Delivering and Supporting Confidence

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

So far in this short series of articles, I’ve looked at Defining Organizational Agility in a real-world environment and considered the impact of the concept on project delivery (Delivering Organizational Agility). In this final piece, I want to look at how organizations go about creating an environment where those project managers and teams are comfortable and confident in embracing the empowered autonomy they need to deliver an effective organizational agility environment.

That’s a major change for many levels of the organization, which is why I think it deserves its own separate article.

The confidence conundrum
Let’s start by looking at a little bit of history when it comes to project team autonomy. This isn’t a new concept that is only coming about because of organizational agility, it’s something that organizations have been trying to create for some time. Leaders don’t want PMs and teams to escalate every last issue or challenge that arises; in that situation, you may as well not have a PM in the first place. So, teams have long been encouraged to have the confidence to make decisions for themselves and then “ask for forgiveness instead of permission.”

The problem is, that only goes so far. Either the ability to act is restricted to certain fairly small decisions, or a decision is made that a sponsor or other …


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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain

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