Do we really know what we should be doing? Are we wasting time to do a lot more than what is required, ending up pleasing none of our masters. This was the thought running through my mind when I sat across the table for discussing transition. As part of the recent management decisions, we are transitioning a chunk of work to a competitor due to various reasons. There are many to list. But let us say it is rationalizing the cost, questioning the status quo and venturing out of a existing relation to see what is out there.
As the part of the transition, a meeting was scheduled between the three parties - the old service provider(our side), the new service provide(the other side) and the customer. For the meeting, I compiled a list of daily activities performed by our side in order to support changes we have implemented. Since we had made changes recently, we were still supporting it with extreme care so as not to slow down the business as usual. The other side look at the list of daily activities and slashed down a few mercilessly. The other side didn't hesitate to share the reasoning. "I am here for operational support and not for customer service".
The other side has a point. Operational support is a different game which ensures all the operations are smooth. If there are queries related to data, why should the operation worry about? If the data is being transported from another system and there was a problem with the transporting mechanism, they will do everything to fix this at the earliest. But what is being transferred is not their headache. The data queries are all about what is being transferred.
The more important question is why were we doing these activities if we are not supposed to do it. How do we know what we are supposed to do? Isn't that what roles and responsibilities are for? Have you reviewed this against what you have been doing? The idea is not to limit yourself to doing what is written down or assigned to you. The idea is to know where you stand. Are you doing above what you are supposed to do? This helps in many ways. If you ever wonder why you are not productive, it might be because of these additional responsibilities. If you wonder why your boss is not happy but your customer is happy, it might be because of these additional responsibilities.
The most important thing is to take stock of the situation. So do you know what you are supposed to do? If you do not know, the other side will ask you with a smirk when the guards are down. "Now you realize you are doing more than what is required?". At that point, you might question yourself.