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Project owner acting against the project

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  • #33158

    mioln
    Participant

    The case:I’ve been hired by the top management to implement a quality data gathering system, for process optimizing and to get the company through to certification after the ISO 9001 standard.The problem:The topmanagement is stating when I ask them, that these 2 projects have their full attention. BUT in everyday life their actions tell me a rather different story. They alter implementationdates with the argument that their is not enough time for defectgathering. They are quite aware of the problem that there will be no process optimation without data to analyse. Another problem is that they are not willing to realease ressources needed for ex. education & training. Their are NO training done at all!! the time needed for this training can not be released due to topmanagement decitions.For me it seems like they would like to have all the benefits but they won’t use any time on it.It’s quite frustrating to me as it is the same people that hired me who is also stopping the Quality project. But then again it’s their company, so what do I care. Problem 3: I do care, and I can see all the benefits the company would gain and the people working here.Has any of you expirienced a sitiation like this, and do you have any solutionidees/inspiration.ThanksMiolnQA-Manager

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    #89233

    DaveG
    Participant

    When I was in your position, I politely explained my concerns to my management.  They did not get angry at me, nor did they change the status quo.  Since I could no longer improve the company’s performance, I found a better job.

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    #89237

    Anderson
    Participant

    Dave, good advice (you always have excellent insight and advice).
    Mioln, at some point, you’ll be the scapegoat for the failure of the Quality system, which is inevitable unless there’s a change in some key managment positions (faces or attitudes).  You can somewhat cover your self by holding periodic (monthly or bi-monthly) management review / planning sessions, and distribute meeting minutes.  Then, update your resume, and walk before they make you run!  Remember – business has no conscience!
    Good luck!

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    #89246

    DaveG
    Participant

    Mike,
    Thank you for the compliment! :-)
    Mioln,
    I wish I could blow sunshine at you, but I have never seen anyone act like your champion and then suddenly “get it”, and the external influence Mike mentioned is the only way I can imagine would cause that change.  Unfortunately, I have seen far too many examples of vision-less management, most recently at a major aircraft engine manufacturer (not GE or Rolls Royce).  My wife thinks I can’t face reality, but I’m determined to find a workplace that walks the walk.

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    #89248

    JP
    Participant

    Hi Miolin
     
    I suggest a different approach to those previously suggested since walking away is not the best approach at this stage.
     
    I have been in your situation many times and my experience is that management tend not to support initiatives in which they can see no direct benefit to them/ their company.  Have you done any kind of cost benefit analysis for the rollout of your programme?  You may find executives are more attentive if you can demonstrate potential dollar saves, how you can retain clients or generate extra revenue if they were to provide you with resource.  Then you have to deliver so focus in one or two areas where you can make a big impact and where you have the most support (remember support without $ impact doesn’t really help)
     
    As for training, managers tend to see this a low value add.  After all, you want them to leave their urgent work to learn about something which they may not see results from in a long time.  Be realistic about how much time you expect from them and give them just enough awareness so they understand the concepts and what resource requirements you have.  I find that senior managers are quite happy to agree to 1-2 hour upfront so you’ll need a fantastic pitch.  Talk to them in their business language… not in your programme language.
    Rollout of quality programmes is an uphill struggle without management support.  But I can assure you that sticking with it can bring you immense satisfaction and will certainly prove wonderful for your career.  Remember…. you will be the one who made it all happen

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    #89257

    Anderson
    Participant

    Miolin, jp’s suggestions are good ones, but I would still have an alternative (i.e., 3- or 5-year) plan.  On the one hand, you’ve got to be a tireless salesman of the Quality program, as people will just see it as just more work, and if the upper management doesn’t hold them accountable for it, they won’t do it unless there’s some immediate direct benefit to doing it.  Look at it from their viewpoint – what’s in it for them?  Doing a Pareto analysis of defects (internal and external), by both quantity and in terms of cost of poor quality, tends to draw some interest, and help the people responsible to focus (and justify) their efforts.  Form a small cross-functional team to solve one of the bigger problems (contribute to the score, instead of being a scorekeeper)
    On the other hand, continual lack of management support does not bode well – update your resume, and if things don’t change in the next 1-2 years (depending on how long you’re been there), look elsewhere (internally or externally).  There’s no sense being a martyr.

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    #89289

    mioln
    Participant

    Thanks alot for the many great comments.
    I’ll go on talking the good case.
    I, at the moment have a group excisting of two other people who have the ability to see the big picture and look beyond their own departments. With them I will try to take up a most actual problem (production inspection doing 100% inspection, cause no one trust the process, or even know the actual status of it, as no data are being taken) this means that there of cause always is a major bottleneck at this point. By datalocking and knowing the process status, stabilizing it and then optimizing it, we will be able to use sampleplans insteed of 100% inspection, this would be a major benefit and could realy save alot of money.
    If they can’t se the point in that, then I’ll jump to plan B.
    Please comment and thanks again.
    RegardsMioln

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    #89298

    JP
    Participant

    That’s a great plan, especially if you can put a dollar figure to this.
    Good luck.

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    #89558

    Cyp
    Participant

    Dear Mioln,
     
    I’m a quality consultant for many years and what you’re describing from my point of view is “business as usual”. I had, and still have clients that act exactly or even worst like your top management.
     
    What I usually do on such situation is to organize a visit to some of my top clients, who learned well the true lessons of what is ISO 9001 about, what benefit can bring, what mistakes to avoid.  Attendees to this visit are put in a situation where they can discuss with similar functions in host organization.
     
    I can say that this solution works in at least 3 out of 4 situation. If the solution does not work, then I think that you are fighting for a lost cause.  I guess, that in your position will be difficult to find a good positive example, but I think also that you should try it…
     
    Regards, Cyp

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    #89560

    BillyJoeJimBob
    Participant

    Been there, done that …
    I

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    #89568

    S.Ramesh
    Member

    Such initiatives can work only if they are driven down from the top most in the organisation. In this case it has to be CEO. If both the projects are time bound, you can very well have a one to one briefing with your CEO. If CEO leaves an impression that this initiative is of no importance, my suggestion is that you should not waste your time in this organisation.
    Regards
     

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    #89580

    CB
    Participant

    Maybe your upper management has found out that Six Sigma is a waste of time and money. If you apply your skills to improve quailty and reduce cost…Why do you need metrics and stuff to show what you did? If you are using Six Simga to cover your backside if something fails, you’re not the person for the job. 
     Just Remmeber….QUALITY IS EVERYTHING!

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    #89584

    Williams
    Participant

    This is a good discussion. I dare say that the project owner does not share your view of his or her stake in the project. If this is the case, the person has successfully re-assigned or off-loaded the project to you and has no incentive to help you accomplish the goal. In other words, the resistance you are getting likely impacts this person’s performance metrics. So, why should they suffer for you? In this matter, I strongly support Plan B. You will have to get the project owner motivated to support you by working around him or her. This means going to his or her boss to state your case. If you are successful, you will find out the importance of this project in the scheme of things, perhaps gain an enemy or nemesis, and gain a new level of respect at your company and for yourself. Otherwise, you are the perfect scapegoat.

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    #89585

    Dean Bottorff
    Participant

    What your are describing is more the norm than the exception. Regardless of any rhetoric to the contrary, most upper managers only provide a limited number of “support chips” which need to be quickly regenerated by your progress. My advice: report lots of progress fast using as few of the power chips as possible to build up your inventory with this manager. This is the game all change managers must play, and sooner rather than later the “game” will change or end due to changes in your chip inventory, politics, or other externalities. Good luck.

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    #89586

    James M. Hollingsworth, MHA
    Participant

    Right on!
     
    You’ve got to show ’em the numbers first.  Now is not the time to walk.  Your job is not done.

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    #89590

    Webster
    Member

    What’s an externality?

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    #89592

    Dean
    Participant

    Externality defined per a microeconomics text: “When one’s economic circumstances are influenced by one or more independent factors external to their own economic activity.” An example of a positive externality might be a vendor praising the boss for doing the same kind of change project they just did successfully, hence indirectly boosting the boss’s support for the project. A negative externality might be a crisis in the board room that makes the change project seem less relevant to them. Sometimes things happen in the environment that influence a project positively or negatively that have nothing whatsoever to do with the performance of the project.

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    #89593

    keng
    Participant

    Dave,
    I agree that unless there is a visionary at the head of the management team, then a significant emotional event is probably the only recourse.  Waiting is not a game I would want to play either.  The question is, “Can I make a difference or not?”  The direction should come from the answer.
    I am interested in the example of vision-less management you have seen with the major aircraft engine manufacturer you have mention.  If you care to share your insights, please contact me at [email protected].
    Thanks.

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    #89620

    marklamfu
    Participant

    Do not worry!I am QA manager yet, and ever handled ISO9001:2000/ISO14001:1996 certification and many similar projects, I would like to share my a few opinions here for your reference:1. Before start the project, the justfication for the project should be confirmed and promoted within senior meanagement team, and get their consensus and commitment2. The objective /deliverables of the project need confirmed with sponsor . the sponsor shall be top management.3. Regular report(biweekly) the status to top management, have them know the positive result and difficult areas as to keep management attention and get more support. 

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    #89627

    NASSIF TADROS
    Participant

    You must learn how to manage resistance, it is a human nature and change is one good deal of constraint to quality.
    Show, dont talk, the benefits of some issues that you can change without a prior approval and learn how to calculate the “cost benefit analysis” of which. There are now owners or managers who can afford not to listen to cost reduction or profit increases.
    GOOD LUCK

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