Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Processes, Systems and Goals

A lot of the work that I do in my day to day revolves around processes and systems. How do we manage customer cases more efficiently, to get them to the right engineer with the right skill set in the least amount of time? How do I measure my team's performance? How do we make sure all the various stakeholders in a given situation receive the proper information that is important to them and get it to them quickly? I could list a hundred more challenges that we have created processes to solve. By creating a process, you can ensure that you are able to repeatedly conquer the same challenge and focus your efforts on the important work that needs to be done.

The key, however is not the process but the specific goal. Blasting an email to the entire company list would achieve a broad goal of communicating information. Without the focus on the specific, getting the right information to the right people without distracting people with unneeded noise, the odds of this process being successful is very slim. At Citrix, from the top down we are very good at setting a goal and then adjusting our process to meet it. This type of thinking does not have to be limited to your work life.

It sounds cold and analytical, but setting goals and processes in our personal lives can actually be very freeing and motivating. Over the past few years, when I've set specific goals for myself invariably things in that area of my life have improved. Any reader of this blog is well aware of my fitness goals and the running that I've done. I set a goal, devise a plan, gather data and track metrics, then adjust my process to target my goals. I've tried to tackle my personal finances, my weight loss and even career and education with in the same manner.

I'm certainly not conceited enough to think that I've been 100% successful in everything or that my way is the right way. I certainly wish I'd figured this out in my early twenties and not in my late thirties, but since I don't have a flux capacitor, I can't go back in time. I steal ideas from others all the time. I believe in art that is called inspiration. But for the most part in the last few years I've been able to pull things together fairly well. In the next few weeks I'm going to do some posts that talk about what I've done in each specific area of my life and hopefully someone out there can steal some of my stolen ideas to help themselves.

If anyone has any requests or suggestions, drop me a note, I'd be happy to hear them.

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