Two years after I came to the company, we instilled a process in which we started to become a 24/7, 365-day-a-year work organization, supporting the company’s software worldwide. We had four global centers, three in the U.S. and one in Europe. The idea was to move the work according to time zones. When East Coast business hours were over, the work was moved to the Midwest center, and so on. The process didn’t work well. Things were not getting done because the volumes were growing. When the work was moved over, someone new would have would pick it up and learn the issue from scratch, causing a delay in solving the problem. Our backlog of issues went above 10,000, and we became literally a reactive call center that just greased the squeaky wheels. We went back to something a little more in line with what customers needed where we owned all of our work. But now we’ve started a whole new globalization initiative, and all of a sudden the process seems to very closely mimic the time-zone-related process that totally blew up. But I knew that I had to somehow sell the initiative to my team because without any kind of buy-in, it would fail from the start. So it has been very de-motivating for me, and I had a lot of struggles with it because I knew that my workload for my engineers would dramatically increase, and of course that would de-motivate them. I knew I would start having attrition. Team members would say, “What the heck? I’m leaving. This is crap.”
So as a manager, I had to be very flexible to this change. But I did it. I got my people encouraged and feeling good about it, and it actually wasn’t quite as bad as the first time around. I had to step up to that and say, “Okay, we know the problems that we had before with this, so let’s do something now to see if we can make some changes to move on.” As a manager with my global team, I decided to have a few meetings in which we came up to an agreement that we would evenly distribute workloads globally, based on the process at hand. The engineers that I manage are seeing that I’m committed to them, and knowing that the process didn’t work before, trying to implement changes to help it work this time around.