Culture’s Cogs – Feedback

Synopsis: Feedback is the mechanism that keeps a culture alive...  This post is part 4 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 In the two prior parts of this blog series we looked at the role "imperatives" and "expectations" play in giving rise to a culture. In this final post we'll look at how feedback is the link that keeps a culture alive. Feedback is the interaction between people that tells them whether or not expectations are being achieved. Feedback can eit...
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Tram trouble

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization: City of Edinburgh Council Project type : Public transit - Tram Network Date : September 2003 - May 2014 Cost : £1 Billion (including anticipated loan interest) versus an original estimate of £375M (based on a much larger scope than was actually built) Synopsis : What started out as a noble idea in 2003 was later described as the “hell on whe...
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Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization: Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) – South Africa Project type : Metro bus purchase Project name : Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) Date : February 2015 Cost : R2 billion ZAR (approximately $130M USD) Synopsis : The purchase of 60 buses at a cost of R100 million (ZAR) has left the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan M...
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I, We, You, Me – Observations on Team Dynamics

As with most Project Managers, I've worked directly with a lot of people and a lot of teams. As an instructor I've observed and coached even more. I've seen good teams and I've seen dysfunctional teams and over the years I've tried to understand what makes some teams work while others don't. Why do some teams gel so quickly while others never click? Why do some teams transcend individual efforts to perform as a whole, while others remain ineffectual? Why do some teams become lifelong friends and...
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Culture’s Cogs – Expectations

Synopsis: Expectations are the medium through which a culture propagates. Expectations can be set through words, use of benchmarks and through actions. This post is part 3 in the Cultures Cog's series of posts. Click here for - Part 1 If a culture is to propagate it needs a medium through which to flow. As suggested in the culture's cog diagram shown in part 1 of this series, expectations are a vehicle through which cultural norms are transferred from leader to team and peer to peer. In th...
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Culture’s Cogs – Imperatives

Synopsis: Imperatives are the core values of the management team and the foundation stones of corporate culture. To influence corporate culture, leaders need to bring clarity and consistency to their imperatives. This post is part 2 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 As a follow up to my discussion on the topic of "culture's cogs" I thought I would dive a bit deeper into each of the cogs. In this post I'll explore the issue of imperatives. As noted in my origina...
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Culture’s Cogs

Synopsis: Imperatives, expectations and feedback are the mechanisms through which management's desire for high performance are translated into a functioning corporate culture. Regular readers will know that I've been studying corporate cultures over recent months. My goal is to understand how corporate cultures come to be and what management teams can do to shape positive cultures (i.e. cultures that improve quality and productivity while simultaneously lifting employee engagement, morale and...
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Decision Defending

The following entry is a part of the Pattern Library. The Pattern Library illustrates some of the common patterns of events that have the potential to lead to project failure. Name : Decision Defending Type: Decision making / behavioral pattern In brief : A person locks in their answer to a question and shifts from trying to understand the ideas and opinions of others to promoting and defending their own idea. Description : Decision making in a group setting can be a frustrating ...
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IBM

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. IBM (International Business Machines) - USA Project type : Organizational performance improvement and strategic realignment Project name : Roadmap 2015 Date : 2010-2014  Cost : Unknown Synopsis : Most of the projects noted in the catalogue were aimed at producing some form of product or tangible deliverable. IBM’s “Roadmap 2015” initiative is a little dif...
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The Vanishing Visionary

The following entry is a part of the Pattern Library.  The Pattern Library illustrates some of the common patterns of events that have the potential to lead to project failure. Name : Vanishing Visionary (aka dump and run) In brief : A Project Sponsor conceptualizes and initiates a project, but fails to follow through to ensure successful delivery. They provide the vision, assign the project to a Project Manager (dump) and then wash their hands of any further responsibility for the pr...
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