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I worked with an organization in which the VP of one division had demanded that every project IT did had to include three weeks of his division doing user-acceptance testing. Obviously, this would delay every organization-wide IT project unacceptably. But IT was still seen as a cost center in this organization, and they didn’t have enough clout to say no.
Every dispute in an organization is an opportunity for improving business systems and practices. In this case, the problem turned out to be that the VP’s point of contact with IT hadn’t been conveying status updates and requests to him. Of course she should have been doing that, but what was also true was that he hadn’t been clear about what updates he wanted and needed. What’s more, he’d let weeks go by when he knew he should be getting updates from her, but never asked why she wasn’t providing them.
Once this VP knew what the real problem was, he stopped demanding three weeks of user-acceptance testing for every IT project. He created a schedule for himself to check in with his point of contact with IT. The COO had a private meeting with him in which other guidelines were set for him in how he managed his team and his reports.
When disputes arise in your organization, especially if they involve the same core issue, use that as an opportunity to see if something about your business systems and practices can be improved. Figure out what you can do to avoid the problem in the future.
Photo credit: © 2011 B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.