Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Requirements, objectives and achievement

P1010021thumbKnowing what you want for yourself is the absolute prerequisite to making it happen. True for people as it is true for organizations. And I know it seems like a pretty trivial statement. Only it is so rare in reality that I thought it useful to post a few thought on that.

The human mind is a great tool. A compass that will guide its owner depending on what the owner asks it to look for and to build. When several people belonging to an organization, be it a company or a project, have a clear picture of what they jointly want to achieve and what each individual is in charge of delivering, then the collective (un)consciousness will help the team achieve the objective. And what teams really need is specific objectives as well as stories and visions that can appeal to their imagination, to their hearts and to their souls. It is all part of work and project design... and I personally feel design is the all-important factor of success today.

Requirements are really important in IT and properly formulated personal objectives make a world of a difference for the individual. Only the exact picture of the required result cannot be built overnight or in one iteration. And it is not solely confined to the field of analytical thinking. Imagination, creativity and dreams are also core ingredients. That is why agile development methods, iterative processes and approaches like the V-model make sense in IT. That is also why the criteria for proper formulation of objectives (see previous post on this blog) as defined by NLP make a lot of sense... and actually help people be who they really are, achieve what really matters to them and overall be happy with the life they choose to live.

Manifestations of clear objectives and requirements built with heart and mind are…

  • outstanding product or service design,

  • talent > procedures, rules, rigid hierarchies,

  • software can be tested and works amazingly,

  • people feel they are on a track that is a true reflection of who they really are,

  • companies achieve the extraordinary potential they have and amaze us (see Skype),

  • big companies keep moving and creating as if their existence was at stake... which is of course the case IMHO,

  • parents trust the path chosen by their kids,

  • democracy works,

  • countries sometimes achieve extraordinary rates of development (e.g. Singapore thanks to the clarity of vision of Lee Kuan Yew, or post-WWII germany with Konrad Adenauer’s policies, or France in the 1960s with de Gaulle’s ambition…)

  • ... and much, much more... stuff that is mostly the exact opposite of what we get in the evening news

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