Girl under the waterfall

    I don’t know about you, but I like to learn from people. Not only those about which they write in books. And not so much those who write these books. The living people working next to me.

    The beauty is that living people themselves do not try to teach you. Do not conduct seminars, trainings, do not take money from you. They just do their job as they can. They get something, there are failures, breakdowns, and swearing with mats. But you can learn something from everyone, even if on the whole a negative opinion is formed about a person.

    I had occasion to work with one girl - the best project manager of those that I saw. In general, relations with her have always been strained, sometimes turning into open hostility. For several months she was my boss - apparently, therefore, I did not like her for a very long time. In the last year of my work in that company, it happened that she became my subordinate, also for several months.

    For several years we sat in the same office, and I had the pleasure of watching her projects, the evolution of methods and the growth of managerial competencies. She most likely did not know that I was watching and studying. Although, whoever understands them, these women - maybe it was she Machiavelli, not me.

    In the comments, they ordered a picture to attract attention, insert. I execute.

    Now she works as the director of the design department of one of the largest and most famous enterprises in Chelyabinsk. And I sit and write an article about her.

    Short story

    When I came to that company as a programmer, the girl worked as an economist. There were no programmers before me - they worked with outsourcers, so there was no IT department either. Three months later, when I showed some results, the experiment with my own programmer was considered successful, and they decided to organize the IT department.

    For some reason, they did not consider me as a leader. In general, they did not offer, did not announce that they were looking for a leader. I only in fact found out that now there is an IT department. And this girl led him. How it happened - a mystery covered in darkness.

    Together, we worked for several months, until I went to the director and said that this could not be further. Either me or her. Well, it seems like she doesn’t understand a damn thing in automation, and she’ll only kill me with her projects. And she knew how to make the brain.

    Run away, in short. I remained the only employee of the IT department, and she headed the newly created department of quality and business processes. The period was difficult for her - she lost her department, it’s not comme il faut to go back to economists, that’s what they’ll say - but you go outside, there’s nothing to occupy you with.

    Saved her first project. Just decided to be certified on ISO. Not as it often happens - take standard processes, adapt a bit and get a certificate. They wanted it seriously, with the restructuring of business processes, full understanding, etc. In short, such a good project. This is where her career as a project manager began.

    First project

    The project for the implementation of ISO standards, she completed well. I must say that at the time of the start of this whole thing, she was not a single foot on the subject of ISO.

    Started with standard mistakes - called consultants. The first one turned out to be a felt boot. I held a seminar for all the leaders, told something for my life, issued certificates to everyone - they say that we took a course, and now we understand something. Then he was called to the company, they said - well, come on! Transform us under ISO.

    He probably did not know what they wanted from him, and answered simply. He pulled out a bunch of papers from the portfolio, dumped them on the table and said: here are the standards, take them and implement them. This ended the collaboration with him.

    Then there were other consultants. In general, they came to introduce TOC, but in the conversation it turned out that they also understood something in ISO. We agreed that they would build some of the processes together with our heroine. It seems that they decided to start with the supply - it’s logical, because TOC implementation also went into procurement.

    Carried a couple of months, and left. Of course, the company thought the consultants were bad. The consultants, of course, said that the company was not ready. CBT is not implemented, the process is not done.

    Then our girl stamped her foot and said that she would do everything herself. Not in the sense of "do-it-yourself" - she had a subordinate employee, maybe even two. She said that she would figure it out and do it herself.

    Well, as they say, said and did. I understood the ISO standards so that I could work as an auditor. Organized the work so that the whole company groaned.

    This was the second mistake. Someone thought of it that processes should be developed by those who will use them later. For example, I, then already - the head of the IT department, should develop a process for automation, infrastructure support, etc.

    The idea is not to say that it is completely flawed, there is a rational kernel in it. It seems that the person leading the process should understand best how to describe it. But there is one caveat - the process must comply with the ISO standard. So, its developer should know this standard. Even better is to understand. To achieve this on a company-wide scale, for several dozen processes, is almost unrealistic.

    Therefore, nothing happened at this stage. The girl handed out tasks to everyone, set a deadline, and the leaders scored it together. The girl, of course, did not give up - cursed, vilified with the last words at the meetings, demanded the execution of the key project of the company. As a result, some heresy was handed to her, like students in essays, and the girl finally realized that she would have to write the paper herself.

    There was already found the optimal model, which was useful to her later. I sent to the leaders of the interviewers - my subordinates. Leaders told their processes as best they could without understanding the ISO terminology (like instead of “here we store it in a file” - “records are stored in a file”). And the very interviewers did the process, the head simply signed it. Most did this without looking. There were those who read and were horrified - for example, me. Rolled out a bunch of edits. The girl came to me and said - either sign my version, or you will remain without an annual bonus. Yes, she persuaded the director to such a statement - she wanted to make a project. Naturally, this motivation worked for me - I signed it without looking.

    Well, that’s it. The processes were prepared quickly and beautifully. Before certification, the girl, of course, studied the practice of this event, knew all the pitfalls, and prepared us all. Each had a checklist, a memo, the correct words and terms were memorized, shortcuts for documents and notes were created on the desktop. The certification was brilliant. So it was estimated by the auditors. They even said it was too brilliant - no one, they say, bothers in such detail.

    Second project

    The project promoted the girl up the career ladder - she became the director of quality. In general, it’s reasonable, after all - she knew this better than anyone. Naturally, she was subordinated to OTK, one of the worst departments at that time.

    The trick was that the quality control department worked not only at the output of parts from production, but also at acceptance, and acceptance was the main responsibility. The specifics of the industry required that there be continuous, 100% control at the acceptance.

    Naturally, since the control is continuous, it can create a bunch of problems due to the timing of the check itself. The parts that are needed in production have come - please wait until the quality control department checks. Parts for resale have arrived, the deadlines are on, the car is loading, no, if you please, wait until the Quality Control Department checks. OTK hated everyone. Not a single boss could stay there for long - they kicked out when they realized that he was not able to correct the situation.

    And the girl corrected. It was such a project. Performed brilliantly, OTK has become the most disciplined, transparent and controlled department in the company.

    Here it could not do without me, more precisely - without automation. Our relations at that moment were bad, and I worked, let's say, not very diligently. Delayed, poorly tested, made mistakes. But it didn’t work, because the girl personally controlled everything.

    She needs to make a document to reflect the results of the audit - she completely organizes the whole process. Itself writes TK (although I didn’t ask), it checks the interface itself, searches for errors, poking at everything, it comes up with checks so that people make fewer mistakes, it develops forms of analytical reports to fully control the activities of the unit. Let me remind you that at that moment she was already a director for quality, and she could well delegate all this.

    Oddly enough, her energy was transmitted to me. I continued to hate the girl fiercely for her approaches to business and our common past, but even the automation that I did, I even started to like. Especially when they brought tangible results.

    Everything was simple there. Organized a fully transparent audit records. Any document included in the Quality Control Department automatically generated a certain Control Card, which reflected the results of the check. Good batch - automatically moves to the recipient warehouse. Marriage - automatically goes to the marriage warehouse. The time parameters are completely fixed - input, output, date of verification. Accordingly, each party is under full control.

    The standard check period established for quality control department is three days. Since the girl finished this project, he has never been violated - although it used to be that they checked for two weeks. In reality, of course, they checked faster, but this was already at the level of organization, and not automation. Just a girl made up some ranks of nomenclature, like ABC, and brought to all subordinates. Class A is checked first, B is second, etc. Using common sense, of course - if the client needs to ship the details of group C in an hour, then they will transfer to group A. for this hour.

    Actually, this is the end of the project. OTK has become an exemplary department, which everyone was supposed to equal. And the girl is an exemplary leader who was able to quickly and efficiently restore order in such a mess.

    Third project

    The fame of the girl, as an excellent project manager, already went through the company. Then the director just changed, he was also told about this fame, and he decided to arrange a check. The company was just about to expand, and rented an office - an entire floor in a class A building (well, yes, there are those in Chelyabinsk).

    The goodness of the project was also in the fact that a little earlier one move had already failed, due to poor organization. The project manager (another person) made a fatal mistake - he involved the entire company in the discussion of office design, and this process became endless. Some want showers, others think it's crazy - no one will ever take a shower at work. Some want open space, others are fiercely against. Some want leather sofas, others think office sofas are evil. The unfortunate designer redid the interior design several times, but the result never came close. As a result, they spat, abandoned, and postponed for some time the idea of ​​moving, as impossible.

    And our girl, of course, immediately scored on the opinion of plankton. I collected the requirements and wishes only from the top managers, carefully recorded everything and went to work. We, the lower managers, were also asked once, who wants what - just in case, suddenly the implementation of our requirements will be simple, then you can take them into account. The IT department was more fortunate than others - firstly, we have a server room, and secondly, our system administrator, of course, entered the office preparation team, and through it we influenced the choice of places, placement, etc.

    There were two main criteria for success - budget and deadline. The director wanted to move on December 1st. In fact, he did not give a damn about the date of the move, but this was a test task for our girl. Therefore, he insisted on the term.

    Yes, I forgot to say - the office building recently started up, and it was necessary not only to move, but also to make repairs, because inside was only a rough finish.

    I don’t know the details of the office preparation process, alas, because was keen on his own affairs. I know the result - we moved on December 2. That is, our Akella missed for 1 day. And the office turned out to be gorgeous. The move was quick and comfortable.

    In the evening we were given boxes, they told us to load our junk in them, sign and bring them home. Passes were issued for the office building - they were already ready, with photos, etc. They explained where anyone can park for - the company rented part of the parking spaces.

    In the morning we arrived at the new office, our boxes were already standing near the tables. I started working in a minute - I had a laptop, just got it out and stuck in the grid. The entire IT infrastructure was ready; no configuration was required. Not because the admin is great, as you know. Programmers with stationary computers earned in half an hour, of which twenty minutes walked and examined the premises of the new office. Admins ran for half a day, placed system units and monitors, connected printers, etc.

    As far as I remember, the director was not offended for the delay in 1 day.

    Methods and Practices

    Examples of projects are, of course, good, but you also need to make a squeeze of methods, techniques, chips and practices. Like, why this girl did well in projects. I will try to talk about those methods that were repeated constantly, i.e. they can be called techniques, and not random luck.


    When managing projects, the girl always used the good old model of a waterfall. The project was divided into milestones, stages, tasks. Each had a deadline and a responsible one.

    The girl is the only one who, in all seriousness, used the system I developed for project management. Actually, she ordered her. We already had a well-functioning order management system covering the entire company. Performance discipline was high because for overdue tasks deprived. She used this ready-made, working system.

    The only thing that needed to be done was to organize atomic instructions in cascades. I added a couple of entities - projects, stages - she completed them, wrote down the tasks, and they automatically turned into assignments familiar to everyone. Many did not even realize that, executing an order, they were carrying out some kind of project - a link to it was on one of the last bookmarks. And the instructions were executed at a time.

    But the girl’s commitment to the waterfall was only official, in words. In reality, she was incredibly flexible.


    Actually, if you read it carefully, then you probably noticed this flexibility. If, for some reason, the project began to stall, entered the wrong steppe, there was a danger of failure, the girl did not continue to follow the same path. After all, many continue, and then they say - and I’m Che, I did everything according to plan.

    Our heroine quickly redrawn the plan. Itself canceled all previously issued tasks that are no longer relevant, and set new ones. It did not work out with one consultant - took others. It did not work with others - she did it herself. The leaders failed - they planted their subordinates.

    The main thing for her is the result, the completed project, taking into account all the restrictions. This is the real flexibility, it seems to me - to constantly raise your head, break away from the routine of the project, look with your eyes at the goal and re-route to it like a navigator.

    Submersible immersion

    In the essence of the project, she was always immersed completely. If it implements a standard, then it knows it far and wide, and at the same time, its application practice, certification features, and the most loyal auditors. If it "picks up" the quality control system, then no worse than engineers knows how to measure Rockwell hardness, how a control and measuring machine works, and why cracks form in metal.

    I think this approach was caused by a tendency to total control. Well, so as not to deceive, do not hang noodles on the ears. When the project manager understands its essence poorly, the executors can drag out deadlines, come up with unexpected difficulties, and take time to study the issue. It didn’t work like that, including I have.

    Total control

    Once a person knows the subject area, personally sets all the tasks and keeps all the documentation for the project, then he has the opportunity of total control. Not everyone uses this opportunity, but our girl did it with joy.

    I knew the status of each task, with a very short lag - a maximum of a day or two, usually less. Which, of course, zadalbil all participants in the project. But she did not care.

    Do not care

    Two completely different people got along in it. While she is not in the project, then, as they say, on easy relaxation. And you can talk - when our interests ceased to overlap, relations improved and we sometimes talked on a variety of topics, and will help in a difficult situation and support it.

    But, as soon as she makes the project, it’s better not to stand nearby and not to chew the snot. Rushing like a bulldozer in the good sense of the word. It makes no difference to her whether you are busy or not, what your mood is, how many tasks you have in your work - it won’t get off until you do it. Moreover, regardless of your position. Even the director owed her something forever.

    Straws and PR

    I saw such a technique only with her. The bottom line is simple: periodically remind everyone that the project that she is doing is incredibly complex and important. Especially at meetings where all company management gathers.

    Not very often, so as not to get used to and stop perceiving this information. Not very dramatic, so as not to think that he complains. With a clear setting, "I'll do it anyway." With understanding and speaking out the details of the difficulties, no one will understand them anyway, but once again they will be amazed at the depth of immersion in the project.

    The meaning is simple. Everyone knows that the project is incredibly complex. Everyone knows what the hell you do. And regardless of the result, the girl, as the project manager, will be well done.

    It didn’t work out - well, if Her didn’t work out, then it’s really super complicated.
    It turned out - the benefits are twofold, because everyone knows that it turned out not something there, but Something, or There It On.


    As you understood from the story, the girl did not find herself right away. At first, I just wanted to be a leader. Even then, already being the director of quality, I tried not to take on projects especially, focusing on routine management.

    Understanding came gradually, and in comparison with other colleagues. Internal projects in companies, as you know, are far from always successful; most of them were simply abandoned without completion. And this girl did it all.

    So she realized her unique key advantage. It began to be pumped in this area. More precisely, combined - operational management plus project management. How she managed to keep up with everything is still a mystery, at least for me.

    Well, with all my heart I wish her success in a new place.

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