Matt HealeySaturday,10 November 2012

The Snap:

One of the issues in the corporate world is in the constant need to demonstrate your value to the organization. In some roles, like sales, this is easy as you can point directly to a number that quantifies your value. However in others, it is a bit more difficult as the value can not be directly measured. The problem is that the majority of the information employees are in the indirect category, and that leads to overbuild.

The Download:

There is a theory that more is always better. In a lot of cases this is true, however, it is not true in all cases. In many situations more is actually worse, not better. But that will never be the case in the corporate world, because employees whose value can not be directly measured need to demonstrate their value. The only way they can do this is to keep adding more and more stuff to a project so that when annual review time comes around, they can point to all of the bright shiny new initiatives that they have spearheaded, or driven, or owned, or whatever the fucking corporate lingo in their company is.

This need to demonstrate value leads to overbuild. Because everyone up the chain and involved in the program needs to demonstrate value by adding something, the project goes from a simple task that will address a specific problem to what I like to refer to as a “boil the ocean” project. The example I like to use to demonstrate this is changing a leaking bathroom faucet. At home, you simply go to the hardware store, buy a new faucet and install it. In the corporate world it works slightly differently. You submit a proposal to change the faucet. It goes to your manager, who then sends it to the sink department. They recommend that while changing the faucet, you also change out the sink, because it is scratched. The now larger proposal is then sent to the department in change of the vanity, who, to add value, recommends that as long as the sink is being changed, the vanity needs work as well. The project is now large enough that it has to go to the design committee. They then look at it and say that as long as all of this other work is being done, that you might as well redesign the entire bathroom. This keeps going on until the final proposal is to tear down the entire house and rebuild. This is sent to finance where, surprisingly there is no budget for a project of this size and the entire project is scrapped. Net result, a lot of time spent and the faucet still leaks. Corporate managers and information workers need to learn how to do more by doing less. Just change the fucking faucet.

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Image Credit: Flickr


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