Welcome message from Evgeny Rodin, Advalange CEO.
I’m delighted to greet you on our website and in our blog and let me start a series of posts from Advalange partners about the foundation of the company.
Advalange has been on air for a few months already, but I still keep asking myself if it’s real or not. Actually it was my dream. I had a desire to apply my knowledge and experience and create something new and different. Now I can say I’m a lucky person. I was fortunate to meet my Advalange partners. We share the same values and speak the same language. We had almost no discussions on what Advalange would be doing. Software development in the safety-critical areas was an obvious and reasonable choice supported by our core engineering team.
It is a hard time to start a new business, but the Advalange team, and I as a part of it, love challenges. We love aerospace and engineering. I believe it will outweigh all the issues and obstacles we’ll face. I’m sure that strong aerospace expertise and experience in performing embedded software and IT projects will help us taking off smoothly in this rough air.
As one of the means to deal with the obstacles, we chose sharing our knowledge with colleagues, partners and customers. And in this first post in our blog I want to tell you about the first challenge we ran into. After Advalange founders agreed on the services and markets, we had to figure out what will make us different from many other players. Now I can say we found it.
“Regulated mindlessness of actionsis a source of inefficiency.”
Since the beginning of my career 12 years ago, I’ve participated in a number of projects with companies of different sizes, regions, and history. Regardless of the project’s scope, complexity and schedule, many of them had a common feature, which I call “regulated mindlessness of actions”, when a process is performed just for the sake of process.
Software projects are getting bigger and more complicated following the demand for increasing complexity of the electronic equipment. In turn, more rules, procedures and regulations are created to manage larger numbers of similar and repetitive operations. At the same time, attention of corporations has been turning to the schedule performance due to demand for lower time-to-market and pressure from competitors. As a result, higher productivity has become very important even in intellectual work.“Keep being critical even wheneverything seems to work fine.”
In such an Indy-car race even high-class engineers forget that the improvement process slows or even dies as soon as you stop questioning and criticizing existing approaches and decisions. I was watching the great teams able to solve complex problems and to complete projects on time and fully according to the procedures and regulations. However, even members of those teams often failed to answer the following question: “What is the business value that you add to the project and to the customer by doing your particular tasks?” Teams keep working without a vision, and sooner or later their performance starts degrading.
When a project team stops being critical, the mass production approach wins. Project teams tend to unify what is not supposed to be unified and it gets especially dangerous when each single result of the same process is unique, which is fully applied to the software development.
Furthermore, any business-process improvements aimed at increasing the production rate can lead to the opposite result in the long run. It happens when a team fails to recognize what brings the real business value and needs to get improved. Breaking this conveyer trap becomes a long, complex and in some cases painful procedure, especially in large corporations.“Continuous and persistent searchfor meaningful work makesa professional employee.”
There are methodologies and philosophies like Kaizen called to resolve such type of issues. A company can hire proven experts to audit existing business processes. The experts can advise and lead the process optimization. The danger comes at the implementation stage. In many cases implementation goes mechanically. Project teams are often told what to do, but don’t get clear understanding and acceptance of why they need to do it. Consequently, the same people perform new sequences of actions after the process is optimized and reset. But they didn’t have time to figure out why one or another aspect of the process has been changed. They were concerned about their personal performance, rather than about what is really valuable and what’s not. In such circumstances, the change to the process relaxes over time, often quite quickly. It accretes new unnecessary steps and “improvements” that may not bring any additional business value but allows teams to simplify the process that is not equal to make it efficient.“Simplification doesn’t necessarilyincrease the business value.”
I’m sure that meaningful awareness of the real business value that is brought by each particular task is not just a means of improved efficiency. It is also an important motivation factor, the importance of which can’t be overestimated. Continuous and persistent search for meaningful intellectual work is what makes a professional employee, while a company that creates conditions for such research has higher chances of long-term successful development.
We put this important principle into the foundation of the Advalange system of corporate values. I’m sure that consistency in doing the job based on the common company values is an important prerequisite to successfully implementing a chosen strategy. And I really hope that openness, transparency and respect for each other – colleagues, customers and partners – will create the greenhouse conditions for sustainable Advalange growth and development.