When looking at the project kick-off process of some companies you really start wondering, what the heck are they up to?
These processes I am talking about look like this:
- Come up with an idea (I like that process step)
- Prepare a cost estimate and a business plan for the project
- Present these to a committee
- Update the documents from step 2. based on the feedback from step 3. (Its said that many comments are like ‘there should be a company logo on the title page’ or ‘you really shouldn’t center align the page numbers’)
- Present these to another committee which will decide on the funding of the project.
While this might be of some value of for large projects, it will kill small projects and put medium into trouble right from the beginning. For smaller projects the overhead of the approval process will not only delay the project and increase the cost by a considerable amount of money. It will also kill of any motivation of anybody in favor of the project.
But it is even worse for large projects. Since once the project ha the approval, who will be inclined to question the project? Of course everybody will be bickering about the stupid idea the project is. But who does step up and says: “You know maybe the guys in control of my salary and career made a mistake and we simply should buy an of the shelve product for 1% of the money?” Correct: No one. The task of questioning the purpose of a project is done by someone else.
This would be OK, if the committee is in a better position to judge these decisions. But it isn’t it has the information of one person, carefully crafted for making sure the decision is made in favor of that person. You might assume just as well, they don’t have any information at all.
How about an approach like this: Give every employee a budget. Top people might get a bigger budget. Employees might invest into a project, or keep the budget. A percentage of the budget left over at the end of the year would get payed the employee. Another percentage would get added to the budget of the next year. When invested into a project, the investing employees get a certain part of the ROI of that project.
Certainly not the best solution. But certainly better then what is going on in companies right now.