Google ‘turning on a dime’, and images like this one pop up.
You don’t get to be a project manager for long without realizing that some dimes are a lot bigger than others.
So how long should it take to correct course? A day, a week, a month?
The correct answer is ‘immediately’. Well, all right, a day would be pretty good too.
By the time an issue reaches the steering group, decisive action needs to be taken. This means having someone in that room who can take real decisions with immediate consequences.
Consequences such as:
- This person will not be going on that business trip
- That person is not going to have a holiday at this particular time
- That reassignment of key personnel – well, it’s just been revoked
Bottom line: Key personnel are going to get cracking on the issues that have just been identified. Now.
Of course that steering group member might decide to focus resources on something else – and choose to live with the consequences.
The point is that he or she has the authority to make decisions and have them stick.
The alternative is, well, no alternative at all.
Everyone agrees that a certain course of action may be best, but no decision is actually taken.
Finally a decision is taken, but no one has the authority to take the necessary action.
Another steering group meeting is called.
You get the picture.
Here’s an observation that you may, or may not, agree with: Most managers have a blind spot about the time it takes them to redeploy their own people.
Agility makes projects on time.
Just ask Frank van Gool .