The Dreaded Pyramid

From the My Professional Journey Blog
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Sharing Insights from my Professional life , where I have been a Sales Engineer, A Health Professional and now , a Project Management Professional. These blogs encompass my observations or experiences. They may be regarding the Projects that I have led or been a part of or something close to our daily lives like Mindfulness and health which may affect our productivity as Project Managers.

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Categories: Project Management


Picture a matrix based IT organization with a Project Management Team which relies on other functional teams to provide resources to work on Projects.

The functional teams are structured like a Pyramid and you find that the number of Levels of Management is much higher than the actual operational Staff.

You have worked with members of the bottom level of the pyramid and these are the staff that add most value to your projects. These are your Developers, your Business Analysts, your Architects and your Support Staff. 

These are sociable, talented and hard working people who know their subject matter.

You want them to work on your projects with closed eyes because you are well aware of their abilities and you get along well with them.

But you can't get access to them! 

You will have to go through four levels of Management to get access to them. That's just the beginning of the negotiation cycle.

You start at the Team Leader Level . Here , you can expect to get a variety of answers .- Resources are over-allocated, They are busy, They are starting on another project next week and are only available for a few hours.

When you look at the list of projects currently being performed by your IT Organization and perhaps, have enough insight into those projects or have been networking actively with other Project Managers to  analyse the resource usage on those projects , you find that the staff that you want on your project indeed has the capacity to do work on your project, but will just not be allocated to you for reasons that you cannot comprehend though you might have the budget to get them on your project.

You then move to the next level and try and acquire some resources and you may get a different response. Maybe they might encourage you to outsource that resource from your project budget. It's well and good. I can do that , but All I want to know that if there a capable internal resource who can provide immediate value on my project, why can't I pay for them instead?

Is the resource scheduling tool skewed? Do I need to hone my negotiation skills? Is there a magic trick that i need to conjure up?

As you move up the ladder and keep approaching higher levels of management, you reach a stage that there is almost always a project where everyone in the organization is busy working and you are left to hunt for external contractors who have no idea of how your organization works and are often not the best fit on your project.

You often wonder what value each level of Middle management does in their day to day work and how it justifies it's paycheck.

Posted on: April 21, 2017 01:48 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Lol It gives me heart to heart others experience the same frustration. As you said, my line employees, who I need to actually DO the work, face competing priorities, lack of commitment from their managers to my projects, and a challenge to their capacity. I try mitigate this by building into my schedule slack time to cover periods of dead time where I am waiting for approvals or other types of commitment. I report on this, and when challenged, explain my reasoning for the time required. Sometimes this will help increase commitment.

Thanks Ken. Understand that staff are busy but it some times seems like a "pseudo" effect created by team managers possibly to justify more staff or the management striving towards outsourcing

Good post. Thanks

Nice post. Liked to read it. It shares the frustations of many of us.

Thanks for sharing

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