The most critical moment of a project: the release

Creating something is an emotional thing. And as all the emotional things your feeling changes according to the outcome of what you are doing.

When you are involved in a project your personal feelings and emotions will follow always the same pattern.

  • The project definition phase: At the beginning, when you don’t know exactly what the project will be, there is excitement, happiness, good expectations and so on. But unfortunately all this positive emotions are there because you have not yet a clear idea of what the difficulties will be during the project and normally at the beginning you look mainly at positive things with positive expectations.
  • The project development: Then during the evolution of the project you will start facing the problems and you will realize that nothing is really easy. But because you are a professional, you have all the necessary tools to find the solution. Or at least you are suppose to have them. So all the hard work starts and small piece by small piece you continue with the project, sometimes at fast speed (and so you are happy), sometimes at low speed or very very low speed (and your mood is going down and down). Anyway, first or later you will fix all the issues that you find during the way and you are ready to approach to the deadline.
  • The project release: And here starts the most critical phase of the project: the release. The release is something that everybody tries to avoid. You start thinking back and you start feeling that your skills haven’t been good enough. You start realizing how many expectations are involved in the project. You feel also the pressure of the managers and even worst of the customers. And you don’t want to be blamed for something that is not working as expected. If you could only have more time. And because you are a professional, you see also a lot of potential improvements. So why not improve the product? Why don’t try to increase the performances now, before releasing the project? Why don’t gain more time?

If you have enough experience on what the release of a product or a project feeling is, then you can keep it as short as possible, or at least at the limits of the acceptable. If not, then a good manager could help you trough the process. As I said at the beginning is an emotional process. You need to don’t fall in love with your “creature” (the project) and you need to be guided to the release phase (to let him go). But in order to do that in the best possible way it is important that the people that is putting some pressure on you is aware of it and is able to understand you and help you in this process. If the pressure is a pure pressure from the customer and so on, then the result will be that you will feel even more uncomfortable and the release of your product will be arranged at the last minute leaving for sure some issues. But on the other side your supervisor should be able to understand when the deadline is over and force you to “let the project go”.

During all the project is important to stress the importance of the deadline (project release) and use it as a way to force you to take it seriously, to face all the problems in the best possible and professional way. But when the main problems are fixed then the project have to be released, all the documents completed and the production should start.

When you think back on what you have done and on the fact that a lot of your customers are buying the product that you have created, then you will feel satisfied because you have really been part of a creation process.

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The signature that you put in the things that you make

I have the opportunity to work for a company which develops products. Developing or making products have a great impact on the feeling that you have when the product is available – you can touch it with your hands. It is not the same when you work in a company which is more focused in the services or in commerce.

Anyway despite the sector, business or industry, there is always something that you developed and that have involved you in the business of your company. Sometimes is something really tangible (an object) sometimes is something very creative (a design or a project) and sometimes is something very difficult to observe (your management style).

In any case, in all this processes you are involved in the creation of something, in the participation of  a project, in giving your contribution to a final result or simply in being involved in the decisions, strategies, supporting ideas or proposing new ones and so on. But all in all this is a kind of “creation process”.

The creation process is something that gives you the most satisfaction in your life – you have the feeling of being useful. And the most important thing that happens in this process is the fact that anything that you do has a kind of “signature” inside. It is the signature of your experience, the signature of your creativity, the signature of yourself.

Speaking about myself, I have worked with a lot of electronic designers, some of them are my colleagues, some of them are not colleagues anymore, some others are competitors (or I am the competitor). But if it happens to me to see a product designed by one of my colleagues, I’m immediately able to recognize the signature and contribution of all of them to the project. And this happens also for my designs. For example, recently I have been involved in a very brief analysis of a product of one of our competitors. And at the first glance I’ve been able to see my signature inside the device. Parts of the circuit were my ideas, my contributions and my efforts – they copied me.

In theory I should have been upset, but to be honest my first feeling was to be pleased. Or better, I was proud. I was proud to have inspired someone else. I was happy because my signature was inside this product too. If someone is copying you is because they believe that your work is good.

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we can influence the world around us and we forget the importance of our unique contribution to the projects where we are involved. We do things and we do not realize how much we are involved and how much we leave a signature in all of them.

My object for my future career is to be paid for the signature that I will be able to put on the things that I will do and for the signature that I will be able to leave in the people around me – my unique contribution to their professional and personal life project.

Do you really believe to not have enough creativity?

The title of this post is a kind of provocation. As my friend said in his post “importance of creativity”, creativity is fundamental in today competitive world.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of people if put in front of the question “are you a creative person?” would probably answer “no, not at all” or I can imagine a lot of persons who shares my background (electronic engineering) that probably will answer “of course not I’m a concrete person and I look at facts, formulas and numbers…”.

Well, probably few months ago my answer would have been the same, but after some months spent during my MBA the answer is a little different.

So what is it creativity? Well the answer is not easy and I’m not pretending to give you a complete and exhaustive definition, I just want to illustrate my point of view.

The word “creativity” comes from “to create”, so we can say that a creative person is someone able to create something. But in order to create something you need to have a base, a background, something to start from. We can imagine that creativity is very similar to the drawings that kids make. What they do is to try to represent the world according to what they know and according to the stimulus that they have received in their life. And it is impressive how the quality of the drawings improves the more they practice and the older they became. The reason is that they start to fill their background with more and more information and the new drawings start to be more complex, more precise and more “creative”. Basically they have more and more contents where to pick up something in order to create something new, or at least that looks new from their point of view.

When you became an adult the process is almost the same. The process of creativity is simply the ability to put together all your knowledge in order to create something that is out of the box, that looks different or that is different, but different from the point of view of the others which are observing “the creation”.

So keeping in mind my initial question “are you a creative person?” the answer is “of course I am”. I am a person with a unique combination of knowledge and this unique combination is giving me all the bases for been a creative person.

I’m really convinced that everybody is a creative person, the problem is that a lot of people don’t even realize that and tends to think always in the same way or to give up at the first problem. Being creative is not easy, it’s hard because first of all you must improve your base knowledge and secondly you have to force yourself to look out of the box, to think differently (or laterally) and to use all your ability to create connections, to pick up from different subjects, to use every insignificant piece of knowledge you have acquired in order “to create something that nobody has done before”.