In my last post, I discussed how Steve Jobs was a lousy project manager.
Let’s take a look at Apple. Some important traits had changed since Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. Some of these traits had been good all along.
Jobs was a strong leader. Although there were times when Jobs wasn’t sure what direction to take, he was generally a decisive leader.
He made his decision and she wrote it down in most cases. He showed signs of changing his mind over the years. He had originally planned to organize the Apple stores by product. Ron Johnson suggested that they be organized according to the different uses. This was 6 months after he had begun working on a prototype store. Jobs became angry and told Johnson to keep his mouth shut and not to mention it to anyone. Ron was surprised when Jobs said that Ron thought we were doing it wrong in the meeting. He believes it should not be organized around products but around what people do. He’s absolutely right.
He didn’t feign confusion, he made a decision and set out the team to execute it. You’ll also see Jobs giving more credit for others, beginning in the late 90’s with Apple’s return. It’s a great idea.
Visionary and Charismatic
These are traits that Jobs has exhibited throughout his career. He was able to envision a radical new future state repeatedly. He was charismatic and persuasive, which was even more important because he could envision a radical new future state over and over again.
The more proficient we are at this task, the more successful we will be in leading our teams towards success.
Jobs’ career has been marked by a common thread: a focus almost to the point of obsession. Sometimes, this led to micro-management of small aspects of a product that many people consider trivial or unimportant. Jobs was concerned about every detail.
His product launches were the result of meticulous attention to details, making sure everything was perfect. Apple products were and remain the same, which sets the company apart from all others.
Collaborative, integrated process
Jobs saw products as something that could be developed in a holistic way. He returned to Apple and tried to eradicate the ‘throw’ mentality and ‘that other division’ mentality. He included all groups in the discussions about new products.
He made sure that new hires had the opportunity to meet with key people from all departments, not just the ones they would be working in. This ensured that new employees felt connected to the whole company and not just their little corner.
He understood that the entire value stream of a product is more important than individual steps. He understood the importance of the entire value stream, from designing the best customer experience in Apple stores to packaging all Apple products to including marketing, sales and software development personnel at every stage of the product’s life cycle.
What do you think? What do you think? Was Steve Jobs a great project manager?