8 June 2010

Office Politics RESOLVED (You make the call)

Last week we told you about our colleague Jane's Office Politics dilemma and you told us what you would do.

What Jane did do was focus on quick wins to help her build back a level of trust. It meant compromising some of her project efforts, as some of the longer term goals would have to be reworked or simply be delivered to a lower standard than initially planned.

On the other hand she needed to do something or the project would be doomed to failure. So she took a day away from the office and reflected on her options for quick wins. Her plan was modified and she began work.

A part of this involved trying to bring her troublesome stakeholder “on the journey” but it quickly became apparent that this was not going to happen so she abandoned efforts in that direction and got focused on early delivery of business value.

The project started to pump out releases; new and streamlined business processes that started turning around work faster and with less defects (aka rework.) The benefits were tangible, but part of what was abandoned was the base-lining measurement phase of her project so the degree of benefit that was achieved was not measurable.

She restored trust with many of her project stakeholders and was commended for her professionalism under fire from the enemy, but the project only delivered part of what it had originally promised before this project manager decided to call it a day and move on.

Do you recognize any of these factors from your won experience? If you were in the person’s place what would you have done?

Picture cc from  lamont_cranston at Flickr


  1. Which proves that the comment i made to the earlier post was correct. What I said was (in a nutt shell) that if you lose the support of the project sponsor you're a dead duck and you should move on.

    Let's look at the facts:

    The project manager decided to remain and attempt to deliver. She ended up delivering a smaller scope and reduced business benefits, and then she decided to leave!!!

    Wouldn't the business be better of if a manager, enjoying their confidence (irrespective how wrong they were initially) were to step in and deliver the full set of benefits?

  2. Indeed I am a fan of knowing when to quit (and have done that at least a few times for various reasons) but everyone has different motivations.

    I take your point though that less was achieved that potentially could have been.

    But, was this result the best on for the client given the circumstances (i.e. the past facts have happened.)

  3. Shim, like Craig I see your point, but what is to say that the replacement PM would have had fewer issues with the business representatives? If you assume that the business reps would have been just as problematic, then it didn't matter to the project if the current PM stayed or left. By staying, she proved she could deliver and probably made her boss a fan for life.

  4. Craig and Ted,

    The point I was trying to make, though not explicitly, is that it seems to me that in this case the pm chose to remain in her job to prove the point that she CAN do the job. I believe in putting egos aside as proving a point, any point, comes at a cost. It could be a personal cost, it could be manifested in inability to deliver on full objectives, etc. If you get to a point where you can't do your job, move on, don't stay just to make a point, as from that point onwards the prospects of achieving a win-win resolution are too low to be of any value.