Sunday, March 4, 2012

Politics of Change

I know it's more relevant in current scenario but I've no intention to discuss the World politics or Change, in general. It's slightly non-technical topic but still related to the IT consultancy and some of the issues we face during implementation of new software features or integration.

Technical challenges aside, some of the non-technical factors play a major part in success of any small or big project. As a consultant, while we love to work on the technical challenges, we can't avoid dealing with some of the non-technical aspects that can be termed as 'Politics'. Politics between the organization, departments, leadership, management or teams, that plays out during implementation of a change.

Some type of changes, like integration between multiple systems, are more likely to create a political situation compared to others where only one system or team is involved. Further, it's really difficult to estimate the impact of such non-technical issues on a technical software integration. And even if you do realize and estimate for it, it's hard to justify in the beginning. Imagine keeping a new line in your estimation model with the title 'Impact of Politics'.

Sometimes it's very frustrating to see that despite all the good work on the technical side, it's still difficult to deploy some of the changes within the estimated time and budget. The issue is that some of the stakeholder may not have their interest, responsibility and credit-for-success aligned with the success of a change so getting desired support from them could be really difficult. There could be several reasons for that, e.g. :
  • In some cases,  a change, though beneficial for the company,  may not result in equal distribution of benefits among the stakeholder/departments/teams. In fact, there could be a case where a particular department might have to loose on some areas due to automation (job/responsibility/authority cuts) or extra work for their team.
  • Management/Leadership Ego: e.g. My Idea vs. your Idea .So if two competing leaders are involved then there would be some resistance, if the initiative is taken by one of the leaders.   

As a consultant, being aware of the implications of such issues on your estimates and implementation, is important. Further, there are ways to manage such political situations but awareness itself is the first step in that direction.

1 comment:

  1. Very true and the hard fact of today's Indian IT situation is that 9 out of 10 projects are already in 'RED' before they reach the offshore. Which means from day 1 it is firefighting where quality / aspirations / technical suggestions of the ABAPER are a waste of time to a management that is busy sucking up to a client who squeezes it by the throat in every meeting.


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