Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What I'm Up Against Part Deux

Passive aggression is a huge battle wherever you go, and when another team uses this behavior, it directly affects your ability to get projects done. Business owners who don't address it and implement accountability, particularly at points where teams interact, are bound to fail. Here's an example of a project that's failing.

Example IM discussing situation:
[staff]: hello mam
me: HI! Thanks for getting on GTalk. Can you update me on the stuff we asked [tech mgr] to do?
[staff]: ftp is still not working
me: Is [tech support] there?
[staff]: i called [tech mgr] and asked tech guy do rsolve it
but there are few service issues there
me: okay... It's been two hours.
[staff]: yes
me: Well?
[staff]: he can not resolve it
me: why not?
[staff]: [tech mgr] will do that
me: Why does [tech mgr] need to do it?
Can [tech mgr] do it now.
Have [tech support] call him.
[staff]: [tech support] has talked to [tech mgr] and [tech mgr] aware of that
me: aware is not done. Why isn't it done?
[staff]: [tech mgr] told he will take care of that
me: WHEN?
[staff]: let me call him again
i will let u know whether he could do it now or not
me: Thanks. What about the other points in the email?
[staff]: no reply from there
me: What about the other points in the email?
[staff]: [tech mgr] has told me he can not do that
only the owner has got the authority of doing that
me: Doing what?
[staff]: actually [tech mgr] was on leave today
and he has told me to do it today
me: Do what?
[staff]: mam he will talk to [managing director] and try to fill all requirements
he is saying
me: When? Why didn't he do it today?
One of the requests is over six weeks old.
[staff]: i am not getting any positive response from his end
we are help less till we get any support from tech. guys
u know it mam
i was coming in morning shifts as well to get the things done
but still we are having problems
let me call him again
me: is there anyway for you to set up new pages in DW in preparation for uploading?
[staff]: i can make pages
i think we are having static pages there
so its easy to do that
me: Great. Let's get the news section set up as a blog. If we can get something ready in WordPress, that would be great, but if we have to use Joomla, see if you can use the same CSS as the site and make the format and interface as similar as possible.
Set up a page for resources as well.
Can you get this done tonight?
At least the resources page...
[staff]: i will try
but how could i install wordpress widout having server acces
we need to install wordpress or joomla first there
me: Okay, but can we get the CSS out of the site? Put it all on the staging server. Prepare all the sections we need so that we can put it all together quickly once we have access?
me: The resources page won't need joomla or wordpress...
[staff]: hello mam
me: If we can have that ready, [tech support] can add it tomorrow.
me: I need to see it first before it goes to [tech support], though.
me: okay. So...
What can you get done tonight?
[staff]: i will do that using our staging server
me: Okay, great.
[staff]: will make a folder for resource and install wordpress there
me: I can see the work from here, yes?
[staff]: ys
me: Excellent. Can you email me when it is completed?
[staff]: ok
before leaving i will mail u
me: Great. Thanks.
[staff]: ok mam
i am going to download wordpress first
then will do rest of the things
me: Thank you, [staff].
[staff]: k

Reasons Project Will Fail Miserably:
1. No interaction with client - client never follows up. Without timely feedback from client, project milestones cannot be completed to client's satisfaction.
2. Due to shift differences, there is no face-to-face interaction between teams. Other teams do not respond to emailed requests.
3. Dependency on deliverables from other teams - if other teams do not meet milestones and there are no consequences for missing milestones or disregarding documented requests, there is no way to meet project targets for successful completion.

Suggestions for Working with Passive Aggressive Teams
1. Nail down EXACT dates and times for project milestones.
2. Have team stakeholders sign each date/time they've agreed to.
3. Get Executive/Client buy-in to project milestones.
4. Establish consequences for project delays. Make sure everyone understands the consequences.
5. Ping team leaders regularly for status updates. Make them accountable.
6. If working multiple shifts, meet regularly on all shift times so all involved staff are inconvenienced equally.
7. ENFORCE consequences and provide positive feedback for best performing staff.
8. Celebrate all major project milestones and report back to team stakeholders, executives and clients.

It's probably the toughest aspect of management (and relationships!) - dealing with passive aggressive people. Finding the "bait" that makes a passive aggressive person or team produce takes experimentation, but once you find it, either fear, coercion, bribes, kudos, whatever... you'll be much more successful in getting your projects accomplished.


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