Psychology of Shipping

During the last few months before Xbox One shipped I did some interesting observations.

The closer Xbox One was getting to be released, the more people started working longer hours and weekends. One of the first things that happened to accommodate this was that dinners started to be provided all days of the week. This obviously makes it simpler for people to put in a few extra hours.

However there was one more important thing that happened that I noticed. In the public area where almost everybody passes on their way in you would see one of the executives working early in the morning, late in the evening and on weekends. I do not think there was a coincident I saw them there so often because they have their own offices to work from. But when your team is working hard as a leader you need to show that you are supporting them. I think it was a smart move to show presence in a public area for everybody to see. I'm sure it motivated some people.

However there was something I noticed I did not like. As people worked long hours they started to get cranky. I know there was a lot of friction between different teams just because people were stressed. And the conflicts created more stress! In a moment of stress I think it is even more important to keep your head cool and not become defensive.

So while I saw the leadership of Xbox do a lot of good things to keep people motivated, a lot of individuals made their journey to ship day worse than it could have been. I guess that is why you keep more experienced people in leadership positions...

So a simple piece of advice; if your teams is under pressure you must remember to keep your cool so that you not worsen the situation. And if you are a leader, participate!

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