When everyone is responsible — nobody is responsible or why sometimes projects are lagging
Imagine your average guy called John. For eight years he’s been working in a manufacturing company. He already knows his daily tasks very well. Probably so well, that he could do them with his eyes closed.
One day, during a casual Monday morning meeting, CEO of the company says:
-Guys we are modernizing, we have to keep up with today’s technologies. From next month we will start this IT project, it will help us to optimize things, earn more money, etc.
John thinks to himself:
-Why should we do it, everything is going great without any improvements.
As if these news were not enough, another wave strikes John when CEO says:
-Maria, Paul and John, you guys will be working together with IT company, to develop this new technology.
John, Maria and Paul looks around, no one burns with enthusiasm. They have their own tasks to do, same tasks that they were doing for the last several years..
Fast forward two weeks. IT guys and responsible people from manufacturing company agree to use Slack for daily questions, Skype for calls, etc. Real work begins. As in every project, there are details to be understood, so IT guys starts to ask questions and write the documentation.
Answers to these questions are sometimes pending for a day or two, sometimes for several days. Sometimes there are no answers at all. Nobody is in a hurry to address and answers these questions in a timely matter. The CEO of the manufacturing company does not understand where the problem is, why the project is not moving forward as fast as reasonably expected.
Where do you think the problem is in this situation?
The answer lies in the first sentence, in other words — nobody is really responsible, because when the team in manufacturing company was built, one key peace to the puzzle was missing — ONE responsible person from the client side. If such person was clearly assigned, most probably simple human psychology would have kicked in and the thought “Sh*t, now I have to take care of this”, would be in persons head.
Project management it’s not an easy task, because in essence your are managing people and their expectations. Despite this, sometimes the fix is simple yet hard to find. The more experience you as a project manager have, the easier and earlier you could notice such moments and bring in necessary adjustments.
P.S. All characters and their names in this story are fictional and were used for educational purposes only.