Personality Challenges Inherent in Shifting from CM into ALM

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In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

Summary:
This month’s topic is a paradigm shift that requires that we move from focusing narrowly on the CM function to the much broader Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) view. I know people who cannot make this shift. From a personality perspective, these folks have great difficulty seeing the big picture and the more comprehensive lifecycle view required by ALM. There are good reasons for these problems, and in this article we’ll examine the personality challenges inherent in shifting from CM into ALM.

Processing Information
The first thing we need to realize is that we all process information differently. Some people have a gift for always seeing the big picture. Others find themselves painfully myopic in their view. This is often a matter of breaking down a problem into smaller manageable parts. The task of analyzing a problem into smaller chunks is also often impacted by our personality. I have known people who were incredibly successful because of their ability to approach problems this way and, ultimately, focus on one problem and manage to a find solution no matter how difficult.
Some of these people had a personality that really impacted how they processed information. Others were a little more adaptable. We all need to understand how we process information so that we can be most effective. For example, we often find that our cognitive processing is impacted by both our personality and the situation within which we find ourselves. The old debate is whether personality or situation matters more.

Personality or Situation?
The truth is that we all process cognitive information in a variety of ways that we develop from a combination of our personality and the environment that we have been exposed to over time. The person-situation interaction means that our views and reaction patternsare formed by both our personality and our environment. For example, some people are amazingly upbeat in just about any situation. Others are impacted more directly by their environment. Understanding how you are impacted by your world will help you understand how you perceive the situations that you are in.

Tactical Because I Have to Be
Many people focus on tactical efforts and resist considering the big picture. They will indicate that they just have to be tactical. The more they are defensive, the more I suspect that this is just their issue. Taking CM a step further into ALM is certainly something that technology professionals should want to do. But yet you will always run into folks who insist that they are tactical because they have to be.

So What Does ALM Mean in Terms of Personality?
Moving from a narrow CM focus to the wider ALM approach means that you are willing to consider all of the functions that could impact the lifecycle. This may include requirements definition, application design, coding, testing and many other powerful aspects of the full application lifecyle. ALM impacts the project and the product in significant ways. Broadening the scope of our focuses is essential for improving productivity and quality.

Conclusion
Moving from CM to ALM requires a significant paradigm shift that requires considerable flexibility and adaptability. How you approach making this shift requires some strong interpersonal skills and often causes you to learn a lot about your personality!

Conclusion
Moving from CM to ALM requires a significant paradigm shift that requires considerable flexibility and adaptability. How you approach making this shift requires some strong interpersonal skills and can cause you to learn a lot about your own personality!

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