Give an example of someone you’ve tried to influence lately.
In my last project I had to influence a team member who was reporting to me. We had a tight delivery situation where every 2 weeks we (as an application implementation team) had to deliver working functionalities. The team member had a module assigned to him and was taking more time to finish than what was allotted to him.
Was it an upward, downward, or lateral influence attempt?
Since I was his lead and he was reporting to me, it was a downward influence attempt
Were you successful? Why or why not?
After providing with an approach that would save him time, he was able to deliver in short period of time. So I was successful to influence him to change his approach to save time.
What could you have done to change the outcome? Explain?
Let me try to provide small description of the situation first. The team member was taking more than 3 days to complete a task, when only one day was allotted for that particular task he was assigned to. One might say, the estimation to complete the task was wrong. That was possible, but given the circumstances, going back to drawing board, re-estimating and changing the deadline was not the option. That would have caused us money and an unhappy customer. Now, our project manager was asking a very valid question “why is he taking so much time?”
I could have just told the team member that we had a deadline to meet and just hurry up. But, I decided to understand his method of executing the task. I found out he was trying to be really thorough, he was stressed too, since he had the deadline in mind, and he was trying to achieve a lot in very short time. And honestly, I did not see anything wrong with being thorough. But given the situation, we could not have taken more time to finish one task. So, I explained him the situation, and tried to explain the gravity of the situation in hand. Missing deadline had financial and contractual impacts. He understood and agreed. Now that he was on-board, we had to come up with an approach that would not compromise the quality too much. We identified most critical areas or functionalities business would use most of the time and we decided to focus on those areas first to meet deadline. And less used parts, we decided to work on later.
On ideal scenario, we should have bring in another person who would have helped him share his work load and yet maintained quality of deliverable. But bringing in new resource would have costed money and time to train. But in this case, although I successfully influenced him to change the approach, but it was compromise with the quality. Just to mention, later in the project we took care of that part and client was happy with overall quality.
Next, give an example of a time when your behavior was influenced? What were your influencing factors?
In the same project I tried to help customer by taking in some requests those were not our deliverable, neither we were under any kind of obligation to deliver those. And I was influenced by my project manager not to bring in any request from customer.
Essentially 2 thongs influenced my decision, not to entertain additional customer requests – we were not getting paid for those extra requests and we still had to meet the initial deadline, our deadline wasn’t going to be extended because of those additional requests
At first I thought about customer and the relation we could have built, but then working for free and missing deadline would not have helped the team with reputation anyway.