My excuse for no blog posting has recently been a very good one. Thanks the generosity of my employers and the miracle of new life I have been on extended paternity leave. Now I’m back and raring to go again.
My experience brought to mind the African proverb with a few variations which is in English summarized “it takes a village to raise a child“ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Takes_a_Village. To stretch the analogy I was well digger, dairyman, tailor, laundryman, waste disposal expert, heating and cooling engineer and took on lots of other roles only for three months and not all day every day at that. One of the many great things about new babies is that everybody loves them and everybody loves to help you do your work.
So I was thinking when I came back to my office in Detroit what collection of expertise is needed for a deployment of a software system like Capital. Capital has a large capacity to implement a re-engineering of design and manufacturing processes for our customers. Pilot projects and deployments both take collective effort.
- · A layer of leadership decide on goals and get results and to supervise and monitor the project, the possessors of authority to get things done.
- · The early adoption team to pathfind are specialists with in-depth knowledge of the way things truly work whose wisdom is put to work to fashion a practical application of the software.
- · Process experts are like scribes who write down the process, capture the methods to be followed, and then are the teachers who spread the knowledge through the community.
- · Then along come workers who follow the recommendations and the best practices and deliver the economic return from using the software.
When I’ve been feeding my child, changing diapers etc. and getting him off to sleep I’m the principal care giver for a time. However I didn’t weave the blanket (his Grandma knitted it), and the music is Debussy’s Arabesque featuring a piano soloist whose name I don’t know, through the sparkling clarity of the British B&W speakers which is more soothing than my singing voice, then bathtime where the rubber ducky in the American bathtub was a gift from his aunt and made in China. The supporting cast is vast.
Now I’m back at work helping customers again, but it takes a village here too, not just little me alone. There are some other Mentor folks like the programmers and the product managers who put in the new features, and the consulting group often play role in customer success. But the most important contributions come of course from the customer. The customer’s librarian worked hard to populate the definitions of devices and connectors. The customer managers reshuffled priorities in order to send people to training, and one engineer does one phase of the electrical design and hands on to another. Co-operating between OEM car maker, supplier and software tools vendor is taking place – different engineering groups within these organizations have liaison meetings and adjust behaviors and improve the processes and operate software tools to gain efficiencies. The customer’s team is the most important factor in bringing success.
The villagers – people are the number one asset.
I know a much more than a fair amount about Capital having been with it from the start. But I have come back to work from my paternity leave with a refreshed understanding that on my own my help has limitations. Successfully getting the most out of Capital you need more than a single person – a lot of people have to show up for duty.
In a manner of speaking like the prosperous village needs a canoe builder, the shoemaker, the carpenter, the herbalist, the shepherd, the stone mason, the potter, thatcher and schoolteacher. You need the village people in a sense – but not the in the sense of the dancing and singing pop group who had success in the late 1970’s – the cop, the native American, the construction worker and the leather-clad biker and the cowboy who collectively helped the German national soccer team to sing their official World Cup 1994 song. You can stretch analogies too far like this.
CHS succeeding in an enterprise is a collective effort.