Friday, November 30, 2007

If your request is REALLY URGENT,

We are constantly battling with things that screams to grab our attention. Work, significant other, close friends, family, perfect stranger all jostle for our attention. At work, we are sometimes (read: constantly) bugged by colleagues and superior who demand we drop everything we are doing and either i)help and assist them, ii)do it for them (as they are busy, duh) or just plain trying to be cheeky.

In my office, the interdepartmental memos are color coded to i) identify the origin of the memo, and rightly so the sender, and ii) to warn us of the level of importance the said memo is. Our division is coded light blue. Not too bad. Our sister organization uses green, the corporate affairs uses some kind of yellow, and the list go on, well... you get the drift.

But the top dog's office, uses the color pink. Well, i think it's practical, and the color doesn't really matter, as long as we see a pink memo with our name on it. Better drop everything else, and put that memo at the top of the urgent list. Whatever information on it is of utmost importance, if not how are we to know who deputizes for the boss when he's away in Europe or Australia or China on company business? Or whatever deemed important enough to warrants a pink memo.

Today, I 'missed' one request from a colleague. She's compiling a dossier of document, and I'm in charge for the information from my department with regards to a project. She's adamant on me sending a hard copy, whereas I suggested a soft copy, should she needs to edit/adjust any info. That was discussed in our meeting on Wednesday.

Well, the document is due this afternoon but unfortunately, I am caught in an urgent request early this morning, and the data collection and analysis took me a bit longer than usual. So, I missed her 'deadline'. She later sent an email, proposing that I send the documents to her in electronic format, should I be too busy to meet her. What did I suggest?

Like I said, if the request is really urgent... I WOULD HAVE DONE IT ALREADY.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The measure of performance

How do you measure performance? In different times and situation, performance are measured using a multitude of tools. In a manufacturing or production line, the sheer number of product would make a good case of how to measure performance. In sports, either the long or short of it would measure performance, the farther you can throw or jump or the faster you finish a race would be the indicator.

Numerous tools have been introduced to that effect and every industry is not spared the thought train. Everybody want to know how to quantify performance, measure excellence etc, well you know the gist. Now, the term to use is KPI and KPT. Key Performance Target and Key Performance Indicator.

The story of KPI/KPT in my office is a long drawn one. The so called KPI/KPT bug has bitten the mother company so now everybody has to adhere. Not enough that we draw up our targets early in the year, it is now being constantly being monitored. Some company (the Provider) were roped in, some funny software were introduced and lo and behold, suddenly we need to put in our weekly task on a what else, weekly basis into the system.

Its not enough that the system proposed to us is inflexible, the developer (I do think they are more like the reseller) does not take the time to understand our business. They expected us to adapt to the system, rather than custom designing the system to our requirement. This is where I think the approach is flawed.

IMHO, a sales office works differently from a service oriented one, more so a construction company differs from a hospital. So the approach is multifaceted at best, and it should be individualised to reflect the difference in targets and indicators. We are constantly at loggerheads with The Provider, who almost certainly refused our feedback on how to make the system more user friendly in the first place. Its like talking to a brick wall. Really.

Today, I finished my 3rd departmental audit (done manually) and in an earlier meeting, the CEO of The Provider shared that a new KPI/KPT reporting system would be introduced early next year. WTF! Are our constant fighting with the system early Monday morning (to set task) and Friday evening (to update progress, achievement etc) over the past 1 year has come to naught?

Hows that for performance indicator and target? Hahaha...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

35 and counting...

35 years ago today I was born. In a small village just off a small town in the middle of the country. The firstborn in the family. The first grandchild. The first to get straight A's.

For the past 35 years, I've seen ups and down, all around. Tasted victory and bitter defeat. Been there, done that. Well, still a lot more to come, right? Just try and have a good year ahead :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Water on the road, better slow down my friend

Last Sunday, as I was making my way home after work (yup, I do work weekends sometime), it rained really, really heavy. I can hardly see the road. The thing about heavy rains is that at times the roads will be overflowing with water and a layer forms between the tires and the road. This condition is called aquaplaning.

or aquaplaning by a road vehicle occurs when a layer of water builds between the rubber tires of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to the loss of traction and thus preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs such as steering, braking or accelerating. It becomes, in effect, an unpowered and unsteered sled.

So, as I was travelling on the highway at around 7okmh, in the heavy rain around 7.30pm, suddenly out of my left side came a 4WD, a blue Ford Ranger XLT zooming in and suddenly lost control. The rear of the Ford, skid away and I can see the driver trying to regain control of his car. The car continues to go on a spin, uncontrollably in the middle and outer lane.

I eased off my accelerator and looking into exit points. Maybe i'll go to the right, as my exit on the left is blocked by a (big) lorry. Using light pumping action on the brakes, fortunately I manage to stop in time as the Ford stops right in front of my car after it stops from spinning. I thought I heard a 'thud'. Alamak, something is surely broken, I thought... (btw, the above two paragraph happen in about 2 seconds)

Once it stops, the Ford, flashes the hazard light and proceed to a safer location. He does drive slowly right now. I stopped in front of his car and both of us looked at the (possible) damage in the heavy rain. Phew, no major problems there. He said that he do not know how he had lost control of his vehicle.

"Agaknya Encik bawak laju sikit agak tak? Lepas tu ada air bertakung atas jalan, tu yang boleh skid tu" I said. He nodded, most probably agreeing to my reasoning. "Encik, nanti jangan bawak kereta laju sangat, hujan ni, bahaya. Drive safely" my parting shot to him, hoping that he will drive safely for the sake of his family.

To the driver of blue Ford Ranger XLT, plate WJH9910, "Pandu cermat, jiwa selamat".

Shouldn't all of us, be doing that?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Work, work, work... and then it rains

It has been a working weekend for me. Being involved in sports, at times, means that you can kiss your weekend goodbye. The reason being is that, most sporting activities are held on a weekend so, there goes my weekend.

This weekend, its athletics. Previously, two weekends a month will be taken over by sailing down south. The thing about an athletic meets is that most of the time you would be staring at an empty stadium, while waiting for the (next) event to start, which usually means either every 10, 15 or even 30 minutes. This weekend, its (on average) every 15-30 minutes as we are selective about the events that we are doing.

At the stadium, on the first day, the weather plays havoc, pouring heavily before the event starts at 4pm. When we get there, its drizzling. No cameras on the field. So we are limited to the stands. No problem there, other than the wet track means one of event are delayed by 45 minutes. Bummer, as we have to wait it out. The athlete is trying to qualify for Olympics.

The second day was better, the weather holds (its downcast alright) until the event finishes. But on my way back later that evening, the skies opened and it was raining heavily. Can hardly see the roads.Lots of water on the roads, which is dangerous to speeding vehicles. But no, they speed away nonetheless, which resulted in a 4WD nearly smashing into me... ceh!