In Capital Deployment – tell me Paul – who’s the worthiest of them all?

All-Stars

Occasionally in these blog postings I have highlighted contributions from team players who make Capital a pathway to business efficiency for their companies.  

They were … (click blue for link)

  1.  Librarians: Without the underpinning of a complete, comprehensive and accurate electro-mechanical library your automation of engineering processes is diluted.
  2.  Product Managers at Mentor Graphics: Capital software products are architected, designed and realized into the market place by smart and talented people. The success of the software at customers is thanks in very large part to how their vision was nutured all the way out into the marketplace by them.
  3. Information Technology Professionals: They keep the application alive, they feed it with bandwidth and upgrade it and scale it and provide you with all the hardware, security, backup and configuration. Hard work which is often invisible though essential and so well done that to you it seems easy – but just imagine if you had to do it for yourself.
  4. Educators:Teach a person how to fish and they may complain that you were supposed to teach them how to use Capital instead. Every wise person acknowledges the debt they owe to teachers. It is important to go from theoretical knowledge and new immediate use of the software to a practical experience of how to apply new technologies as your company changes important business practices. As roles and relationships adapt to a new corporate direction being prepared to learn puts you in charge of your destiny.

 

 

Indispensiblest of them all.

An important question relating to deploying enterprise-class software like Capital is which one person/role is most important?   I mean pivotal, or the type of individual without whom you are really going to struggle. Who is s(he) and what it is that this person does and why is it more valuable than other contributions? Success is a team acheivement in most business situations.  However I think it is fair to ask are there individuals who are the most valuable players on the Capital team?

Here’s my answer, and I’m inviting a luminary from the Mentor consulting practice team to provide his answer to this question in a guest posting for contrast.

I have thought about this, and thought about various candidates … here are some of the distinguished runners-up.

1)      The manager or executive who signs the purchase order, who leads the team. Yes, a very important and somewhat overlooked role. Without good leadership the consequences can be short term failure or longer term loss of potential good. And no investment means there will never be a return on investment. Let’s simplify and say that in making your software a success your equation is input human endeavor + cash + motivation = yield. Leadership is the big ingredient in that formula. But a leader isn’t unique and irreplaceable, and there are many different styles of managerial and executive, and the advantages of different approaches are sometimes significant and sometimes marginal.

2)      The supplier’s roving technical support people, the restless relentless multi-talented multi-tasking application engineers. They catalyze and energize by formally, informally, creatively and repeatedly resolving problems and working on eliminating issues for the customers. Again, useful and often necessary people and at times doing essential work. But like with leadership, the subject matter experts coming your way from your account team or from consultancy practices come in many shapes and sizes. Some are adept in one part of the system to a very high degree or deep technical depth and shallow on others. Their personalities and predilections vary, and you may see different ones over time, and in different regions of your global business.  Again not unique and irreplaceable.

 

At the intersection of these 3 skillsets comes deep expertise

The key users are your expert users. 

My customer’s expert users I define as people who:

  • Are able to be straddling different domains (e.g. manufacturing and design, OEM and supplier).
  • Can listen to and understand the point of view of co-workers, commands respect for their own experience and achievements in the workgroup, advocate and participate devising and insisting on standards
  • Have the imagination to empathize with others, also the vision to see the larger corporate or process-wide interest beyond a sectional interest, and is assertive in articulating that vision, contextualizing issues. 
  • Possess openness to learning and a strong work ethic, are prepared to build up expertise by growing out of novice and intermediate stages.

 

These are the people on which a Capital implementation pivots from pilot projects to production. If you don’t have these persons staffing your organization in sufficient number and support/empower them and give them free rein and trust them, trouble will follow. 

You can lose your manager, another one will come along and slot into the role and learn the ropes. Your vendor’s application engineer may disappear, but another one can be hired and trained. 

If your expert users are not around to help you, it takes many months to elevate new people to the experience, knowledge and competence you have lost. The risk is big to your project.

Get your best people  – retain them – and keep them focused.

Safely navigate pilot projects.

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Posted January 16th, 2012, by

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About Paul Johnston's Blog

Capital is Mentor Graphics' global market-leading software for electrical system design, electrical analysis, system integration, cabling and wiring design, harness engineering and service documentation. My job title is Senior Application Engineer Consultant - that's a subject matter expert label if you don't want to work out what it means. Here are some of my observations and views - comment on them at your pleasure. Paul Johnston's Blog

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