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Excessive Upward Decision Delegation June 22, 2007

Posted by Darth Sidious in Project Management.
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Many organizations suffer from excessive upward decision delegation, where you cc your boss, and he cc’s a General, and he cc’s a Sith Lord who can then rope in the Sith Lord of an adjacent team and then work all the way down to the target team that work is requested from.

Why does this happen? Well, if they’re Jedi scum, enough said. So called ‘experts’ say this is a result of management who tend to overturn decisions frequently, therefore staff feel they need to constantly get the final decision by delegating up. The second reason they point out is they may not know how to do the job – in such cases we electrocute such staff.

There is another reason however; it’s the result of unidentified roles. If you bring together a collaborative team of experts who are all Sr rank, and it’s unclear who ultimately has to make the decisions. When bringing together a group of people to work on a project you have to clearly identify the following roles (or what role each person has):

Responsible/Owner: The *ONE* person ultimately responsible for the project. They are empowered to make all the decisions in the end. It’s effectively the project leader. In small projects, the owner is often the person that also does the bulk of the work, but not always. The Owner is responsible for getting the project done, either by doing things themselves, or making sure that they have the people they need to get the job done.

Approver/Executive Sponsor: Someone who is signing off on the project, and empowering the owner.

Supporters: These are people in the team that have active tasks and portions of the project to complete. They do the work.

Consultants: Subject Matter Experts: they provide advice, direction, and guidance based on their experience and expertise. But typically don’t have much active work in the project.

Informed: People who need to be kept in the loop. They may be managers of teams that will be impacted by the project, end users, training teams, etc… They don’t have much say in the project.

Darth Sidious

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