29 April 2009

Alignment

Alignment problems are usually thought to be horizontal: The infrastructure team aren't in line with the applications team, or the requirements team don't properly undestand the business, or the developer team have misinterpreted the design...

Does this sound like a problem you have encountered?  Was it the biggest problem on the team at the time? I suspect it wasn't.

I suspenct that the biggest gaps in alignment are vertical.  And that means senior management don't understand the complexities and detail of frontline operatives, and frontline staff aren't clear on the competing priorities of cost and quality.  As a result they are in conflict over project requirements and success criteria.

What can we do about this?  Do we take a position aligning with one side or another, or do we broker understanding.

What should we do?  What are you doing?

Picture by Mamzel*D,cc @ Flickr

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:12 pm

    I've been there a couple times. A member of one of the teams accused of being out of alignment with the others. Or waiting on that team and wondering why the gap exists. Sometimes I've been able to gently educate those over me. But more frequently it's too late by that time. The project is already underway, people made all sorts of terrible assumptions going into it without knowing the facts or talking to the people in the know... and it's just been ugly. We've gotten through the project because of our professionalism and our ability to adapt and overcome. But it's been painful. And projects shouldn't be run that way.

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  2. Yep;

    There are two types of clients out there (said sardonically): those that understnad projects and those that don't.

    And another aphorism ->

    Why hire a project manager when all you need is a team leder?

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