That’s not my Job!

A story about four people

Everybody, Somebody, AnybodyNobody

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody‘s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

The above story is often quoted in business advice books. Everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody are four important indefinite pronouns. We use them all the time. I consider the story an accurate metaphor for what we often see happen in large organisations, and this is how these issues would typically get addressed:

Objectives, Programs, Projects & Processes

The business analyst would be asked to look into the process  above – a process modeler may be asked to remodel. The PMO consultant would reshuffle his portfolio, so a project can be defined to improve the program. A project manager would be appointed, and a task force assigned. Business users would get interviewed and workflows would be redesigned. A system integrator may then implement changes. When things do not go exactly as the Process Owner expected, change requests will (need to) be considered.

At the end of the day, dust will have settled,
… and nothing much may have changed.

Don’t get me wrong …

Action is needed to fulfill tasks. These tasks need to be organized, arranged in domains and tied together by workflows. By selecting the right projects, process workflow will improve. Projects are organized in programs, such programs must of course serve objectives.

And strategic objectives must be set, in order to help realize our vision.

As such, in complex Business Environments, you may indeed require an ecosystem as well as sofisticated structures, objectives, programs, projects, processes and workflows.

At the end of that day, [we] need to get the Jobs done

Maybe we should care less about managing process, project, program or workflow
& focus more on enabling action …

You will surely be able to find ways to automate & structure the work


1 Comment

  1. Did you forget a word? Let me take a swing at it, Dirk.
    “At the end of that day, [someone] make sure that someone does get the Job done”. Those indefinite pronouns sure are insidious.


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