Friday, 15 February, 2008

"Doctor's Deadline" - A professional Story by me

Originally dated Wednesday, 16 Jan, 2008

Note : This story is created by me to explain the professional experiences and lessons I learnt from my professional life - first one of its kind. Stories are good to explain complex ideas. Great Gurus have used it, extensively. Jesus Chirst has used similies in plenty to explain the complex ideas of theology and practical philosophy. You can find numeours similies and stories in all great civilizations - ofcource, Upanishads, puranas, panchathantra and the great epics of Indian subcontinent have used this mode of communication extensively.. And me, a humble human being in this earth, also finds stories and similies are the best way to express a complex idea which I learnt painfully in my life - personal or professional.

Another motto in my life "Anyone can make things complex. But, making it simple is very complex - there lies the difference in professional talent".

Originally written to communicate a message to my team of software professionals - reproducing here for the benefit of everyone - in any profession. Enjoy!!

Doctor's Deadline! - A story by James Varkey

A rich and powerful man had a chest pain. He decided to find a solution for it. He searched and selected a reputed heart surgeon for consultation. The man is very busy. So while booking the appointment, he informed the patient that the consultation should finish within one hour. Doctor agreed, because he wanted the man as his client and one hour is a fair estimate for a typical consultation based on his experience.

The diagnosis started. After half way through the consultation, the doctor realized that the patient has to go through few more tests to find out the root cause of his decease. But, this might take couple of more hours. The deadline ends within 30 minutes.

He has two options.

1. The doctor can admit to his patient that he cannot complete in time, thus not fulfilling his commitment. To do a good job - either the patient has to stay back for another 2 - 4 hours or has to come back another day. Probably the doctor might loose the patient to another doctor.
2. The doctor can assume (best guess) some analysis results and give the man the medicines by end of one hour. He will be able to keep the deadline. But the stakes are high.

What option you want your doctor to select if you are the patient? In fact, for a good doctor, there is no second option. A good doctor decides his own deadline. And that's what expected.

For us in technical services, deadlines are tight always. Do Work hard and try different options to meet the deadlines.

BUT, Never, never, never ever assume too many things and never do a work or make a delivery for the sake of meeting a deadline. The stakes are high.


When confused, think like a doctor and remember that your client's business health is in your hands - you are responsible on the decisions you make. Few days delay in requirement phase, estimation or design delivery might save thousands of hours of wasted effort, tens of sleepless nights of lot of people or even the entire project later. Think long term, never loose the focus on the final goal - successful delivery that works!

Keep your professional integrity higher than anything, when it comes to technical consulting or advice.
Your clients will appreciate this. Your manager will appreciate it. Tens or hundreds of hapless programmers will appreciate this while they burn the midnight oil to meet the delivery deadlines.

It will serve the organization better in long term. End of the day, it will make more money and its brand name will be valued more.

Remember the Doctor's Deadline!!!



Emmanuel said...

Good one...!
I experience this day by day in my routine consulting tasks and I ensure I do this. Gdoo example jamesaaaa!!!

-Emmanuel aka Emmi

Shree said...

I loved the anology. Good one Acchayo! Keep blogging!

Niranjan R said...

Good one pal, I always say people about the phrase "Design is to keep things simple, but keeping things simple is difficult.

Keep going. Wishing you for a successful blog-ging journey.

KK said...

Good one Achaya...