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Topics: Career Development, Change Management, Consulting
Leadership doesn't want to plan, they just want it done!
Hi PMs, May I give you all a scenario? You have a large global organization who is in the midst of a transition. The C-Suite cascaded a new vision and the leader of each division has subsequently craved out a mission, vision, etc that rolls up to the C-Suite's vision.

We all know this song and dance: The department is understaffed, everyone is streched thin and department leadership wants 14 projects/initiatives lauched and closed by 12/31/2020. The trick is, departmental leadership and other leadership level stakeholders DO NOT want to plan!!! They just want to get it done. These people don't event want to provide scope or requirements; that's how bad it is. "We just need to tackle this beast!" Leaders are saying things like, "I'm the only person who can do this, but I don't have time until October" Really, Dude? And they literally will not do the work.

I was thinking of moving to more of an Agile framework to allow for iteration. HOwever if these folks dont want to do the work in the first place, how can you expect project success.

Dysfunction at it's finest. I just don't know what to do...any suggestions?
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Feb 21, 2020 1:09 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
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Erikka

This is a dictatorship, not leadership. In scenarios like this, you can try and introduce Agile and the concept of servant leadership while showing the real added value of doing this.

Its a tough situation, no questions about that, but arguing and confronting won't help in this situation.

RK
I agree with you Rami. A dictatorship for sure. One probably born out of panic. I've seen this before - leaders trying to get a handle on stakeholder expectations and escalations. You can manage what you have influence over. Small wins for your team and let the rest go; or find other employment. However, I must warn you. Every organization has this issue. It's a matter of to what degree.
Erikka,

PMI’s Brightline initiative addresses the issues and concerns of strategy implementation, and it does this from an executive’s point of view. I would recommend that you invite your executives to review the initiative, especially if they desire successful outcomes. A good starting point is the 10 guiding principles, of which three of them are:

- Acknowledge that strategy delivery is just as important as strategy design
- Accept that you’re accountable for delivering the strategy you designed
- Promote team engagement and effective cross-business cooperation

The common theme is that success will not come from passively involved executives. Although seemingly obvious to us, executives need a little nurturing.
You all are so amazing. I feel so much better knowing that this happens to some degree or another in companies. I am not in a position where I have the ear of senior leadership and the resistance drives me crazy. I can't thank you all enough for this wisdom and for practical ideas of how to move things along. Thank you, Thank you!
I believe the key to solving the problem lies in this statement - "These people don't even want to provide scope or requirements". Based on the context I'm gathering that "these people" refer to the leadership. If this is correct then we need to understand that we should not rely on them to provide the scope and/or requirements. As leaders, they are supposed to provide the vision/objectives while business users must provide the requirements needed to support those objectives. Now if there are no objective/s then you have a huge problem, much bigger than not having requirements.
Obviously it is part of the analyst's job to support the PM in eliciting and aligning requirements with the objective/s and if this objective/ s are understood I would proceed to engage the user community.
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1 reply by Erikka Cullum
Feb 25, 2020 4:52 PM
Erikka Cullum
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Hi Anton, I agree with you. However there are leaders saying "I'm the only person who can do this, but I don't have time until October". Mentioned this above. That's my challenge. The leaders are saying they are the only ones who can provide this information, yet they are too busy to provide the information.
Feb 25, 2020 12:02 AM
Replying to Anton Oosthuizen
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I believe the key to solving the problem lies in this statement - "These people don't even want to provide scope or requirements". Based on the context I'm gathering that "these people" refer to the leadership. If this is correct then we need to understand that we should not rely on them to provide the scope and/or requirements. As leaders, they are supposed to provide the vision/objectives while business users must provide the requirements needed to support those objectives. Now if there are no objective/s then you have a huge problem, much bigger than not having requirements.
Obviously it is part of the analyst's job to support the PM in eliciting and aligning requirements with the objective/s and if this objective/ s are understood I would proceed to engage the user community.
Hi Anton, I agree with you. However there are leaders saying "I'm the only person who can do this, but I don't have time until October". Mentioned this above. That's my challenge. The leaders are saying they are the only ones who can provide this information, yet they are too busy to provide the information.
Determine the project impact on their lack of, or delayed, input. Advise them accordingly. Ultimately you cannot force involvement all you can do is try and convince them through logic and risk of negative financial impact. If you can't generate some level of excitement the project(s) is/are doomed.
Sounds like the old saying:
"When you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Feb 21, 2020 11:11 AM
Replying to Larry Miner
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Tough situation. If they'd listen I'd explain the steps, the process, asking for their help, but promising i'd stay out of their way. I've been in this position a bit. What I did was I stopped using PM terminology, take away any threat, and began with simply setting down and collecting a narrative. Once i had something I refined it, asking if I had it correct... until I had a plan. They owned it, it was their narrative, their understanding. From that I could plan and support them. I asked if I could make a call or clear the way for them. Eventually they began to turn it over to me. It was painful. I can't say i enjoyed it but it got everything moving. Good luck.
I have been in a similar situation and a sensible solution that worked for me was provided by Larry.
Some answers are misleading and do not understand the concept that the leadership knows better and they are too busy to learn a different way. Above all, introducing Agile at this point, would mess things even worse for now, and for the future when you get it on a straight line.
The management clearly realizes opportunities but does not accept the cost of them. You have to understand how it starts - usually it is the problem with transitioning from startup thinking to mature organization. Leaders think as "just do it" while organization acquired so many weird, bloated, compliance, security, etc processes that it halts the startup "just do it" delivery.
Follow Larry's advice and you'll be ok (either way).
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