In a previous career, I was tasked with the reorganization of an information and assistance office. The problem was information that was disorganized and out of date. It was important to remedy this situation because case managers needed to be able to access accurate and up-to-date information for clients.
In preparation, I met with the stakeholders (case managers) to identify the types and categories of information they needed and asked them to prioritize their needs. For example, I asked if there was some information that needed to be bundled for quick access. I also determined the placement of the new information storage and received consensus from the case managers. However, while not a complete failure, the project did go the way I had expected.
What went wrong?
While I had met with the stakeholders I had identified as being the primary focus of the reorganization, the case managers, I had failed to take into account other stakeholders. Greer
(2010) cautions that
failure to include all the stakeholders will create problems, such as rework,
or in my case, a complete work stoppage.
The stakeholder I had omitted was the chief financial officer who became
very agitated to discover I was recycling materials. Even though the materials were outdated and
worthless to the case managers, because county funds had been used to purchase
them there was a procedure that had to be followed.
How could this have been avoided?
The cliché, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was shared by Troy Achong in the video Practitioner Voices: Overcoming ‘Scope Creep’ (Laureate Education, n.d.). Understanding the influence of internal stakeholders (case managers, clients) and external stakeholders (financial officer, county fiscal department) and ensuring that the project actions function within established policy and procedure would have gone a long way in avoiding the problem.
How it all ended?
In the end, the materials were reorganized and the stakeholders were satisfied. The chief financial officer and I were able to overcome the obstacle of county code by taking an accurate count of the materials destroyed and creating a written record. From this problem also rose a solution. By examining what went wrong and determining what could be learned from the mistake
we created a policy that limited the amount of material that could be purchased
at one time. The root cause of the
original problem was the over purchasing of
Greer, M. (2010). The project minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu