The Weekly Reflektion 28/2021

In the film Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wanted to find her way back home to Kansas and was told to follow the yellow brick road to find the Great Wizard of Oz who would help her get back home. The expression ‘follow the yellow brick road’ is often associated with a course of action that leads to good things.

The lion, the scarecrow, Toto the dog, Dorothy and the tin man on the yellow brick road

What roads do you encourage your organization to follow that will lead them to success?

Several years ago, I was working on a concept for the re-development of an oil field in the North Sea. One of the steps in the Project Development Process in the management system was experience transfer and lessons learned from previous projects. We arranged an interview with the manager of a recently completed project that was on time and on budget. At that time, a successful project was quite rare in this company. We asked what the secret of success was? The project manager replied, ‘I followed the Project Development Process in the management system. All you need is in there if you are willing to spend the time reading it. It’s the yellow brick road that will lead you to success.’

The management system consists of many yellow brick roads that could lead to success in the area you are working with, if you are willing to follow them. The management system normally contains the accumulated wisdom of the company and should reflect what has been learned over the years. Like any road each yellow brick road needs to be maintained and sometimes modified to account for experience and changes.  Another important factor in following the yellow brick road is that everyone involved is moving in the same direction. While the road may not be perfect at least it keeps people on track.

An interesting aspect of the modern computerised management system is that the company can keep an overview of who is using the management system. This overview is of course anonymized to protect individual privacy. A colleague recently told me about such a survey in his company. The results of the survey were revealing. The management were the group that used the management system least. Perhaps they were already so familiar with the system that they did not need to read what was written there. Perhaps they did not have enough time. Perhaps they felt that the management system was for the other people in the organisation and not for them.

Another interesting aspect of the survey was the correlation between the success of projects and the use of the management system. The projects that had the most success based on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that were used to measure performance were the projects with the greatest use of the management system by the project team.

Management needs to lead by example and actively use the management system for the activities they have responsibility for. They need to follow the processes, keep up to date with changes and use the terminology described in these processes. The management needs to understand the management system be able to provide guidance and to help people with any changes.

How often do you go into the management system to ensure you are following the correct road?

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