Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to avoid development?

All office workers and especially managers know that development and change are very uncomfortable. Changes like new products, new processes, new structures demand extra effort and work. There are usually many loose ends and many new things you need to think of. Perhaps a change would mean cleaning up the mess you currently have in the IT systems, technological architecture or processes. You probably might also need to talk to people that you do not know previously or maybe even don't like. All this is very stressful. So how you as a manager can silence that (annoying) guy with the new bright idea. How to kill the enthusiasm of creating new ways of working? Here are some ways how one can accomplish that:

It all starts by creating a process for incoming development ideas. The process must definitely not start with an e-mail or a phone call to you. No, no, no - that would have the opposite effect. Instead consider the following methods:
- Create a mailinglist for the incoming ideas and accept only e-mails that you receive there. You might be the only person in that list, but accept only e-mails that are sent to the correct mailinglist address not your personal one.

- Create a formular for new ideas. The less changes you want the longer the formular. With this you can also put the task of solving many issues from your shoulders to the "guy with the idea". Ask questions like: Do you have acceptance from that, that and that person/department? or What resources do you need? or Do you have a budget for this? Nevermind, that you have the most experience and information to answer these questions. Put them in the form and if they are not filled then - sorry.

- As a mailinglist is still a pretty easy way for sending ideas you might rather set up a un-userfriendly IT system for that. Go wild and use SAP! Note also that using a complicated process for getting a username and password for that IT system provides another fine way of filtering out those annoying ideas of change. Consider for example outsourcing that to the Helpdesk in India.

- Maybe demanding the idea to be faxed to you would be going a bit too far, but do demand a lot of decision material in the form of a business plan, cost analysis and detailed project plan. Why not throw in a risk analysis, customer and market analysis or a demand for reporting. Here can you a lot of ideas from government agencies that are dealing with subsidies for businesses and organizations.

- Finally, set up a board that decides whether the idea is good or not. Meet no more than once a month. Do limit the time of the meeting and the amount of ideas that get an OK. You could even agree with the neighbouring department that if they say no to an idea then you say no to it and vice versa. So you can always ask: "Have they accepted the idea?"...

Do you know any better methods for fighting corporate progress?

Ehh....if it only wasn't the customers, technical progress and competition.