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Selling "brains" and "gray hair"
Autor Mensaje
Dem0 Sin conexión
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
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Ing. en Sistemas
Facultad Regional Buenos Aires

Mensajes: 4.984
Agradecimientos dados: 9
Agradecimientos: 149 en 64 posts
Registro en: Apr 2008
Mensaje: #1
Selling "brains" and "gray hair"
Un capítulo con una visión y consejos sobre el trabajo en Sistemas (pero supongo que se puede aplicar a la ingeniería en general) que me pareció interesante para compartirlo en el foro.

No conseguí una versión traducida =(

Cita:A Faustian Bargain

David Maister's remarkable book, Managing the Professional Service Firm , [1] talks about the problem of being customer driven in the different context of a service provider: a consultant. Of course, because the service business is very different, he uses very different terms. He speaks of selling his problem-solving expertise versus selling his past experience . He refers to them as " brains " and "gray hair," respectively.

[1] David Maister, Managing the Professional Service Firm , 1997, Free Press, New York, New York, ISBN 0-684-83431-6.

Selling brains is difficult. Anyone who will hire you for your brains must trust you to a high degree, because they are expecting you to do something that you have not yet demonstrated competence in. Selling gray hair is easier. A potential client can see that since you have solved this same problem before, you can solve it again for them.

Most consultants start out selling brains to their colleagues—that is, people who already have an established trust. When the consultant solves the client's problem, she begins building a reputation, and more clients appear at the door. These clients will be progressively more removed and will have progressively less trust in the consultant at the outset. So they will ask the consultant to do gray-hair jobs. After all, your experience attracted the new client, and it is the kind of assignment that a client will give to an unproven vendor.

After a consultant establishes her reputation, her gray-hair clientele grows, and she finds herself making more and easier money by applying her experience. After all, she is doing the kind of work that she has already done many times.

As your business gradually shifts from a brains business to a gray-hair business, the very qualities that make you valuable as a consultant begin to wane. You fall off the cutting edge. The service you offer is not one of brilliant problem solving, but one of pedestrian task execution. Your desirability as a consultant shrinks, and your own clients begin assigning you ever-more-demeaning, low-level tasks. They begin to court other consultants who are farther out on the cutting edge—those who use their brains more.

It's the customer-driven death spiral all over again, but this time from a service perspective.

The lesson is that if you become customer driven, you accept easy money in the short term, but you cease to grow, and you resign any hold on the future. You give up your role as a leader.

Everyone colludes in this game. Customers are very comfortable with it. The new ones approach you and say, "Put this one feature into your product, and then I'll buy it." This is a test to see whether you are a compliant service organization. The sales force puts a lot of effort into such a big sale, and adding one little feature seems like such a small price to pay for establishing a relationship with a new customer. Revenue beckons.

The solution that Maister proposes is obvious: Do more brains projects. In the service context, you have to convince your current gray-hair clients to give you brains work, and he goes on at length on how to do that. He says it means turning down the easy money of gray-hair projects to get harder and less-profitable brains projects from existing clients. Translating Maister's solution into the product business, we find that whereas all customer requests are gray-hair jobs, the brains jobs are all internally driven assignments. In other words, it's your responsibility as a product manager to keep yourself on the cutting edge and avoid the customer-driven death spiral. You have to look inside yourself for answers, the same way you did when you first started.

It means taking a longer view, taking responsibility, taking time, and taking control.

Taking a Longer View

In order to maintain your competitive edge, you have to put short-term gain into perspective. You must ensure that your people understand that when you focus exclusively on short-term gains, you start a time bomb ticking. You must avoid doing this despite the short-term expense.

Taking the longer view means walking away from some very lucrative deals. This is hard to do but necessary for your survival in the long term. In my experience, you rarely actually lose those deals. If you have the confidence to walk away from a client proffering money, that client will likely gain increased trust in you and reevaluate what they are asking of you. Still, you must be willing to walk.

Taking Responsibility

You have to establish the balance early on. You can't say, "I'll just use short-term tactics for two years and then switch to long term." You have to balance both from day one. You can always postpone short-term thinking, but you can never postpone long-term thinking.

This is all about corporate culture, and it is hard to introduce the long view to an established short-view culture. It is risky to step back from the lucrative precipice of being customer driven. You will draw fire. Take heart that you are doing the right thing.

Taking Time

Many high-tech companies have a policy of shipping a new release of their software every year. Some ship even more frequently than that. This means that their main body of programmers is working on an annual cycle, and that any work must go from conception to design to programming to testing to market within that year. This is too fast to do really innovative design, so most companies try to overlap design with programming. As I've described at length already, when you overlap design and programming, what you get is programming.

Taking Control

Above all, high-tech development managers have to seize control of their development process away from the rampant tiger. You have to get off of the beast and take the inevitable thrashing. If you survive it, you can then begin to rebuild your process so that you balance brains and gray-hair work and keep your edge for the future.

del libro "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity"

http://flylib.com/books/en/2.151.1.132/1/
19-10-2012 16:12
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FeRLanD Sin conexión
Militante
En el delirio supremo de la ex...
***

Ing. en Sistemas
Facultad Regional Buenos Aires

Mensajes: 89
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Agradecimientos: 120 en 19 posts
Registro en: Apr 2012
Mensaje: #2
RE: Selling "brains" and "gray hair"
Muchas gracias por el capítulo DemO. Yo no trabajé en Sistemas todavía pero comparto esa idea de tratar de innovar y brindar soluciones creativas a nuevos problemas y no estancarse en la monotonía. Saludos!
21-10-2012 13:00
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Adriano Sin conexión
Presidente del CEIT
sonaiNTU arap anoD
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Ing. en Sistemas
Facultad Regional Buenos Aires

Mensajes: 6.717
Agradecimientos dados: 243
Agradecimientos: 763 en 259 posts
Registro en: Jul 2008
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Mensaje: #3
RE: Selling "brains" and "gray hair"
Muy interesante... es super cierto eso de "ponele estoy te lo compro"

[Imagen: digitalizartransparent.png]
21-10-2012 13:39
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Dem0 Sin conexión
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
._.
********

Ing. en Sistemas
Facultad Regional Buenos Aires

Mensajes: 4.984
Agradecimientos dados: 9
Agradecimientos: 149 en 64 posts
Registro en: Apr 2008
Mensaje: #4
RE: Selling "brains" and "gray hair"
Conseguite el libro "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum". Es medio bardero Cooper, pero si te gustó "the mythical man month" para mí te va a interesar.

PD: https://twitter.com/MrAlanCooper
(Este mensaje fue modificado por última vez en: 21-10-2012 19:00 por Dem0.)
21-10-2012 18:56
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