It’s 3 AM, you fall in and out of sleep after a tough day managing your department. Your phone rings, it’s your boss. She’s been up all night thinking about this new project for your team. She wants to go forward with it, but she needs to know, “Are you ready?”

Here, we have a common scenario where upper management wants to execute on a plan, but you don’t know where your team or department stands at the moment. Now, you have to gather a status update from your team. Some of them respond in a matter of minutes; others say they’ll get back to you (and three days later, you’re still waiting on them while you’re boss is hounding you).

Now, the decision makers at your organization are stuck waiting. As time passes by, the company’s chance to seize a new market opportunity slips further and further away.

This is when having good visibility on your team matters.

If management can identify the availability of their people and assets, they can facilitate the decision making process and harness the true potential of an Agile organization.

  • Can we shift marketing resources to target this new demographic?
  • Do we have enough engineers on hand to tackle a new product and bring it to market in time to grab consumer mind-share?
  • How will an unfortunate downsizing effort truly affect our production output?

Every time a decision needs to be made, team leaders first need to know their current situation so that they can answer these questions.

Think Like a Fighter Pilot

Think of what a fighter pilot must be aware of if he is to make decisions in the heat of the moment. They must take in all of the information they have available to them, via the numerous gauges and displays in their cockpit. When they’re flying at 30,000 feet with a velocity equal to or greater than that of sound, they do not have much time to evaluate their situation and develop a good course of action.

Without all of this information at your fingertips, how would your decision-making process be affected?

The flexibility of HighGear provides you with many ways to accomplish good organizational visibility.

Let us look at the setup for Larry’s Industrial Services on the 24th of July. Larry has a team consisting of various roles: sales, shipping, construction, project management.  The project pipeline starts with the Sales team. If Sales converts a prospect to an actual work order, the project goes into the Production phase.

Larry sees that a new sales lead has come in.  A local government organization, Borough City, is interested in installing a new state-of-the-art security system in their office building by the end of August.

This is a great opportunity for Larry’s company. However, he must be cautious not to over-extend his resources. If he plays his cards wrong, he could end up stretching his employees too thin, leading to missed deadlines or shoddy work on other projects.  Larry needs to analyze his team’s current situation, if he is to decide how he can allocate resources in order to meet the customer’s timeline requirements.

The ACME Corp. project is currently running behind schedule. The components that needed to be installed by the 22nd of July are backed up due to shipping delays. There is already another project on the tail end of it that requires Sue to complete some of the installation tasks. Larry can see that she has moved on to the project for Fiona’s Flowers. However, she is way over budget on time for getting all of the old plumbing and equipment out of the greenhouse.

Bob is currently working the equipment delivery for the lower priority Fiona’s Flowers project, and meanwhile Jenna is trying to acquire a license for a new technology the company wants to use on the upcoming Plainsville Foods project.

At 104 hours of estimated work time, the new project will take at least two and a half weeks, setting the latest possible start time to meet the request on the 12th of August. The Plainsville Foods project currently in the Sales pipeline has not been estimated by all members of the team, so Larry does not have an understanding of when they could reasonably expect to complete it. If the ACME Corp., Fiona’s Flowers, and Widgets, Inc. projects each need a week worth of work, then Larry can expect the earliest that his team could start the new Borough City project to be on the 14th of August. There is no way his team could complete the project on time with his current resources.

However, thanks to the visibility that HighGear gives him into the sales and production pipelines, Larry can see all the potential bottlenecks and ways in which he could adjust his current operations to meet the demands of this new and exciting prospect for his company. He could increase headcount to try and expedite the production process for his current projects. He could attempt to renegotiate to completion date for the Widgets, Inc. project. He could disregard the Plainsville Foods project and instead focus his team’s efforts on the new Government project. Worst case, Larry simply recognizes that overloading his team and potentially missing deadlines would be more harmful to his organization than adding another customer to their resume, and decides to fold on the sale.

Whether you have 5 or 500 employees in your team, the ability to quickly see and evaluate your situation will allow you and your organization to rapidly make effective decisions and better adopt to market and industry changes.

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