It is a familiar occurrence in the corporate world, all the rewards and recognition are for the firefighters. We are have seen in citations written for rewards, mostly talks about selfless heroes who jumped in at the nick of time to solve a crisis. Then comes the glorification of a person spending weekends and day and night to solve problems.
Let’s step back, why do we have a crisis in the first place? If we analyze the crisis, we can trace it back to the early days of the project executions. Cracks in our axioms and assumptions during early product planning manifest themselves as a crisis in the execution phase.
What can we do about it?
- We need to design a system, which rewards and appreciates people who identify problems and design a solution to solve them. The reward is for the people who identify potential problems, not firefighters.
- The system needs to be designed to have a continuous feedback loop to identify problems and solve them. To enable feedback, the system should have a way to collect the data at a centralized place and analysis periodically.
- A team needs to have agile execution so that it can incorporate changes from continuous feedback loops.
- In my experience, it is better to have a separate team, which analysis the data, identify shortcomings, and comes up with a design solution to address the shortcomings.