Measuring Management

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash

Food for thought: How would you quantify or measure management and organization capabilities of an individual?

Well, it looks relatively simple, but is ten times more complicated than measuring technical aptitude and skillset. Interestingly, most presume technical skills to be harder to acquire and place importance on the need for coding tests, design tests, and take-home analytics assignments for job interviews. And honestly, I appreciate how measuring technical skills has gotten a lot more creative over the last few years.

What I still observe today however, is the inability to gauge and measure management and organization skills of individuals- and for obvious reasons. They are more situational and contextual in nature, often with no target numbers to achieve or deliver. The question then is — how does one realize a candidate’s potential beyond asking situational and behavioral questions.

My experience at EY as a Senior Consultant has not only taught me a lot over these last few months, but has also helped identify aspects/qualities that can help measure these not-so-measurable skills, and that is because I increasingly started taking note of the nuanced skills involved in these roles.

In what situations was I tested on my organizational skills and thought process?

  1. Documenting and structuring Confluence pages for projects

Documentation in my opinion is one of the most underrated areas of focus. And it goes way beyond great language skills.

  • How do I set up the folder hierarchy structure
  • How do I depict the architecture diagram
  • How do I leverage colors, arrow-types, swim lane diagrams and other creative depictions to put processes in paper
  • What should the level of detail be for context and background on these pages

These are questions that I have to attend to on a daily basis- and I have had some good quality coaching on the job and some great tips as takeaways.

2. Leveraging tools for Project Management responsibilities

We all put Confluence and JIRA in our resumes — but do we really leverage it to the best of our capabilities? I’d say NO. It is synonymous to mentioning MySQL in your resume when you’ve barely scratched the surface.

Confluence and JIRA are to management folks, what MS Excel is to accountants.

My current role has helped me identify how to best make use of these tools. Showcase your structured thought process with a demonstrated organization of the chaos.

  • Managing decision logs and tagging owner of action items
  • Tracking decisions to action items and requirements by linking JIRA stories in Confluence
  • Leveraging checkboxes and maintaining To-Do lists
  • Creating a repository of sprint reports, client presentation decks and other miscellaneous documentation
  • Creating project calendars for recurring meetings with alerts and reminders
  • And so much more…

3. Organizing team meetings

As a Scrum Master, I am without a doubt, expected to drive and set up meetings for all Agile ceremonies. We all know what those are, and it looks pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?

Some of the basic yet essential things to do are:

  • Identifying the right audience for the meeting
  • Sending out meeting agendas in advance as a heads up
  • Following up with minutes of the meeting

A great analogy to realize how thought provoking these roles can be is to think of categorizing songs into genres. At first it seems easy, but when you think of BPMs, kinds of instruments, progression, rhythm, speed, pitch while categorizing, that is when your brain starts to compartmentalize and creates buckets. Try that with a bunch of songs you’re trying out for the first time and it’ll turn out to be a challenge you did not see coming.

I’d say that’s similar to how you’d have to think when bringing structure into your project.

The next time you interview for roles that involve demonstration of management skills, be sure to quantify your acumen by highlighting your proficiency in tools you use along with your creative solutioning for optimizing tasks to set you apart from the pool.

It all boils down to how logically organized your kitchen set up is, and how aesthetically and meaningfully your crockery and recipe books are stacked up.

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