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Nokia

N

Interviewee

183 Designer; Human Factors

Team Disadvantages

0, 4

Project Outcome

Unsuccessful

Industry

Mobile/internet/Communication

Location

London

Team Risk Tolerance

Low

Team Dynamics

TeamDynamics_Indecisive

Company

Nokia


So, for me, the biggest thing to sum up why it didn't go well is nobody knew what we were trying to do. And that was the sort of... we had... it was limited in time, it was shorter than we would normally be used to working and I think it was about six or seven weeks in total. And we genuinely didn't know what we were expected to output, and there was a kind of communication breakdown within the team, and it all got a bit ridiculous. [8642]
And we genuinely didn't know what we were expected to output, and there was a kind of communication breakdown within the team, and it all got a bit ridiculous. [8662]
But throughout it, it was what we call a really foggy project. So, for me, the biggest thing to sum up why it didn't go well is nobody knew what we were trying to do. [8663]
So, for me, the biggest thing to sum up why it didn't go well is nobody knew what we were trying to do. And that was the sort of... we had... it was limited in time, it was shorter than we would normally be used to working and I think it was about six or seven weeks in total. And we genuinely didn't know what we were expected to output, and there was a kind of communication breakdown within the team, and it all got a bit ridiculous. [8657]
So, in terms of the end result, I think at the end of the project when we delivered, I was no longer on the project team. But when the Project Manager took the output to the client, they were... the client was happy. But throughout it, it was what we call a really foggy project [8613]
I don't know what I'm doing and time is ticking on and I'm finding it really hard to extract this information from the PM, or if he doesn't know, from the client. And then other people on the team were going to their person, and sort of saying the same thing. [8664],[8665]
You know, everyone has their person who they turn to at work I think, I had sort of that someone in particular who I could confide in, who is senior to me, so she helps me in situations like that. So I was going to her and saying, I don't know what I'm doing and time is ticking on and I'm finding it really hard to extract this information from the PM, or if he doesn't know, from the client. And then other people on the team were going to their person, and sort of saying the same thing. [8616]
So there ended up being a couple of senior people looking into it going, what's going on here? And then it became a sort of... it was just a bit silly, you know. [8666]
So there ended up being a couple of senior people looking into it going, what's going on here? And then it became a sort of... it was just a bit silly, you know. There were people popping in left, right and center to try and rescue the project and this is still very stressful. It wasn't enough clarity around what was... you know, I work much better when I know... you know, tell me how long I've got, and what I have to do by the end of it and then I'll break it down into chunks and work my way through it. If you don't tell me exactly what I have to do by then end of it, then I feel nervous when people kind of drip feed me tasks to do, but I can't see where that task is leading to, so I don't... and I think that was the problem. Certainly for me, and I know definitely team members of the team who felt the same way. [8617],[8622],[8635],[8653],[8658]
I think there was also a slight issue with the Project Manager, and his working style is to hold things in his own head, and he's definitely faced communication problems with team members before. I know... and he's a lovely guy, that the... but he's not the best person at sharing information and helping people kind of see where it's going. I think he held on little bit too much to his knowledge of the project. And kind of, he would contact the client, and he would know exactly what was going on, and he would... I think... I don't know if he thought he was feeding back pretty clearly to us, but in reality, from my perspective, he wasn't. So there became a kind of internal tension there, as well. [8615],[8654]
I think there was a combination of things. I think it... the project itself was genuinely unclear, like the client kept chopping and changing their mind. [8670],[8659]
I think there was a combination of things. I think it... the project itself was genuinely unclear, like the client kept chopping and changing their mind. I think there was also a slight issue with the Project Manager, and his working style is to hold things in his own head, and he's definitely faced communication problems with team members before. [8667]
I think there was a combination of things. I think it... the project itself was genuinely unclear, like the client kept chopping and changing their mind. I think there was also a slight issue with the Project Manager, and his working style is to hold things in his own head, and he's definitely faced communication problems with team members before. I know... and he's a lovely guy, that the... but he's not the best person at sharing information and helping people kind of see where it's going. I think he held on little bit too much to his knowledge of the project. And kind of, he would contact the client, and he would know exactly what was going on, and he would... I think... I don't know if he thought he was feeding back pretty clearly to us, but in reality, from my perspective, he wasn't. So there became a kind of internal tension there, as well. [8623]
I think there was also a slight issue with the Project Manager, and his working style is to hold things in his own head, and he's definitely faced communication problems with team members before. [8669],[8668]
I think there was also a slight issue with the Project Manager, and his working style is to hold things in his own head, and he's definitely faced communication problems with team members before. I know... and he's a lovely guy, that the... but he's not the best person at sharing information and helping people kind of see where it's going. I think he held on little bit too much to his knowledge of the project. And kind of, he would contact the client, and he would know exactly what was going on, and he would... I think... I don't know if he thought he was feeding back pretty clearly to us, but in reality, from my perspective, he wasn't. So there became a kind of internal tension there, as well. [8630],[8636]
I don't really know what I'm doing, but I don't really trust that he knows what he's doing [8671],[8672]
I don't really know what I'm doing, but I don't really trust that he knows what he's doing, [8673]
I think... I don't know how to put this without being a bit... I don't want to be unprofessional. But I personally find it quite important to trust and respect in people who are perceived to be senior to me in making decisions, and I didn't necessarily feel like that. I've since... we've since made a huge effort to kind of work out how to work better together, and I think he has with some of the other people on the team as well. But at the time, I was kind of thinking, I don't really know what I'm doing, but I don't really trust that he knows what he's doing, and he's not giving me the right sort of information. So there was a little bit of a breakdown in... I guess, I suppose trust is probably... Trust and communication. [8624],[8631]
Again, that wasn't clear. And I think that lead to a little bit of... I suppose, hostility to the people who scoped it. [8674]
Again, that wasn't clear. And I think that lead to a little bit of... I suppose, hostility to the people who scoped it. So we were thinking kind of the whole time... it was like, I don't know what I'm doing. And also, who the hell told the client we could do this in six weeks? So that was a second kind of background question going through our already stressed and slightly angry minds. So I'm not sure, actually. I still to this day don't know who scoped it, but I know that if I was somebody put in scoping then I would definitely not have scoped it with the resources that we had available. [8629],[8643],[8648],[8660]
So we were thinking kind of the whole time... it was like, I don't know what I'm doing. And also, who the hell told the client we could do this in six weeks? [8675]
. And I don't know whether it was the Practice Lead that scoped it on his own, or the PM that scoped it on his own, or somebody else. But, whoever it was, I don't think it was done in a malicious way. And I think it's more important to raise the flag that the scoping was wrong, than to kind of find out who scoped it and berate them. [8634]
Well, no. I think it sort of... it's unclear. I mean, you don't want to push [inaudible 00:28:39] too far. I tried not to let things get too personal, and it's a small office and I have sense that it was possibly scoped, like... it's been a stressful time work-wise. We've been desperately trying to get work in, and I think it was one of those, shit, we're just gonna have to get this working any way we can. And I don't know whether it was the Practice Lead that scoped it on his own, or the PM that scoped it on his own, or somebody else. But, whoever it was, I don't think it was done in a malicious way. And I think it's more important to raise the flag that the scoping was wrong, than to kind of find out who scoped it and berate them. [8644],[8649]
and he found it, I think, even harder than I did. So, within the project, while I was finding it really difficult, I also felt like I was slightly supporting him. [8676]
Well for me, I went outside of the project team. It was quite stressful. I was... I'm quite close to one of the other people that was on the project, and I know... and he found it, I think, even harder than I did. So, within the project, while I was finding it really difficult, I also felt like I was slightly supporting him. [8614],[8620]
So for my own support, I went outside of the project team to somebody who I trusted implicitly and had worked with before, really successfully, who is quite senior in the organization and respected, and I knew would kind of tell me honestly what I needed to do, and would help me. So, I just went to her, and sort of talked to her on a regular basis. Talked it through, explained what the problems were, and she kind of dropped in when she could. Like luckily, she in the sort of role where she can drop into projects, and she kind of cold came in and tried to figure out direction for us and help us. So, that's how I tried to cope with it. [8618],[8647]
And I felt quite like I had a responsibility, really. I don't think you should sort of sit around slagging everything off, and then not try to do something about it. [8677]
And then also, this other guy on the project and I decided after the whole project was over, that we wanted to feedback to the Location Head, and one of the Design Directors, because we felt like it was important that we get out our concerns so that the scoping and the team make-up and stuff, we didn't just face the same issue over again. And I felt quite like I had a responsibility, really. I don't think you should sort of sit around slagging everything off, and then not try to do something about it. [8639]
So we arranged that meeting with them, talked it all through with them, and they were great. Really good. And, so they just... so, they were very open to our feedback, and kind of had a kind of a... how can we solve it sort of approach, rather than a... who's to blame, or how dare you sort of approach. Which I think is what you need. [8679],[8680],[8640],[8678]
Yeah, so, in all honestly I think the Project Manager held onto most of the content, and certainly all of the client contact. So I actually, genuinely, to this day so don't know what was finally delivered, and how. But I suspect most of it came from him, directly to the client, and they were happy. I think he was possibly more aligned with what the client was wanting than we were at any point, so he was in a position to deliver that, and couldn't seem to get us on board. [8621],[8637]
But, by that point, I was just quick to get off the project, so I wasn't struggling to be involved. I was just like, whatever. Just as long as I don't have to be there. [8681]
So I felt... I felt quite excluded from what was delivered. But, by that point, I was just quick to get off the project, so I wasn't struggling to be involved. I was just like, whatever. Just as long as I don't have to be there. [8619],[8638]
I think it does, I really do. I think it's so hard, and I'm just going to have to be brutally honest, but that I try really hard to sort of approach everything with the same openness. But if I, you know, I struggle to work with this person still, and I'm naturally... [8645]
you know, if I've been on a project team with someone and I've had a really successful collaboration with them, and really enjoyed it, and I felt like it's worked really nicely, when we have to work together in the future and they come to me with something, I'm in problem solving mode. So it's like, yes, let's do it. You know, we'll work together and we'll get it done. [8641]
When somebody who I've had a negative experience with come to me and says, we need to do this, I'm in much more like... no, kind of. And I try not to be in that kind of... I have to kind of take myself off for a moment, and think, well, you know, probably could be done. It's not ideal, it's not the way I would've done it, but sort of, we'll do it anyway. [8683],[8684],[8682],[8646],[8628]
But, I wouldn't really say that was kind of... that... I know there are other people who I've sort of chatted to who are genuinely quite afraid of being stuck working with some people, which I think is a really bad way to go into a project. And I think that comes back to the trust thing as well. [8632]
I know there are other people who I've sort of chatted to who are genuinely quite afraid of being stuck working with some people, which I think is a really bad way to go into a project. And I think that comes back to the trust thing as well. [8685]
I think you can... I can certainly see it more in project teams where the people on the team have previously worked together, and it's been good. I think, sort of, just in my own experience, I see... when people have worked together before and it's been bad, they're going to the next project all feeling a little bit tense, or there's sort of emotions already high, or it's a little bit like... Mmm. But they kind of just get on and do it, and the looks like a normal project. Apart from a project like that, where it goes totally tits up. Whereas, I think you can really see the project teams where I say their work is outstanding, and they push the boundaries. You know, they'll sort of fit in a lot more, or do something really unusual, or produce something really outstanding. They tend to be teams where they've worked together before, and it's almost like they've done the groundwork of building up the trust, and the kind of collaborating. And then they can take what they produced on the last project and use that, kind of, already knitted sense to make something great. [8650]
I think, sort of, just in my own experience, I see... when people have worked together before and it's been bad, they're going to the next project all feeling a little bit tense, or there's sort of emotions already high, or it's a little bit like [8687],[8686]
So, there's a couple of projects where they've obviously been a huge success, either in terms of team wellbeing and satisfaction, which for me is as important as client... or in terms of the output being just the most brilliant design, or beautiful thing or whatever. And I think that's where you really see it. Like you can... I can look in my head at most of those projects and say, yeah I think that's because those two work together on the previous one, so they were already in that sort of nice way of working together. [8651]
Then I think it's harder to spot, because there's a certain... think that's what kind of goes on in people's heads, behind the scenes. So, maybe it just becomes a little bit more stressful, and I think the output tends to be... I don't think the actual kind of content output of the project is necessarily bad because of it, but I'd say it's probably more mediocre. You know, you haven't got that room, and that sort of freedom to be really, really, creative when you're emotionally not as comfortable as you would like to be. I think that's how it shows. [8633]
think if... I mean, we had an experience with UBS, where a team worked on phase one of a project and it was awful, and that was for internal reasons. Actually, with the same guy as the other project that I talked about. But also, client reasons. The client was embedded, and worked full-time at IDEO and it was very stressful. And then, we got to the end of that project and no one from the project team would go onto the next phase. And they... they just said... [8688]
look, I'm really sorry but I'm going to leave if you put me on the next project with that client. [8689]
No, higher up people, the resourcing team, wanted continuity for the client because obviously it looks better for them, and they're holding the knowledge and they all said no way. I mean there's some people who were kind of saying, look, I'm really sorry but I'm going to leave if you put me on the next project with that client. [8627]
So, I think it's very much the same, and I think that you have the same trust things. You know, if you've... probably comes from the client as much as, if not more so than IDEO. Like if they've had a project with a team, and the output of the project has been great, and it's sort of taken hold internally in their organization, and they feel that trust, then they're going to be much more open to pushing the boundaries on the next project. So I think it's pretty similar, actually, with clients. [8652]
In house, it would have originally just have been the PM and the practice person. But because it all went so badly wrong on the team, then each person on the team was pulling in their most trusted person from the Leadership and there became a few people calling the shots. Like, maybe, three more people coming in and... I don't know if I'd necessarily call them decision makers, but their influence was greater than the PM's. And... but that was just towards the end, when we all waived the flag and said, what the hell's going on? Initially, I don't think there was a huge... you know, it... we didn't really go into it with a sort of massive network of decision makers to navigate. I don't think that was ever really a hurdle. It became, sort of, part of the problem towards the end. But, there wasn't a sort of terrible organizational map all over the place or anything. [8625]
I don't know. I mean, I know there was a key client, but I don't know where they sat within the organization. Whether they were kind of taking what we told them, and taking it to other internal decision makers, I've no idea. But that could've been the cause of the fog, actually. I mean, in my experience it quite often is. But, I don't know. [8661]
Unsuccessful. There wasn't really a process. It would be... it was... very badly handled, on all parts, including mine. And it kind of got to the point where there was just a lot of emotional baggage going along with the questions. So, I was trying to find out what the hell I needed to do, but I was in that. [8626],[8655]
There was like, accusations from me and from everybody else that it was somebody's fault that we didn't know how to do... you know, what we needed to do. So, it became kind of like quite [inaudible 00:44:47]. And we would be like, look I've got no idea what's going on. And then, the guy would be like, well, we don't know either. And then there'd be kind of a series of little explosive moments, and then various people going off and crying, and coming back, and there's so many tears on that project. It was like living in a soap opera. And then the end result is, I still don't know what the brief was. [8656]
Reference Tags
[8642] Planning fallacy,[8662] Internal changes/challenges,[8663] Vague goals,[8657] Vague goals,[8613] Great example - Individual & Team outcomes for future efforts,[8664] Internal changes/challenges,[8665] Vague goals,[8616] Great example - External Influences,[8666] Internal changes/challenges,[8617] Great example - External Influences,[8622] Indecisive leadership,[8635] Micromanaging,[8653] Unbalanced workload pressure,[8658] Vague goals,[8615] Communication issues,[8654] Unresolved relationship conflict,[8670] Vague goals,[8659] Vague goals,[8667] Confirmation bias,[8623] Indecisive leadership,[8669] Communication issues,[8668] Internal changes/challenges,[8630] Lack of trust,[8636] Micromanaging,[8671] Man blaming man,[8672] Trust,[8673] Communication issues,[8624] Indecisive leadership,[8631] Lack of trust,[8674] Planning fallacy,[8629] Lack of resources,[8643] Planning fallacy,[8648] Scope creep,[8660] Vague goals,[8675] Lack of resources,[8634] Empathetic disposition,[8644] Planning fallacy,[8649] Scope creep,[8676] Internal changes/challenges,[8614] Anecdotal fallacy,[8620] Identifiable victim effect,[8618] Great example - External Influences,[8647] Resilience,[8677] Promote autonomy & sense of ownership,[8639] Organizational encouragement,[8679] Listening disposition,[8680] Organizational encouragement,[8640] Organizational encouragement,[8678] Win-win conflict about ideas,[8621] Forceful conflict about ideas,[8637] Micromanaging,[8681] Reactance,[8619] Avoiding conflict about ideas,[8638] Micromanaging,[8645] Reactive devaluation,[8641] Organizing effectively,[8683] Anecdotal fallacy,[8684] Confirmation bias,[8682] Pessimism bias,[8646] Reactive devaluation,[8628] Yielding conflict about ideas,[8632] Lack of trust,[8685] Lack of trust,[8650] Trust,[8687] Peak-end rule,[8686] Pessimism bias,[8651] Trust,[8633] Lack of trust,[8688] Internal changes/challenges,[8689] Internal changes/challenges,[8627] Irreconcilable differences,[8652] Trust,[8625] Indecisive leadership,[8661] Vague roles,[8626] Indecisive leadership,[8655] Unresolved relationship conflict,[8656] Unresolved relationship conflict

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