A Three-Step Process to Overcome Blame and Finger-pointing 

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Tirrel Payton tackles the all-too-common messy problems that plague many a team and team manager. 

“Our project is to implement a new widget management system”, she stated confidently. “Ok”, I said, “but what is the problem we are trying to solve?”

“We need a new system…”, she reiterated.

“Yea, but to what end? Whats the business goal? And how will we know when we have reached it? How will we measure success?”

“Look”, she said, steeling her glance and locking eyes with me, “My job is to get this project done in 9 months with 500k. No more. No less. I let the business people look after the business goals. My job is to deliver on time and on budget.”

Like many others, the project became a morass of blaming, finger-pointing, and misplaced expectations. Here is a 3 step process to avoid some of these problems

Gain clarity on the problem to be solved

You should be able to articulate to stakeholders and the team what the problem is you are solving for. This has a couple positive side effects:

It gives your team context. Context is important because it centers the attention on the outcomes to be achieved, not the activities to be performed.

It aligns your stakeholders. Stakeholders may think they’re aligned, but when you put a concrete problem statement in front of them, you will quickly find the differences in opinion and general disagreement among stakeholders.

 

Key points include:

  • Qualitative goal to be reached
  • Quantitative success measures to be attained
  • Moving beyond the triple constraint

 

Read the full article, Unknown Problems, Sloppy Goals, Unclear Success Measures: We Can Do Better, on LinkedIn.