Are You Making History

June 28, 2012

A lot has been written about execution. Yet it clearly remains a challenge and an elusive goal to both individuals and teams. I could start espousing my own theories of execution, but I have no desire to add to the stream of management mumbo-jumbo regarding roles, responsibilities, metrics and results. Make no mistake, it is precisely the desire for results — the point B, in going from point A to point B — that leads us to examine and question execution. Too often, even capable people [and teams] focus on making history, when the focus should be on making impact.

It’s trivial to make history. With each ticking second, with or without effort [ and to some degree, any specifically applied will ] history is being made. It’s also easy to make terrible history — cause some downtime, write some vulnerable or insecure code, and reply-all to the wrong Email, and voila, you’ve made history. Fight a fire in production, stay up all night to salvage some deployment gone-awry, or cram all the extra feature request into an iteration or release — be the [super] hero and that’s a guarantee for making history too. One historical moment followed by another, some more notable than others, but that’s not really the kind of result we’re looking for. What’s tougher is making impact, because that means having direct effect on the situation, and quite often, requires the “doing of right things.” What does that mean? It means the slow and painful, and often without recognition or glory. It is people, performance and process. It is engineering,  deployment, and security. It is all about the one, and all about the team too.

There is no short cut here. No miracle drug or Midas touch or ten-step fortune cookie wisdom. It will be slow and time consuming. More than likely, it will demand persistence and commitment, and the bad/ugly that often come with small improvements. No one will throw a ticker tape parade for continuous integration. No pats on the back for steady velocity. There won’t be recognition, because the day won’t require saving. However, that will be enough. Because more than history, impact is being made. And that’s the real difference for getting results.

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Eddie is a technology enthusiast and a blogger, now, who loves all things Internet and mobile, as if those were two separate things. As part of feyn.com, he's looking to battle the forces of evil, fight crimes and purchase security upgrades to the Metaverse.