Thursday, September 13, 2007

Getting Past M11

A few days ago there was a review when a Sr Director from US came for a visit. All the team leads presented their programs status. When things got a little heavy, my mind sort of wandered elsewhere for awhile. I was using the M-Gate as an analogy to life events. M-Gate is a corporate tool that Program Manager uses to manage program deliverables per the committed date. It tracks the main project phases like M15(Project Initiation), M11(Commitment), M7(Commitment Re-affirmed), M3(Readiness), M2(Regional Ship Acceptance) & M0(End of Life). After the review, I started to think if there's any similarity between these project phases with regards to relationship. Indeed, there is ...

Based on my understanding, I would say that M15 is the initial phase of a relationship (casual outings), M11 is where we commit to build a stronger relationship (he/she could be the one), M7 is where we reaffirm our commitment to each other (engagement), M3 is the big day (wedding), M2 is possibly starting a family (have kids) and M0 can either be eternal love (till death do us part) or separate ways (divorce). Having defined those phases, I would say that all my “programs” or “relationships” never reach beyond M11 as some of the SA checklists (relationship basis) were not met. When this happens, the Program Manager (myself) is most likely to be blamed for not managing the program well.

That is true in certain cases but at times it’s not. An example is the project scope itself (type of relationship) wasn’t clearly defined during the project initiation stage (casual outings). There was also sudden change in scope (change of heart) that delays the program delivery dates. Since all my programs or relationships never gone past M11, there's always a likelihood that a change in scope (new expectation) will happen. One is allowed to change their mind but if it happens frequently, there's something wrong in the way the program (relationship) is being managed.

Based on the lesson learnt in my past relationships, the main factor that contributes to the failure to drive towards M7 is communication. Being open is crucial in any relationship and that is something that we fail to comply. I always assume that she wants something that I could give without clearly understand her. I misinterpret her reactions versus my needs. I realized that not all of them come to me for some sort of comfort. Some basically need attention or affection for that particular moment only just to get over a certain phase. Once the phase is over, I’m no longer needed and that important message wasn’t clearly relayed to me. Another weakness I noticed is that I tend to go beyond the limits, thinking that I should be giving more of everything and that’s where misunderstanding occurs. I seriously need to further enhance my knowledge on the basic skills of “Assumptions” and “Risk Assessment”.

The only way to get past M11 is to listen effectively and act accordingly. Being open about everything would definitely help me to make better assumptions and manage the risks appropriately. If I can’t proceed M11 in my 'current' relationship, I’m not sure if I'm capable of managing a 'new' one.

I’m willing to go to the next gate if we’re ready to open up to each other. All we need is commitment ... I'll be ready if you are. There's no doubt that it is a big risk but with careful planning, we could manage our program efficiently, perhaps ultimately towards Flawless Launch.


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