Ever work on a project that seems like a good idea but no one really seems to care if it ever gets done? You too? I thought I was the only one. This is something that I have seen many times. It usually happens in larger organizations. Small companies typically have less politics, less time, and less money so they don't undertake a project unless it is worthwhile and has support from the top. In fact, the challenge and solution usually involve the people at the top and many throughout the company so everyone works together to accomplish the improvement.
Unfortunately, large companies and organizations have too many layers and too many conflicting objectives.
Example 1 - Your problem is not my problem. Someone in Department A recognizes a need and decides to do something about it. Their manager is all for it since it will save their department time and money and will also save money for the entire company. There is one small problem, in order for Department A to implement their change, Department B needs to cooperate. Actually, Department B will have to ADD to their existing workload. Overall, implementing the solution will save the company significant dollars, but Department B is not willing to add staff to their budget or re-allocate workloads to accommodate the additional work needed to help Department B. The project goes down in a spectacular fireball and finger-pointing ensues.
Example 2 - I need all of those people. Similar scenario to Example 1 except the project calls for moving some of the people from Department A to Department B to get the job done. If Department A's manager gives up those people, in his mind he will become less important to the organization so he finds a way to justify keeping his staff levels the same even though moving them would save the company money. What happens? The project dies.
One way to resolve these issues is to develop a project team from both departments and also include members from unrelated departments. Ensure that the level above the 2 managers is involved and understands the value in completing the project. Or, just fire them all and start over.
More next time...