I do a few consultations every week, which allows practitioners and students to exchange ideas with me. I then pack many of the contents of the consultation hours into blog articles. This article is also the origin of telephone calls.
Numerous calls from scrum masters and project managers as well as change managers reached me since March 2020 – the topic was the change of work since the lockdown by COVID-19. Virtual work forces companies to make numerous changes, and companies are primarily obliged to deliver products/services to customers due to declining sales. There is no longer any time for long voting channels and long discussions. Companies need to act now.
I work and no one participates!
Unfortunately, I hear the sentence from the headline very often. Employees or executives want to implement projects and customer wishes quickly. However, it seems almost impossible to bring a task into the company. Each task must be extensively coordinated and described in tickets in such detail that it takes more than twice the time to complete the task.
It seems to the subjects like a fight against giants only to get a tiny firewall activation or a project plan approval by the management. Every task, however small, has to be through a massive approval and voting process, according to the feeling of the subjects. But where does this come from?
Measures to avoid work
Basically, companies are built according to controland and control. Unfortunately, this system also requires a large number of measures to avoid work. We can see examples in the picture above, which I have also experienced in my career as a management consultant, especially in large companies.
Unfortunately, such measures to avoid work become more and more numerous as the size of the company increases. Examples are:
- Requirements are missing
- The business case is missing
- The boss should approve this
- I am not responsible for this
- There is no process
- I ask questions and confuse the applicant
- Someone else has to do that – who don’t know
- Who says I have to do this?
- The problem needs to be described in more detail
- The ticket is incomplete
- I need a release of Department X
Let’s talk overly and imagine that we work in an organization with 12,000 employees. With these sentences we could easily assign any task of us for 2 weeks. We would use one of the many work-avoidance measures and stifle requests in the bureaucracy with every question to us.
Domino effect: Work avoidance
I don’t know whether intentionally or not, but after the duration, it happens that an employee does this kind of avoidance. Afterwards, employees in his area start to try them as well. Imagine: Someone is asking you to create a report for the Astron project. But you know that the Astron project manager does a lot of work avoidance and will find it difficult to give you the data. You will need to ask 8h to create a report of 1h effort. The project manager will ask you to get a release from the boss and also ask why the report is necessary. You can prepare for a long discussion, especially since the boss is hardly reachable by the project manager. They have no desire for it and unconsciously do this avoidance themselves and ask the applicant for the report to be released by the boss: a serious domino effect
Conclusion and my tips
Such work avoid-measures are very bad for companies. It is easy to exploit control bodies and corporate functions for such a false use case. This then becomes a dangerous domino effect. One by one, the desire will be lost. It only helps to eliminate such measures by means of agile methods and to show transparently where such work avoidance is carried out. This is mainly due to the executives. In the end, however, the most important thing is that the mindset of employees does not apply such measures.Lesen Sie mehr dazu.
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