Winning Teams Basics

As Cricket world cup has completed and Australian team won it again (Congratulations to them!), and apart from few people in India. Cricket is religion for most of us. You too – Correct?

“Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi

I know we lost in Semis against Australia – But as Dhoni rightly said “it’s a sport and only one team can win”. And let’s be honest guys and girls too – When Indian team went for World cup all of us, expected that these team won’t reach so far. And here’s when human expectations comes in to the picture,  When we started winning, Our expectation raised. And we wanted team to win world cup. But my personal view is that day Australia played good cricket. And we failed to do so. But I’m sure team will take a learning lesson from this and they do better next time! Sorry for taking conversation off track. But it shows, I’m same like you! When it comes to Cricket – We become experts. I personally believe everyone should follow/play at least one sport. It teaches you lot of lessons, which helps you in real life as well! Best lesson is “Match is never end till last ball” – Follow this rule in real life. At last moment (Yes, last moment) there is a chance that things becomes favorable to you. You just need to stay on the pitch! So, whatever the tough situation you are going through. Just be there on pitch! You might be thinking – Why there are few teams, who always keeps winning? And the other one always keeps losing? (In Cricket and in real life too). And I was thinking to apply this logic, in software industry as well. Why few teams always deliver software project successfully and smoothly. And other ones struggle to do so. As per my view there are two types of teams: Type1 : You can identify them using following characteristics:

  1. People love to be at office
  2. Whatever project they work – It gets successfully delivered
  3. No weekend work (If Project needs them, they will be happy to be available)
  4. Everyone goes at home happily and enjoys his/her personal life
  5. Passionate
  6. Enjoying each others in win
  7. They are always happy and cheerful
  8. Not Stressed

Typ2 : You can identify them using following characteristics:

  1. People look forward for way to not be at office
  2. Whatever project they work – It never gets successfully delivered
  3. Always in office during weekend (Few people like to be in the office during weekend for some research or something. But I don’t count them here. They belong to first team. I would consider people who don’t like to be in the office during weekend. But have to be, as SOMEONE has ASKED them to do so)
  4. Not so passionate – Doing something for just sake of doing
  5. No team bonding
  6. Always frustrated
  7. Always stressed

Sounds similar? If you belong to Type1, then you are the luckiest person in this world. But if you don’t know how it works? And would like to understand few reasons behind it. Then this blog post is for you. If you are in Type2, then I’ve an empathy for you. And would suggest that you work out on following points. They will surely help. And if you don’t have that level of control or someone is stopping you from doing so. Would suggest – Get off the bus! So, let’s see what special Type1 team does to be there:

Disclaimer : This is based on my learnings. I am not expert on this subject. But few basics which I learnt through my journey and have noted it down. Which I am sharing with you. So, if you think something might not work for you. Feel free to ignore it

  1. Leader: I believe team and team’s leaders makes most difference. Because if leader is not secure. Then he/she won’t let team grow. And then the culture becomes worst and worst. But if leader is confident, technically sound, and smart and get things done person. Then team also follows him/her. So, while making someone a leader, please think twice. “People don’t leave company they leave bad leader/manager” And if you are a leader, then I request you to give your best. Because I believe – The responsibility what our Teachers had at School/College level, Parents had at child level, the same level of responsibility leaders have at professional level. “Good leaders create leaders, and others create followers”
  2. People : If Leader is important, Then People working in the team are also equally important. Because people get things done and NOT Process. It makes me amazed that lot of companies focus on setting up good process. But I believe have good people, the process will be automatically good. Their Hiring Process is very strict. They can identify the talent, and know how to groom them! “Only good leader’s eyes can spot, good candidates/leaders”. While Hiring they keep person’s attitude first and technical skills second. Because it’s easy to impart Technical skills than attitude!
  3. Culture  : Company’s culture also makes difference. Always hire smart people, and let them do what they think is right. Company should just act as a facilitator. See Google’s work culture!
  4. Timesheets : I agree that time-sheets are good way to track and manage your time. Because based on that we bill to clients. But at times, people just work to fill in their 40 hours. And in this process they lose their creativity and helping nature.
  5. Team bonding : They not only enjoy and spend time with each other in office. But out of office as well. They do spend lot of time together! Type2 teams works more as individuals
  6. Communication and Transparency : Communications are very clear in these type of teams. Things are Green/Red.  Anyone can speak out. All things are 100% Transparent. Feedback system is also good!
  7. Training : They have very good training process. So, when someone joins the team. He/she knows what/how these team works. Before he/she gets bombarded with so-called strict deadlines. And lack of training makes it stricter!
  8. Balanced between experience and fresher : They have good balance between fresher and experience. Because both combination is required. But as good cook knows, the best ingredient to make good food. Same logic applies here as well. Experience people brings the lot of knowledge and best practices in to the team, at the same time. Freshers brings the lot of new perspective in the team. And while working together, they share those things with each others. And at the end of the day – Everyone wins!
  9. Clear expectations : As I mentioned in #1, Leader is very important. Because Good leaders are always good in communicating expectations clearly. I believe most of the time Type2 are frustrated because of this reason. Leader and Team members are never in sync with their expectations. I think, as a leader if you let people know what is right and what is wrong. And what you expect from them. Then they make sure they do it!
  10. Allowed to make mistakes : Team is allowed to make mistakes. But yes, they are not allowed to repeat them. But as Type1 team learns from mistakes. They rarely repeat any mistake. How leaders should manage their team success and failure- Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
  11. Learning from mistakes :  As Type2 teams are always busy. They just keep running because they are busy. But they never take a step back, and think what is keeping them busy? What mistakes they are doing? How they can learn from them? And Type1 team always learn from their mistakes and shares it with others. So, they don’t repeat it. And that’s how they get things done faster.
  12. Ready to help : They are always ready to help each others, and ready to go out-of-the-way for team
  13. Competition: They don’t compete with each other, they complement each other. If they have competition. That will be healthy completion. Who commits more backlogs/tickets in this release? 🙂 And Competition stuff happens with most of us. Because since school level. We’ve been asked to be first. In Public Transportation (Bus/Train) as well, we always try to be first! But those concepts doesn’t fit while working in a Team
  14. Helps others in down time : The time is not going to be same for anyone. Sometime X is doing well, at that time, Y is struggling. And when Y is doing well. X is struggling. In all situations they help each other during someone Else’s down time
  15. Links : You may find few more points from my earlier leadership posts:

Remember TEAM == Together each achieves more! Sounds good? Have I missed something? Would be happy to incorporate your views.

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership – Nelson Mandela

Leading is like parenting!

Thanks a lot for appreciating my first article on non-technical subject! (You haven’t had a read at it? Come on, lot of people liked it, and I hope you too! — Leadership basics!)
Your motivation has inspired me to write another blog post on same topic, leadership!
Leading is like parenting!, yes you heard right! Leading is like parenting! — This is what I’ve observed and analyzed, good leaders are like good parents! Not convinced correct? I know you are an engineer, to who E=MC2 also needs to be proved! 🙂 Let me try to prove it!
Below are few of the characteristics of good leader and good parent: (Just a note : Let me repeat, it stands true with good parent/leader. If you apply negation and read it again everything will be true in other way!)




Takes care They always take care of their team members, day in and day out they keep thinking about team! Do you agree that parents do the same? Parent always think of their Kids and they take best care of them, and if they need to suffer a bit for doing so, they will do it? So, as great leaders!
Future They always think about their team’s future! What’s good for their Kid!
Appreciates They appreciate in public If they have identified any quality of their kids, they will appreciate it In public and lets everyone know!
Criticizes If something is not right, let team member know, right now. Before it gets tough to manage! Can easily let you know, what wrong you are doing!
Laugh with you and shout on you! They laugh with you, But if he/she feels you are spoiled down, just give a shout in private! And you will never feel bad on their shout. Because you know they are saying for your goodness only! They always do this for our great future!
Holds your finger During your initial days, will hold your fingers and help you to understand everything! Do you remember who taught you how to walk? As far as I know, still this point of time there is no any APP in Android/App market for doing this! 🙂
Steps back When you are ready to fly, you won’t come to know that he has taken a step back and watching you from a distance, that how you are performing! Riding a bicycle, he/she will be with you still some point of time, and still the time you realize he/she is not there, you might have learnt how to ride a bicycle!
Protective With them you feel safe, they protect you from outsiders! You always feel secure with them!
Let you fail Good leaders, always protect their team. But at times, they let you get failed! Do you know why? Because If you haven’t learnt how to deal with failure, other things are in vain. Also, failure is a lousy teacher! If success teaches you 1 lesson, failure will teach you 100! – I firmly believe that “Failure is the key to success” They know, that If you can’t manage handle of a bicycle you will fall down. So, what? This is beginning and then only you will learn to wake up and say again! I will do it this time!
When you are down, they will make you up! Okay you failed, you are down! Feeling bad? Just turnaround, good leader will be standing next to you to motivate you and help you how to get out of it! Whatever worst happens with you, they are always by your side! Because they know you are right! – And trust me with their support you can overcome any situation!
Clear expectations They Communicate expectations to you and vice-versa! If you get distinction, will get you this?
Trust you Whatever happens they trust you! Always have a full trust on you!
Let you enjoy! Let you enjoy, with task and sometime without task as well! Let you enjoy your life without any interruptions!
Motivates to learn Always motivates you to learn, something new. Even though sometime you think I’ve learnt a lot. But he/she got some plans for your future! And you like it or not, will ask you to learn, learn and learn! And you see benefit of it in a longer run! Do you remember, your parents always telling you study, study, study? And you wanted to go for Cricket, TV and Games. But they made sure that you do your studies! And see today you are Engineer! 🙂

Happy Leading! 🙂

Leadership Basics

My dear readers, thanks for your support since ~5 years for appreciating my each and every blog by your invaluable reads, comments and suggestions — It always kept me motivated! (Just a note : It’s easy to start a blog. But it’s too tough to keep it updated! Most of you must be knowing this! and I would like to thank you for your support and motivation which kept me engaged on this blog! — Cordially, thank you!)
Since starting of my blog, I was sharing Technical stuff with you, and I’m sure you must have enjoyed it! Now, going to write this first blog post, which is not on technical stuff. But on leadership stuff i.e. Management stuff.
A question may come up in your mind, Now, this guy is moving to management and will not post anything related to code. Let me correct you, it will never ever happen for sure. Because coding is my passion and can’t live without it! But thought to share leadership learning with you for following reasons:

  1. As per my experience and observation, have worked with few nice leaders (and at the same time few bad as well!) and would like to thank both of them. Because knowing what not to do takes more time than knowing what to do! 🙂 and the other ones helped me to do so very quickly! In this blog post, will try to summarize the characteristics of a good leader [what I’ve seen], it’s solely based on my observations and reading whatever I had during my working experience as a leader since 2 years!
  2. Lot of you don’t know that, there is a leader within you! (This blog will help you to identify a leader within you!) Just check how many characteristics matches with you! (Don’t worry same happened with me as well, Because before two years, when I came to know that I’ve to lead a team — I was not ready for it! 🙂 )
  3. Or if you would like to be a good leader or already a leader and would like to improve your leadership skills then also this post will help you!
  4. If you are in a senior management and would like to identify a leader for your organization, this post may give you reference pointers!

Just a note : Let me repeat, I’m not a leadership guru. Whatever characteristics I’m going to share is just based on my analysis, observations,reading and working experience!
Let’s start! (Just a note : will write pointers or one liners only. In future, will expand few points from following list If you think you need detailed explanation on any pointer, feel free to drop it in a comment)

  1. Honest — still honesty is the best policy!
  2. Give his/her best in turbulent times — Whenever any crisis happens, they are the first one to solve them! They flourish in tough time! And spot them they are the great leaders!
  3. Transparent — No encapsulation please!
  4. Learn from mistakes — Someone did something wrong, don’t worry he/she is a human being. Just analyze the mistake and make sure you don’t repeat it and move on!
  5. Back your guys — Always back your guys, mostly in tough time!
  6. Cover them — Mainly from outsiders!
  7. Be open to them!
  8. Give honest feedback — Appreciate is public variable, and criticize is private! And do it on time! — If someone did a mistake/did something good don’t wait for his/her appraisal appreciate right now!
  9. Promise — Always fulfill your promise! Or take a note of it!
  10. Never bad mouth your team
  11. Take care of them — And they will take care of yours! Even their small needs e.g. Mouse, Keyboard desk etc. It matters a lot!
  12. Communicate — Whatever small things, each one of your team member should know everything. [Obviously, not the confidential one!]
  13. Inspire/Motivate them — “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” especially when they feel down!
  14. Expectations – Communicate your expectations to them and vice-versa!
  15. Always challenge them and sometime it’s good to keep them on their toes!
  16. Know them personally — Because people perform better when they get to work what they love to work!
  17. Speak with them — Every time you should not discuss about work, sometime just have a casual chat with them!
  18. Have a one to one meeting — Monthly?
  19. Share knowledge with them — Don’t feel insecure!
  20. Always give credit to them — and never accept any credit!
  21. Do their HR process rightly on time!
  22. Laugh with them
  23. Never order them — Rather than saying “You have to do it?” you should say “Can you please do it for me?”
  24. Be thankful to them – Because they make your life simple!
  25. If they are stuck somewhere — help them out!
  26. Roll your sleeves up — If needed, don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and start coding! This is the most IMP. characteristics!
  27. Fight for them — Fight for their rights!
  28. Always be cool and calm before them! — Never let them know that you are angry!
  29. Always be accessible to them — It’s frustrating for your team mates, if your are not accessible to them whenever they need you!
  30. Quick thinker — Think quick! and mainly act upon it!
  31. Act promptly — No one likes a leader, who just takes an issue and works on it for ages, we are living in 4G world! 🙂 Take a decision and act on it!
  32. People feels safe while working with you!
  33. People love to talk to you!
  34. Always positive!
  35. Take decision and back them no matter whatever happens!
  36. Always smiling face! 🙂
  37. Focused on solution — and not the problem or the problem source
  38. Never blames anyone!
  39. Expert in the field — I remember a nice line from Bill Gates — If you don’t know how to write a good code, then you can’t be a good leader. And trust me this characteristic will only gain you respect!
  40. Passionate
  41. Problem solver!
  42. Organized! Disciplined! [Still we are agile!]
  43. Best listening skills! — Always listen you!
  44. Caring!
  45. Always ready to discuss
  46. ______________________________

You can add your leanings here!
Helpful? As said earlier this my first management blog post, please ignore my mistakes and share your views about it! Will surely work on it!
And If you would like me to expand any characteristic from above list, just drop it in a comment. Will elaborate it for you!
Happy leading! 🙂