Project Priority Lists

A medical device company consisted of seven major divisions…R & D…Sales…Marketing…Operations…Quality…Product Development…Finance. At the end of each year the President listed the priority project goals for the next year, and the divisions agreed to make it happen. The list usaually contained ten projects. In the fourth quarter of the following year it all fell apart and only a fraction of the ten project goals were achieved. That cycle became a typical characteristic of the company. The President finally created a Task Force to look into the problem!

The President asked each of the Vice-Presidents to select a senior member of their division to be a member of the Task Force. Each member of the Task Force interviewed Directors, Department Managers, and staff of a division other than their own. The interview format was the same for each division. After a month of interviews the Task Force met for a week to prepare a report for the President.

The conclusions of the Task Force were…

* Each division had a top ten priority list of projects different from the list created by the President.

* There was no standard project planning procedure.

* There was no interaction between divisions during project planning activities.

* There is a need for a standard project planning procedure to ensure communication between divisions during project planning activities.

* The existing company work force was only capable of supporting one and a half projects of average complexity; using a standard project planning procedure.


* What were the dynamics?

* Which supports and barriers were in play?

* Who, or what, won the Tug-Of-War? Why?

* Discuss the outcome with your family and friends.

* Use Post #4 as a reference for the dynamics and the relationships between supports and barriers.