Thursday, 12 September 2013

Isolated to Integrated

They’ve been using the slogans for years. 'There are no IT projects just projects',  'There are no HR projects just projects', 'There are no Ops projects just projects', and yet.  And yet you’ve spent the last two weeks trying to get sign off and the stakeholders are doing everything they can think of to keep their thumbprints off the documents.  Why?  And on that last project it was almost impossible to get into the diaries of the key stakeholders, the one’s who’d asked for the project in the first place, the one’s who’d have to live with what you were doing… and yet all you wanted to do was to spend time with them talking about the implications of the project and looking back at some of the key decision you’d made to check that they were the right ones.   It’s strange for all the talk projects often end up as isolated islands in a sea of BAU (business as usual)  You pause you don’t get it.  Perhaps that’s how it will always be.  You know that in general people are afraid to be openly seen to be working hard on, or backing something that might fail. Perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult to get the rest of the organisation to take a real, active interest in the project.  Maybe they’re just too busy with today’s priorities to dedicate time to tomorrow’s.

But what it means in practice is that however hard you try you end up throwing stuff ‘over the wall’.  And then they throw it back!   It’s not sponsorship you’re after just more connectedness to the rest of the organisation, perhaps someone who speaks the local language of the function and has a deep understanding of how the project will alter the way things are.  Perhaps someone who can also help to look backwards at progress so far to understand what is being delivered….?

Somehow you have to find a way to ensure that participating in projects, even for people not part of the project team, is as much part of the day job as the day job!  Convincing them that BAU is now CAU – change as usual.

In a world where every project succeeds, our organisations need to be persuaded to work with the people leading the change.  Program managers and sponsors are key in providing this bridge.

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