Crisis can be good for you

October 16th, 2006 by Hugh

I’ve been away from Exbiblio for about three weeks, and I’ve come back to find what seems like a different company. It’s organised, and focused, and people meet frequently in person and know what each other are doing. I am, quite frankly, amazed.

While I’ve been away, I get the feeling that there has been a bit of a mini-crisis. There have been more little things wrong with the first prototype of the scanner pen than had been expected. This crisis seems to have been a shot in the arm.

The morning began with – would you believe it? – a meeting! Last time I was here, it was considered almost revolutionary to have a weekly meeting. Now there’s a 15 minute morning meeting each day. It was a brief recap of the milestones that the prototype has to pass to get working as it should. These were listed in a piece of software called “trac” and thrown up on a wall projector. Ed Mahlum took the meeting and went swiftly through each point, asking people – mostly Ian today – to say where we are.

The danger of morning meetings is that they can go on too long, and people use them to grandstand about how hard-working and brilliant they are. This was just the right length. It was very business-like.

Afterwards john durand told me that Exbiblio feels more integrated and is at a deeper level of working together. People are feeling motivated as the project passes milestones and gets past “blocks” and everyone understands how their work fits into the big picture. He told me that people are getting “jazzed up” – coming from England, I had to ask him if that was good or bad. He said that that it was good – it means they are excited.

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