Misery Three Misalignment of Support Structures

Implementation of the team-based structure in an IS department or division may be the best structure for the function. However, if the balance of the organization is not making the move at this time or ever, potential misery is possible.

Relationship to the Balance of the Organization. Teams are encouraged to work directly with internal customers and external suppliers to provide quality and innovative services. The internal customers and external suppliers, however, may be accustomed to working and establishing a relationship with organizational management. This situation can cause great misery if not well supported by the IS manager.

Misery Management. IS managers are responsible for building and sustaining the position that teams are the first line of assistance for all aspects of day-to-day operations and service provision. This can be accomplished through discussions with customers and suppliers about the new structure and its meaning for relationships and respective roles. The transition to smooth team interaction with customers and suppliers is not effectively handled in a single conversation, however, but rather through consistent and repetitive messages from managers delivered both proactively and reactively. The effectiveness of the transition and the minimization of this misery depends on the managers' ability to stand by the structure change and the teams while maintaining strategic and long-term relationships with the supplier and customer communities.

Alignment of Rewards. Another important facet of misery three is misalignment of the reward structure with the new team-based organization. Managers have professed the importance of teamwork and that the team will be evaluated and rewarded based on both team accomplishments and individual achievements. When managers do not follow through on their commitment and rate people as individual performers without mention of the performance of the team, the pain begins. The misery only intensifies if other managers are awarding performance in very different ways. Misery management in this case begins with the manager's ensuring that performance evaluations and various reward systems are congruent with the team-based structure.

Blending with Highly Individual Contributors. Every IS organization has its prima donnas — people who are extremely talented in their particular area of technical expertise and who know their value to the organization. Generally, these individuals are pleasant while working with others but prefer to work with other highly technical people or alone. They also like to move ahead without the formality and baggage associated with work relationships and bureaucracy.

Because these individuals see little benefit from the team concept, they may escape the team training and relationship-building sessions. Other members in the IS organization may wonder why these highly technical people are treated differently. If the expectations of the organization regarding these individualists are not well managed, the perceived lack of fairness and inequity may cause resentment.

Misery Management. Organizational managers need to take a united position on the purpose of the team structure and how various functions and individuals contribute to successful implementation of the teams. Although placing highly technical people on teams may not seem to make the best immediate use of their time or skills, IS managers who consider future required competencies will see the benefit of improved relationship and communication skills for all technical staff. Managers should assess and clearly communicate the different development needs of individual contributors to team development and the team structure.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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