‘Hey, Steph, how are you?’
Eventually Anna bumps into Steph in a corridor in head office. Anna feels guilty for not checking into this part of the project for some time. She has been pushing this work to the back of her mind for some time.
As Steph turns round her smile fades, not for recognising Anna, more for remembering the work she promised to do. The thought, ‘what happened to that?’ flashed through her brain.
A memory of lost notes and instructions and people going off sick flushed through her memory like hot water in a dry sponge.
‘Oh, hi Anna, how are you?’
‘I guess from the look on your face that things have not being going too well on that e-Trolley work we discussed?’
Steph decides honesty is the only workable option and to spill the proverbial beans about the weight of a can of….’
‘Come along to Barcode City and I’ll tell you what’s happened.’
Steph explains about the broken PC that lost her to-do file, the manager that went on long-term sick leave and a whole host of other issues and problems that had come up. She apologises openly and honestly.
Anna has a number of options at this point which tumble through her head. She could go up the wall with Steph explaining how the whole report will just have to go before the board with a gaping hole where the re-organisation bit should go or she can demand that Steph drop everything and do the whole thing in the next few days if necessary working over the weekend and get the report to her. She decides it would be best and to come over to Steph’s side to find a way out.
These situations arise often in projects and honesty is as rare as piles of dung behind wooden rocking horses.
Depending on their position, people pretend to have done the work, nearly to have done the work or desperately to need the work now or any minute now. The result is so often that work is done in a rushed and incomplete way at extreme inconvenience to people actually doing the work. Having rushed the work over the weekend, having guessed at some numbers or taken unsubstantiated views they hand over the ‘finished’ work which then lays in someone’s in tray for a couple more weeks. The result is poor quality work, dissatisfied people and another dent in the already thin respect for management and especially project management. Sticking to your guns often gets someone shot.
As someone once wisely said, ‘a lack of planning on your behalf does not justify a panic on mine.’
But Anna and Steph have avoided this and carefully and honestly think through what Anna actually needs and when she needs it and what Steph can provide and when she can provide it.
They find a way. Anna plans to distribute the report on the pilot at the end of November, a week before her presentation to the board. She has given herself two weeks to gather all the remaining information and write up the report. She could refer to a section on organisational changes filed separately if needed but does definitely need a few lines on the budget calculations before the last day or two of November. As long as Steph delivers the document in time it can be merged in and mailed as scheduled. The few numbers are vital.
‘But if you let me down, I will have to send it out with a big hole labelled awaiting overdue input from Barcode City before finalisation, so please don’t let me down,’
‘I won’t, I promise. And thanks.’
Thanks to Geoff Reiss for contributing this book