“Getting The Right Things Done” may seem like a no-brainer on the surface. However, endless decisions, competing priorities, and—more than ever—distractions of all varieties can bog us down. At Zia, we don’t believe in “busy work.” Because of our “uber flextime” arrangement, our productivity is not measured by how many hours we log in front of the screen. In this post, two individuals from the Engineering team bring Zia’s value of “Getting The Right Things Done” to life.
Brody Harris, a junior developer, looks to his colleague Tom Tate, a project manager, for leadership. Brody says that Tom has a great sense of identifying the “right things.” But, that’s not enough. Tom also has the ability to communicate that to developers.
“The trouble with this is figuring out what is necessarily the right thing. I think that’s where Tom shines. Tom has a really good innate ability to figure out what the right things are. Getting things done is simple, but identifying the right things isn’t quite.
“I’ve worked with Tom in a couple of stints. The first time was when I was hired full time two years ago. During this stint, I was given a couple of tasks. One of them was combing through some log files to determine why an issue arose. I remember that nothing really came of the task. Tom saw that and pushed back hard on the client, saying this was a time socket. It wasn’t something that we needed to be focusing on. That was the first time I really realized he embodied Getting The Right Things Done.
“Fast forward two years, I’m working on the BIVewer. Having not worked with Tom for quite a while, I forgot his leadership style and was pleasantly surprised in one-on-one meetings with him. Within the changes they wanted, two of them were major, and there were four or so that were simple quality of life changes. I’ve worked with a ton of project managers since last working with Tom and it was almost a slap in the face how refreshing it was to hear him say something along the lines of “Listen, if this is going to be too much of a hassle, I can just push back and tell the client we can’t do this.”
“The thing is, as a developer, there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders typically to develop what the client wants. To have that buffer with your project manager where he understands the LOE and severity of each task, your job is clearer and less stressful.”
Likewise, Tom said that recently, Brody exemplified this Zia core value in his work. Brody fulfilled a client’s request to enhance the Zia BIVIEW tool for Ephesoft.
“Brody had been involved with a client during a previous engagement, but was not currently actively working on the project. This work was in addition to his current workload. Since he had deep knowledge of the BIVIEW tool, he was the best resource for the task.
“When I approached him to assist with this effort, he was crystal clear on what his current obligations were, when he expected to complete them, and when he would be able to start. He also put me in touch with the stakeholders of those current obligations. This allowed us to determine whose effort took precedence.
“Once Brody reviewed the requests, he was very clear on the level of effort to complete each task. In some cases, he expressed concern about the feasibility of implementing some of the feature requests. He detailed out the time constraints or the large development timeline that would make these tasks difficult/impossible in a concise manner. Additionally, he provided alternative approaches for the requests that could satisfy the customer’s requirements, in a more sustainable and supportable way.
“This allowed me to set explicit timelines and expectations with the customer, while delivering functionality that exceeded their requirements.”
Thank you, Brody and Tom, for Getting the Right Things Done! Stay tuned for more deep dives into each of Zia’s Five Core Values.