The Funnel Problem

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

The funnel takes a large, chaotic amount of water and turns into a small, steady stream that can be guided to where it needs to go. When you are cooking or working with a car engine, funnels can be an indispensable tool. In the workplace though, funnels can be useful in limited circumstances; most of the time, they are simply a nuisance. In project work, they can severely hamper the work that is being done.

Of course, the funnel in the workplace is not a simple tool; it is a person who has enough authority so that every decision or piece of information has to go through them to get anywhere. While there may be situations or decisions that need to go through one person or one small group of people, the funnel in the workplace can kill productivity and morale—and easily endanger a project.

One-Stop Shop
Do you create work for approval and then wait weeks or months for it to be approved? Do all issues sit until one person makes a decision? Are all scope changes reviewed by the same manager? If any of those scenarios are true, then you have a one-stop shop in your department—and it’s hindering progress.

There may be high-level decisions that have to be approached by the right person; but this funnel is an organizational problem. While there may not be anything you can personally do about it, it’s vital that you observe and document it. Raise the …

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"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost