Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Mythical Nitin

Some years back, I was handed over charge of a new team. As always, I was taking it slow in trying to understand the team from the team members and from the stakeholders.

The stakeholders had a lot of feedback, as they usually do, when a new leader takes over. And in trying to go back to the team to see their view on the same, I ran into Nitin.

There was new technology lying unused. The teams response, "Only Nitin knows how to use it".
There were processes that were broken. The teams response, "Nitin created this process".
There were reports that were not being sent. The teams response, "Nitin used to send those reports".

The list went on and on. For everything, the buck seemed to stop at Nitin. Nitin clearly was a superhero of an employee. When he was around, everything seemed to run smoothly. Walls were scaled. Crashes were prevented. The bad guys were defeated. And all was well in the world.

The only problem. Nitin was no longer a member of the team. Indeed, he was not even an employee of the firm for atleast 6 months at the time I had joined. And yet for every problem, the teams answer was Nitin. At one point, I contemplated calling up Nitin and meet him to meet this mythical superhero.

But for the stakeholders, no Nitin existed - atleast in their conversations with me. And they did not care, rightly so. For them, processes were broken and service delivery was affected.

As I investigated further, I discovered that whatever Nitin did was of his own personal interest. The process was never institutionalized. And it was not uniform either. It was a one off attempt that broke when the 'hero' left.

My learning in this whole experience was that, if processes ran well when you had one person in your team, chances are that the process never existed in the first place. What good is a 'process' if it depends on a single 'person' to be maintained.

1 comment:

  1. May be its illusion of control that people don't want to give up on.. "If I give up or industrialize what I know company can fire me any day ;-)" Those can be lines of thoughts


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