Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Incremental development

Incremental development is one technique used in Project Management to progressively develop your project scope and work, while the project is running. So rather than spending a lot of time and effort in the beginning of the project to discover all the requirements, and do all the estimates, and uncover all unknowns, you decide to start with something that allows you to begin working, and then - as project details uncover - you update your project plans accordingly.

Well, here is the great idea: why not use the same technique when developing yourself? Why not use it when coaching and developing your people?

Rather than saying you need to become somebody else in one year, or two years, or more - you can start the transformation today with one first step. You cannot expect that the transformation happens over night - you have to gradually work on you in order to change one thing, then another, and then another... and while experimenting a new style, or applying a new lesson, you will discover at some point: look where I was two months ago, and where I am today! That's progress!

You can start with little things. Let's say you love to talk a lot, but people avoid you, as you tend to occupy the whole bandwidth in a conversation. Start with one small step: whenever you feel like talking, waiting a few seconds and check if somebody else would not like to say something. Only then you can continue - but watch for the reactions of the other, and if they start to feel annoyed, stop - let them assimilate, and then maybe you can continue. It will be very hard in the beginning, but with every day you will become better - until it builds as a skills, rather than something imposed.

Then, you can work on the amount of complaints you raise - if you do it often, you might think: what if, instead of only complaining, I also bring a solution? what if I can change things, so that next time it will work as expected? After a few iterations, it will be less and less difficult to focus on solutions, and it will be very hard to complain, since you already have the solutions at hand.

So now you are a good listener, and a problem solver! And... it took you only a few weeks! Think about the next big thing you want to change, split it into smaller chunks, and work on those... then you will see the effect on the whole!

And who knows - you might be the go-to person for a wider range of issues, and your opinions will now be listened to, and you might even be the next coach for somebody who talks a lot :)

So... don't just say: "I want to be recognized as the best", but work towards this goal - and do this step-by-step.

Do you have other views? Do you think a workshop can truly change you? What makes a difference?

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