Last night, I dreamed I created an important and informative mathematical document that was requested, needed and would answer the relevant questions of something (a project, I think). But just as with real life, researching something and providing information about it doesn’t solve the real project issue, which is people.
In my dream, as I tried to provide the document to the members of the project who both requested the research and needed it, none would take it. Just as happens in real life, sometimes, I wasn’t quite sure why that was.
In my dream, people seemed busy and mainly reluctant to accept the information. There are several elements to this, it seems. First of all, people really are too busy to accept information and process it. Even when they wanted and needed it, when it comes, it doesn’t come at a time when they are suddenly free to process it and that free time will probably never come for them, meaning there won’t be an “ideal” time to receive the information. Some people will play some gamesmanship around this, too. They might receive e-mail or phone calls indicating they have a deadline to process information and they don’t respond, later claiming that a non-response doesn’t count – that the project can’t make a date for everyone to respond and let non-responses go unchallenged – that the project can’t continue when there are non-responses, regardless what rule the project put forth.
I have a couple comments about that: First of all, it’s not sensible for anyone on the project who sees such a note to not respond and then make a claim that the project can’t go forward when they were warned that the project would go forward. No-one should think they’re so important that they don’t need to respond. If a person wants to challenge the deadline, they need to do so as soon as they know they can’t make the deadline.
On the other hand, there does sometimes have to be some training of the project team to respond to items, if the company culture is that where people typically ignore deadlines. Also, there should be thought given to the best method of information delivery and collection.
Bottom line: Most projects make it clear that they operate on a system that ALL team members MUST bring up issues AS SOON AS the team member knows about them. Waiting until a deadline to indicate that it can’t be met isn’t acceptable. This concept is key to a successful project. It’s just one way to make a dream into a reality.