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  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Technical Paper for Project Management National Conference, India 2013 Dr. Krishna Kumar T I IBM India, June 26, 2013
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Abstract...............................................................................................................................................................3 2. Introdcution......................................................................................................................................................3 3. Clusters – A Self Sufficient Team...................................................................................................4 3.1. Hired clusters......................................................................................................................................................... 4 3.2. Hoist clusters ......................................................................................................................................................... 4 3.3. Ideal Cluster structure in for an ERP implementation................................................................ 5 4. Clusters – Manage Themselves........................................................................................................5 5. Socializing........................................................................................................................................................7 5.1. Centralize social media channels.................................................................................................................. 8 5.2. Offer basic social media education............................................................................................................... 8 5.3. Create social media ring masters .................................................................................................................. 8 6. Clusters And Socialising – Create More Value .....................................................................9 6.1. STRONG FOCUSED TEAM .......................................................................................................................... 9 6.2. Boost team performance through mutual accountability................................................................... 9 6.3. Manageable tasks.................................................................................................................................................. 9 6.4. Reporting the Progress ....................................................................................................................................... 9 6.5. Emotional intelligence.......................................................................................................................................... 9 6.6. Prevent decision deadlock...............................................................................................................................10 6.7. Recognize the key performers ......................................................................................................................10 6.8. Higher levels of business performance through higher motivation............................................10 6.9. HIGHER LEVELS OF BUSINESS PERFORMANCE THROUGH A CUSTOM WORK ENVIRONMENT..................................................................................................................................................................10 6.10. TALENT MANAGEMENT IN THE RIGHT PLACE.........................................................................10 6.11. HIGHER LEVELS OF PERSONAL HAPPINESS ...........................................................................11 6.12. Wrap up your project and gauge its success ........................................................................................11 7. Having Risks, But Manageable ......................................................................................................11 8. Conclusion....................................................................................................................................................12 9. Reference: .....................................................................................................................................................12 10. Authors Profile...........................................................................................................................................13
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 3 1. ABSTRACT An effective team is a powerful thing for any company. An effective team is where the members synergize each other, trust each other and find ways of working that are not only effective, but also enjoyable. A cluster typically consists of five to eight people, is formed with in the project team with a clear scope of work, and recognized based on outcomes. Clusters will follow already established values, work practices, tools, and roles that are defined in the project. Clusters actively seek the variety of skills, talents, and personalities necessary to create a high performing team With the project team members spending gobs of time in online communities and sharing their knowledge and experience through these media, it will be better to have an internal social community that can satisfy their socializing thirst. This will also help in sharing the business and technical ideas across the community and to also create reusable asset for the organization. It is more important to understand the unfiltered thought processes within the team. 2. INTRODCUTION The dream of every manager is to have an effective team supporting him throughout the project or program. The effective teams are those where the members complement each other, trust each other and find ways of working that are not only effective, but also enjoyable. The performance of the effective team will be typically very much higher than the expected sum of individual performance through synergic effect. Team management is a scarcely recognized activity and business expects managers to manage the team very well. Many businesses do not pay importance to create and nurture a high value team. It is expected that the team should provide high value results but it is not defined “how”. Most of the projects get in to High performing teams, but it will not last for longer periods. The team structure get changed so frequently due to the team members moving on, projects get finish, and other pressing needs come to the fly. This is a part of the normal course for organizations. Disengaging well-functioning teams is actually a value-destroying activity and this will eradicate the "team capital" or synergy built and stored in the team. Generally businesses
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 4 don't fundamentally recognize such teams as entities beyond the activity they are performing, this value destruction seems inevitable [1] . There is a better management style to let team self-manage to preserve the culture and value. This will reduce the management overheads and organizations capitalize on the inherent value of a well-functioning team. This will create additional value to the organization. 3. CLUSTERS – A SELF SUFFICIENT TEAM Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. Clusters are self managed teams that are having common set of practices. They will camouflage to the companies organizational structure and processes. The business treats the cluster as an atomic unit of resource and it hires, fires and positions the cluster as a unit. Likewise, each cluster appears as such a unit in the business's organization chart. Clusters plug together like Lego bricks to achieve the business's goals. There are basically two types of clusters – Hired and Hoist. 3.1. HIRED CLUSTERS Hired clusters are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company. They manage, govern and develop themselves; define their own working practices and tools; and share out remuneration. Technology trends and tools like the cloud, and collaboration suites, are evolving to make this more and more workable. 3.2. HOIST CLUSTERS Hoist clusters are being developed inside the company/ business context where the projects create a cluster by identifying the strengths and weakness of resources. It will be a self sustained model that follows the process that is already present in the company. These really help the companies to execute challenging projects. Concepts like Tiger team are initial forms of the clusters. Some companies develop Center of Excellence where hoist clusters were created and nurtured. Hired clusters are typically be hired permanently by the business with a mutual intention to commit for the long term. As such, a cluster can be considered a real asset of the business, just
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 5 as high-performing staff members are today. Also, the cluster model puts extreme emphasis on teams that learn how to work well together and determine their own tools and work practices. This is not always true of consultancies. An individual can be in different clusters over time, and possibly in multiple clusters at once, similar to a conventional part-time work model. Similar approaches can and should be applied to consultancy models. 3.3. IDEAL CLUSTER STRUCTURE IN FOR AN ERP IMPLEMENTATION 4. CLUSTERS – MANAGE THEMSELVES
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 6 A cluster typically consists of five to eight people (scalar change of command), is hired or developed by a business with a clear scope of work and remunerated based on outcomes. Clusters have already established shared values, work practices, tools, and roles, such as who is good at what. They need to be adaptable to the new practices or policies in the organization also. Usually clusters have a lot of smarter people and it is important to balance the roles in the team. Cluster need to have proper organizational structure as it is very important to avoid Apollo Effect [2] . This is a phenomenon described by English psychologist Meredith Belbin, where every team member needs his or her idea to dominate and the team is unable to come to a consensus. Apollo teams are characterized by: There will be lot of proposing and opposing of ideas in the team. This active debate will complicate the seamless flow of the project. Potential flaws or problems spotted too easily – This can cause ideas shot down too quickly and their will not be consensus. The team members are too used to being right and there will be too many individual agendas. Many ideas will be generated and it diffuses the focus of the team. Clusters actively seek the variety of skills, talents, and personalities necessary to create a high performing team. In order to avoid too multidirectional approaches in the team the cluster leaders cannot be highly dominant but neither can allow others to be passive or overly analytical. The leader must hold ground but not by dominating. The leader must be more concerned with broad essentials (mission, values, etc.) than with practical, detailed matters [3] . In modern corporate IT world there are some close equivalents of clusters. The “factory model” put forward by the Indian IT companies has many resemblance of cluster model where the projects will be executed by the clusters in the Global Delivery centers. The requirements will be finalized and shared with these clusters in Global Delivery centers and these clusters will deliver the requirements with their own policies and methods. This will be done with the committed schedule and financial. There will be “Tiger teams” or “Center of Excellence” put forward to quickly address highly complex requirements or challenges. These clusters deliver in their own strengths to bring success to the project.
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 7 The cluster manages itself by finding, hiring and firing members; governing itself and resolving conflicts; creating and sustaining work practices and tools. They will manage and synergize its engagement with other clusters, teams, people and organizations in order to fulfill its direct business goals. In short, a cluster is a miniature version of a Strategic Business Unit. Enterprise usually has a formal legal and financial relationship with the cluster, not its members. Usually clusters are self- managed but not typically a self-directed team. Self-directed teams define their own goals, whereas clusters agree on outcomes with the businesses for which they work. 5. SOCIALIZING Social media both internal and external have become the most powerful tools yet developed to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers. This will help the workers to drive innovation and growth and can share it with likeminded community in seconds. The resources in the clusters can directly engaging with consumers, listening in on unfiltered conversations, and soaking up huge amounts of data on consumer behavior — all of that is producing nifty new insights for fine-tuning requirements and communicating the thoughts. Companies are beginning to discover that social technology platforms provide a far more efficient way of communicating and collaborating. Unlike email, messages on social platforms are accessible to the entire team in real time and getting everybody on the same page. On social platforms, communications become seamless and it forms a searchable archive that can be continually enriched with comments and additions by members of the online community. This will act as a quick reference material and an asset to the company [4] . Companies are now implementing “internal social media tools” that are accessible only to the employees of the company. The “Apollo employees” who want to share ideas with their community can use this media that would otherwise have been shared in the outside world media. This really make the resources feel important and it will give an option for others to recognize others importance also. This will reduce the risk of productivity and information leakage and will provide a competitive advantage to the company.
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 8 5.1. CENTRALIZE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS A crucial first step in getting social media security under control is to consolidate all of these accounts within a single social media management system. It saves time and represents a quantum leap in security. This will reduce the possibility of publishing the contents outside the organizational network. 5.2. OFFER BASIC SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATION Giving employees access to this kind of social media power without any basic education is tantamount to handing over keys to the car without a driver’s education course. Structured training on security and compliance issues, as well as on more advanced themes like using social media to sell to clients and improve internal workflows, is critical. 5.3. CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA RING MASTERS Empower some of your employees to moderate the social media activities inside the company. Through these employees company can have a strong upper hand over the information sharing and leakage. Social media can be used to generate and solidify the ideas or share the success stories or lesson learned. This will reduce the otherwise email communication and can save the resources of the company also. Social technologies will only succeed if they become part of the daily workflow, not an extra item on a to-do list that will never get checked off. This may require a change in the company’s processes or may be a change in workflows and technologies. Social technologies require an environment of openness, information sharing, and trust. This requires changing mindsets, behaviors and a culture that celebrates and expects sharing and openness. It may take several years to establish the conditions of openness and to build trust across the organization, but the companies that accomplish this transformation will not only reap the greatest benefits from social technologies, they will also find that they are faster on their feet, more adaptable, and much more capable of adapting and acting on new ideas
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 9 6. CLUSTERS AND SOCIALISING – CREATE MORE VALUE This combination of clusters and socializing can beat all the odds. Simple management principles can be used in use for effectively managing the clusters and motivate them through socializing. 6.1. STRONG FOCUSED TEAM The resources in clusters will be working as a team for long time and the team dynamics will be better compared to the newly formed team. Their focus will be to complete the task as quick as possible. This will reduce the icebreaking time of the resources in the new project. 6.2. BOOST TEAM PERFORMANCE THROUGH MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY The roles and responsibilities were properly defined and governance model of the clusters were already established. It will be mostly a plug and play mechanism for the clusters to get involved in a project. They will act as cells and will be accountable for the scope they are involved in. 6.3. MANAGEABLE TASKS The clusters are mostly not self directed. The direction will be provided by the leadership and the clusters will be able to manage their responsibility. It is always better to provide what they can chew. A very complex project can be divided in to manageable work packets and distributed among various clusters and a collective result can be generated from this. This simplifies the project effort and makes it more predictable. 6.4. REPORTING THE PROGRESS Since the processes and the monitoring systems are already in place for clusters, it is easy to monitor the progress towards the goals. They will publish the results on regular intervals defined in the project. They can be plugged to the system at any point of time and can be pulled out at any point also. 6.5. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 10 The emotional intelligence of the resources can be improved through socialization through blogs and articles. An open culture will be generated in the clusters and continuous live feedback can be received through comments. 6.6. PREVENT DECISION DEADLOCK Managers will be working with the resources in the cluster mostly by leading and guiding. They are encouraged to share their ideas in open forums and open discussion to be promoted. 6.7. RECOGNIZE THE KEY PERFORMERS Skills of these highly talented resources will be identified and recognized accordingly through the social media. This will improve the motivation of the resources. As per the latest studies most of the resources will be motivated not through the monitory benefits but through timely recognition of their skills and ideas. 6.8. HIGHER LEVELS OF BUSINESS PERFORMANCE THROUGH HIGHER MOTIVATION A well organized cluster model, when executed well, addresses known performance drivers such as purpose, autonomy and mastery. The cluster leaders know the strengths and weakness of all the resources inside the cluster and it will be easy to motivate and reduce the chaos. 6.9. HIGHER LEVELS OF BUSINESS PERFORMANCE THROUGH A CUSTOM WORK ENVIRONMENT Clusters can create and sustain leading-edge electronic work environments since they are less burdened by bureaucratic decision-making and the need to serve the diverse needs of many types of teams and individuals. The work environment will be conducive and the resources are motivated with various motivating factors that drive them. The environment provides flexibility to the resources and they provide the maximum results in the best possible time. 6.10. TALENT MANAGEMENT IN THE RIGHT PLACE
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 11 The cluster model removes the burden of team and individual performance management from the business — where it typically sits uncomfortably and ineffectually today — to the cluster. The cluster knows its own members, contributions and development needs much better. 6.11. HIGHER LEVELS OF PERSONAL HAPPINESS Clusters are sufficiently small for members to genuinely know and care about each other, and they are stable and autonomous enough for members to support each other's long-term personal development. They will be happy to move from projects to projects. The resources have a well balanced work – life balance also. 6.12. WRAP UP YOUR PROJECT AND GAUGE ITS SUCCESS The criteria of success are defined for the clusters and it will be monitored and tracked on a regular intervals. At the time of project closure or in milestone basis, the cluster performance will be identified and they will be provided with appropriate recognition. 7. HAVING RISKS, BUT MANAGEABLE For the hired clusters to work well, with businesses hiring, firing, positioning and remunerating clusters as atomic units, it will be difficult to retain clusters and its loyalty. They can strategically bargain with the organization, if they are not treated effectively. It will be difficult to break them in silos and use it the way the organization wants. They need to be treated as a single unit or an employee. The key to success is to ensure that the cluster's agreed-on scope of work includes appropriate levels of commitment to, and multiple interfaces with, broader corporate goals and initiatives. For the Hoist clusters, the above challenges are not applicable, but it is a tedious task to develop a cluster inside the organization. It will be mostly a trial and error method to identify the right resources in the cluster and it may take a long time to create a sustainable cluster in the organization. But it is always worth an effort to be taken by the organization as it is less costly compared to have a low productive team.
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 12 Eventually, wherever the cluster model is adopted, businesses need to work hard at managing and leading them well, just as they have always done for their emerging talent assets ensuring that the best are motivated to stay, the worst are inclined to go, and those in the middle are motivated to improve. While socializing, the resources may get tempted more towards “over socializing” and becoming non productive. There is a good chance for over communication through social media whether it is inside or outside. It will be good to have proper guidance provided to the resources at the initial phases itself. Proper management guidelines should be provided to the resources so that they will be aware of their responsibilities and freedom. They need to be monitored on a regular basis also. 8. CONCLUSION The combination of social media and clusters can dramatically increase productivity of company and reduce the possibility of a security breach – either from outside the company or from within. This will make the company a space for innovative ideas and creative minds. This reduces the administrative burdens and provides an advantage to the company in cutting edge technologies. 9. REFERENCE: [1] Dave Aron, The Future of Talent Is in Clusters, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business School, http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/02/the_future_of_talent_is_in_clusters.html#disqus_thread, 8:00 AM February 1, 2013. [2] Hodge Golson, When Too Many Smart People Spoil the Team: The Apollo Effect in the Professional Firm, Management Phsychology Group, http://www.managementpsychology.com/articles/when-too-many-smart-people-spoil-the-team- the-apollo-effect-in-the-professional-firm/, [3] Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Seven Rules for Managing Creative-But-Difficult People, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business School, http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/seven_rules_for_managing_creat.html, 3:00 PM April 2, 2013.
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 13 [4] James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Hugo Sarrazin, Social Media's Productivity Payoff, http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/social_medias_productivity_pay.html, 8:00 AM August 21, 2012 10. AUTHORS PROFILE Dr. KRISHNA KUMAR T I has over 15 years of Business Leadership, Program Management, Project Management Sales, Operations, Consulting and Domain expertise (Government, Education, Healthcare & Telecommunication) experience spanning multiple industries. Currently, Dr. Krishna Kumar leads multiple programs and projects in Oracle Practice at IBM. He has the mandate to lead, build and grow a team of Oracle experts who advise Governments & Healthcare client in their transformation journey; build industry expertise and harvest assets and implementation capabilities for global engagements. Expert Member of Board of Studies for Business Management - Amritha Vishwa Vidyapeetham Vice President - Professional Development - Project Management Institute, Kerala, Trivandrum Chapter  Awarded the second best project by the Project Management Institute (PMI) – India in 2012.  Honored by IBM WWPMCoE as one of the IBM Distinguished Project of year 2011. IBM Distinguished project represent the best of the best by business unit and / or geography.  Awarded Business Excellence Award in Business Growth - Proactive initiatives to penetrate and grow new markets.  Awarded Eminence & Excellence - Spark Award for best project Manager from IBM.  Awarded Orion award – Recognizing eminence and Excellence from IBM. Dr. Krishna Kumar has a Doctorate in Management from IMK. He did his post gradate diploma in strategic management from IIMC and post graduation in management from IMK.
  • Managing Talents through Clusters and Socializing Dr. Krishna Kumar T. I. July 8, 2013 Page 14 OFFICIAL ADDRESS Dr. Krishna Kumar T I IBM India, EGL A Block, 3 Floor, Bangalore, Karnataka, Mob: +91- 7736196697. Email: krishnakumar.ti@in.ibm.com krishnakumar.ti@gmail.com Linkedin Profile: in.linkedin.com/in/krishnakumarti