We tend think of an organisation structure as a rigid hierarchy of well aligned, interconnecting rectangles. In reality, this isn’t the case. In reality, they are more like a series of continuously moving circles of differing sizes with gaps and overlaps.
No wonder delivering organisational performance can be such a challenge!
This is particularly the case within a Project Organisation as detailed requirements tend to evolve over time, people are often in unfamiliar roles and have come together as a team for the first and only time. Individual working styles are unknown. Strengths and weaknesses are unproven within the environment.
Despite the best efforts of the Project Manager, the edges of roles are rarely distinct. Gaps and overlaps need to be identified and addressed, formally or informally.
Good people will “grow”, their sphere of influence expanding. “Star” performers grow a lot. While underperformers tend to “shrink”, often hiding behind others.
Large, unexpected “gaps” in the organisation may arise as the work scope is better understood, as issues are encountered or the requirements change.
Individually, we can each make a difference at the margins of our roles:
- Deal with your circle first: You will win no prizes for working outside your circle until your core role is well under control.
- Understand the boundaries: Work with “adjacent” Team Members to make sure overlaps and gaps are properly understood.
- Share the learning: Projects are a team sport. They can rarely be delivered successfully by an individual. Engage the Project Manager. Work with your peers.
- Grow your circle: Understand what’s needed. Take responsibility. Make a difference*.
* In my experience, rewards ultimately go to the people that are able to effectively increase their sphere of influence, and really make a difference (No smoke and mirrors! Definitely no political brown-nosing!). These rewards may not be immediate but will come in time.