If teams are formed around products or platforms, but behaviour doesn’t change to become more collaborative, the silos remain. They are just called something different.
Stories by Chris Pope
Some early warning signs, or how steering groups can ensure greater transparency of their projects
Should you be on the bleeding edge, a fast follower or on watching brief? What I learned from managing complex projects over the past two decades.
“We want to stay on the cutting edge of our industry.” You hear that a lot in business circles, especially in IT, because we thrive on innovation … that is what IT brings to the table. It is much more exciting to describe what you do as Leading Edge, Bleeding Edge, Cutting Edge – I guess we all just love to be “Edgy”. (Besides, that “edginess” justifies our right to come to work in jeans and tee-shirts because “we’re just that cool!”)
But one of the challenges that IT departments face (besides “which Huffer Tee looks the best with my knit scarf?”), when pioneering innovative solutions for your organisation, is that often potential vendors will respond to an RFP and due diligence activities without an existing product against which to conduct traditional gap-fit analysis. But what does due diligence look like when so much is unknown? How can you increase the likelihood of success while pioneering into the land of “never been done before”?
A popular business trend that I would like to see make a comeback from the 1980s is “Management By Walking Around” (“MBWA” for those who like catchy acronyms). It is the idea that managers should get out of their office and among the workers in order to be actively engaged in their business and communicate with staff at all levels.
The need for such MBWA engagement was once illustrated at a client site. (We’ll call them “8-Wire Inc.” in order to protect the innocent).
What is the cost of project failure? Ask Gustav Humbert, the former CEO of Airbus. There was a $6.1 billion profit loss for its parent company, millions in late delivery fees, industry embarrassment, and, oh yes, his job!
Type “project failure” into your favourite search engine, and you will find out how common blown budgets, missed deadlines and unmet expectations really are!
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