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September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature
Transitioning for success
Ratnamala Dam Manna
Monday, September 3, 2007
The more global is an organization, the greater is the need for knowledge sharing and transfer between geographies. In fact for IT companies, ‘Knowledge sharing’ is a critical
success factor.

As Symantec expanded its product portfolio globally, the team in India had to work closely with its counterparts overseas on new technologies. Contrary to the myth that ‘Global Development doesn’t work’, the teams shared a camaraderie that resulted in great success.

A total of four products were transitioned to the India team and we were faced with the challenge of quickly staffing the team and facilitating them with the right hardware and lab facilities to ensure timely product release. Two of the new products had release dates due during the transition phase.

In order to stay on the track as the teams were just being hired, resources were shared with existing teams and releases were successfully completed well ahead of schedule. In fact, one product release was completed in a super-human two week schedule!

The situations above typically depict issues related to project transition to a new team. Inept handling of these issues can lead to deferrals in releases and become a serious deterrent to the successful completion of the project.

One of the most important factors in the successful development of new projects, particularly within the R&D setting, is communication. During such times it is also imperative to maintain an open culture so as to allow everyone to share ideas and voice their concerns.

Constantly engaging with the team and encouraging knowledge sharing within the team prevented them from working in silos. This not only made deploying resources from one project to another possible, but also created an environment of mutual trust and an attitude of “we, the team”.

During the transition of a particular project a rigorous training program was conducted. It required the team to put in 16 hours a day for a week, followed by setting up of the lab. It is during such times that a team needs continuous counseling and motivation, for it is sheer motivation that drove the team to simultaneously work on multiple projects and deliver high-quality releases.

Motivation needs to be ongoing in the form of recognition, awards, and or team celebrations. We ensure that the teams get adequate exposure to visiting executives, external teams, and information. It was motivation and communication that made it possible for us to set up the development lab in two days and release three products in two weeks. During the releases, team members were regularly updated on developments and equipped with the requisite technical training. A commendable feat indeed!

She can be reached at ratnamala_dammanna@symantec.com

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