Friday, July 25, 2008

Beating Decisions to Death

I was sitting in a meeting the other day for one of those "problem projects."

Throughout my involvement, I couldn't put my finger on why it has been so hard to make a decision and stick with it. Until I witnessed the following:

PM: Next up, how we are going to handle Organizational Accounts

Associate Muck: They don't have portal accounts. So there is still an issue.

Main Muck: Is this important for Go Live?

Associate Muck: No. But....

Main Muck: Is there any reason why the old process will be problematic?

Associate Muck: No. But we think that they will really like this new system.

Main Muck: Has any of the organizations expressed any interest? They are aware of what's happening.

Associate Muck: Haven't heard anything yet.

Main Muck: Are there any variables that I am not aware of that will make this a necessary part of the implementation.

Silence

Main Muck: Excellent! So let's not worry about it until after the go live. The decision is to table the Organizational Account implementation until after the students are up and running.

(Note: The main muck is really really high up in the organization - so the buck stops there. We don't have to worry about any approvals regarding this decision).

Developer: We need to look at why we did not give the organizations portal accounts.

Associate Muck: Wasn't it connected with not having a concrete person to attach the account to?.....


Ah HA! No WONDER the project gets confused about their decisions! They make a decision - then they continue discussing the decision. Even AFTER THE MAIN MUCK HAS MADE THE DECISION and all variables in making the decision have been discussed!

From my perspective - this should be a much easier process:
1) Determine the decision that needs to be made
2) Discuss all of the variables. Bring in experts and stakeholders if necessary.
3) Make the decision
4) Get the appropriate approvals.
5) Revisit the decision ONLY if new variables come in to play as a result of the approval process. (Any forgotten variables that impact the decision will be discovered here).
6) Implement the decision.

These guys were revisiting the decision after getting the approvals and rehashing the old variables. Ad nauseum.

Thankfully, the Main Muck lost patience after 5 minutes. I'm beginning to really like this guy......

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