I’ve just completed an activity which involved looking at the ways organisational context can facilitate or constrain people’s actions within it.
This involved looking at a problem solving activity, and answered a series of questions about how it came about, who else was involved, what the main issues were, the key activities that took place, the rewarding aspects, and the frustrating aspects.
I also looked at how the organisational context was reflected in the problem itself, and was quite surprised to find out that two virtually mirrored each other – with the organisational context strongly influencing the approach to solving the problem, involving key stakeholders from the organisational structure.
So what have I learnt?
There are some positive aspects to the organisational context within which I work:
- The organisational context positively influences the approach to solving the problem.
- Key stakeholders are clearly identifiable from the organisational structure.
- Decisions are always made by people who have authority to make them. (Also a negative!)
There are also some negative aspects:
- People are reluctant to make decisions unless they have the authority.
- Frequently encounter systemic frustrations related to constraining business processes.
- Individual frustrations due to compartmentalised thinking in some departments.
Some things clearly need to change:
- A more formalised estimating and planning process needs to be introduced at the early initiation stages of a project.
- Project deliverables need to be baselined and a formal change control process followed for any changes required after the baseline.
- Everyone needs to be given sufficient autonomy to do their job and prioritise their work.
- Business processes should be reviewed to identify areas which hold up progress.
- Compartmentalised thinking should be eradicated and boundaries between departments reduced, if not removed altogether.