Headless Chickens

headless chickens 500

Question: I just got 2 different directives on the same project from different people, who don’t seem to be aware of one another even though they’re on the same Rapid Development team.

Answer:

This is the “flock of headless chickens” syndrome, and is not your fault.

I’ve had a project manager come to me, asking that a document be changed from something that made total sense to something that didn’t. No heads-up, no checking in – just “Do this now.” In this case, it might have resulted in multiple versions or branches of the same document being available and current at the same time (BAD). At the same time, someone else on the same team was emailing me separately about that same document, and it was totally clear that the PM and this other team member were completely unaware of one another.

In these situations, it’s hard for me to not take it out on the requestors. I felt that the project manager should at the very least know what her own team was doing. This particular PM just didn’t seem to have a clue but I couldn’t exactly say that outright, and if someone is clearly floundering, isn’t it the job of the organization to support them better?

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