Thursday, 25 June 2015

Games playing and the 'non-available manager'

I've seen people playing politics in business and I rarely like it.  As a PM I see this all the time and although I accept that's how people often do business, it seems to me that it's much more destructive than helpful.

It always reminds me of the opening comments from one of my project management lecturers:

Him: (to class) "Hands up if you don't like politics"

(People gingerly put up their hands, not knowing if they should or not.)

Him: "If you've got your hand up, don't become a project manager."

I don't fully agree with this.  I don't like politics, but I make a reasonably good BA and PM.  I think that you need to be aware of politics, but you shouldn't get involved...if possible.  You should also discourage it in others.

There is a simple truth here.  People don't play politics all that well, but they think that they do.  Funnily, we're just older versions of the kids in the playground - sulky, bullying, stopping other kids having the toys - often just because it's possible to do that.  Is that you?

The worst part is that the BA/PM is you best ally in getting your business change delivered, but you constantly get fobbed off.  Why you'd go to the trouble of asking for something and then stopping it happening; or denying access to assets, people or knowledge; or refusing time to define the deliverables, just seems so odd to me.  You're paying for me, and the quicker things happen, the less you pay (or the more I can do).

If you don't know what you want, (and I suspect that's what the issues often are) then just admit that and I'll deliver that you do know as a agile prototype and not a "big bang" rollout.  Saying that you don't know often sets you free.

There are still some serious game players.  I've pretty much seen them boasting about this.  If you're one of those people, then please consider this:

"If you're playing games in business, you probably think you're some sort of strategic genius.  No, you're just confusing everyone and wasting cash." (@jugglingsand)

Honestly, I really don't mind travelling somewhere in order for you to cancel meetings or not show up, but you're going to have to do the meeting at some point, with me or someone else and you're costing the organisation a shed-load of cash for every second of my time that you waste.  Where there are benefits that justify your project, you're diminishing those too.

So, you can dismiss my 'big paper', 'sitting around on bean bags, debating solutions' approach as 'new age', but bear with me and I'll help you understand the changes needed, nail down the spec and reduce the chance of failure later on.  If not, just keep playing the games and watch as you take the flak for non-delivery.  Your move.

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