is good.
It creates the balance and tension required to question, to push back, to suggest, to grow. For some of us, Global Kinetic is our life, for others it is a long-term career, for others just a job, for some it will be a stepping-stone, and others it is an extended family. We appreciate everyone for what you are. For who you are.
We spend most of our lives with each other. We need to care for each other as best we can.

What’s my point?

Global Kinetic is a great place to be.
We do have challenging projects, communication gaps, people that don’t necessarily get along, processes that could improve.

But, we have great People who do great work!

We have so many exciting things on the cards, and I look forward to sharing those experiences with everyone here as we continue our growth, diversity, and maturity as a business of really, RAD people.

Challenges will always exist, and we would be fooling ourselves to think that every day could be perfect, and no mistake would ever be made.

It is in our collective power to improve things where needed,
and to do this we need to communicate with each other.

There is a reason we don’t have offices here: everyone is available to everyone (not all the time, every day, because, work), so please consider that an invitation.

My challenge to myself, when I started this post, was to remind myself what makes GK a great company. And it is great, something we can all be extremely proud of. At the core though, it is a collection of people. And THAT is what I love.

Ross Pickford - Global Kinetic

Global Kinetic Core Values