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Management’s Impact on Department Relationships and Project Success

In 2009, I wrote an article titled "The Death of Projects". In it, I talked about factors that negatively impact project ROIs, Timelines, Contingencies, Completion, etc. Here is an excerpt that talks about the progression of typical improvement activities at most companies:

"Improvement teams were formed and regular team meetings commenced. Data was collected and analyzed to confirm each problem. So far…so good! But…when action plans were proposed to fix problems that had been identified, cooperation between departments began to fall apart and commitments were made that were not kept. Completion dates for several projects were moved forward by several months; eventually, the status for these projects was changed to “inactive” and all work on them stopped. Some managers had experienced this phenomenon earlier in their careers, so delayed/stalled projects were accepted as “part of the improvement process”. New projects were added to the Project Report, but many would have the same fate. In the meantime, the Board of Directors was losing patience as the management team reported slower than expected progress quarter after quarter. What was wrong with this scenario?"

Many projects require the cooperation of other departments to improve efficiency and bring the dollars to the bottom line. Unfortunately, obstacles created unintentionally within the management system prevent or discourage the kind of cooperation needed to increase project ROIs, accelerate project timelines and reduce contingencies. The value associated with department collaboration is seldom quantified or recognized, but can easily run into the millions of dollars. What if management managed their departments differently to intentionally capture project benefits? It's possible! Management has TOTAL CONTROL over this dynamic - the first step in the process is raising awareness about management's opportunity to directly contribute to project success. Any comments?

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