Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bring in the Communication team!

I am recently assigned to work on a project that in reality is a program. It is so big that it has its own PMO, Change Management team and Org Chart. The team keeps growing to the point that 4 team rooms were not enough so we had to move to a new location and we have a team floor.
As a coach that joined team late in the project, one change I decided to make was to collocate IT, Business and Vendors. They were all sitting in different areas. Close to each-other, but not together. In my mind, a small change like this, would make a big impact on how the information will flow and how the collaboration will improve. So I suggested that when we move to the new place, we re-arrange the seats so we create these cross-functional and cross-vendor areas on the floor. It was taken in a positive way and I heard some PM and some Directors supporting this idea.
Due to the higher levels involved on this, I was not part of the move-plan. So patiently, I waited to see if my suggestion was considered. On the moving day, we moved to our desks and I noticed who the clear line was put between the Business side and the IT side. The line is actually right at the end of my desk. It is a narrow path for people to move and then there is a desk where someone from Business is sitting.

I decided to call this narrow path "Checkpoint Charlie"

Through some Lunch&Learn sessions I have been running, I created some connections with the Change Management team. They invited me to a meeting with them, and one of their concerns was that they didn't know the scale of the change this project is bring on the IT side. They had a good knowledge on how business was changing, what areas needed more training, etc. Nothing on IT.
So I asked them what was their plan, their next step. And they looked and me and said "We hope you can help us connect with IT. We are creating communication emails, internal websites and have weekly meeting to improve this".

I am not against having emails that go to everyone on the team and gives everyone some updates on what is going on around, ways to thank and support each-other, any baby's born, any events coming up...etc.
But I am against using these emails as the transportation vehicle of a message from Business to IT.

I told them about my idea of changing how we are sitting now. How we can organize the areas where Business and IT are sitting close together. They looked at me baffled. That was a decision made by PMO and executed diligently by an assistant admin. So diligently, that when I suggested the idea of teams being created by "Who do we need to make this work stream successful?" on an empty wall where everyone could write the names of the valuable people, she started screaming to people and telling them that SHE was the one to make that decision!

I asked the communication team what was their goal. They mentioned that the main thing was training and readiness, but communication was a big concern. Here we have a group of people (some of them contractors that are not cheap at all) that instead of helping with what brings value to the delivery, help with moving messages back and forth. All because the walls between Business and IT are still guarded by PMO.

No comments:

Post a Comment