The Customer Service Paradox
(The second of five paradoxes)
... in striving to accommodate user needs, we jeopardize the solution
that we are providing on their behalf ...
Undertaking an MBO project with a fixed set of objectives to deal with is one thing;
having to please a multitude of end users en route per MBV is quite another. For the
information age, and the projects that are part of it, connectivity is the key. Using
the number of communication links as an indicator, the number of possible links amongst
"n" stakeholders can be determined by the formula: "n(n l)/2".
Further, as we form end user groups with various interests, the potential combinations
go through the roof: "n(2n/2+n-l)". For example, 10 people can come at you
in 5,210 ways (see Figure A2).
Figure A2: Communications Explosion
Our capacity to deal with projects changes dramatically as the LSB moves back through
the project life cycle. Although we (the project management community) are particularly
adept at handling MBR and MBM, MBOs remain a challenge, and the MBVs seem to be largely
beyond our grasp.
In order to have a reasonable chance at success in today's MBVs and MBPs, it would
seem that we have a responsibility to stakeholders to do one of two things: improve
our capacity to manage, or simplify the requirement (see Figure A3).
The former is the subject of a diverse number of groups looking for the right project
management certification formula. The latter is more complex. It involves addressing
tradeoffs, freezing platforms, and imposing standards through some central authority
with far reaching implications to end user authority and accountability.
Figure A3: Our Capacity to Repeat Success
As we search for the solution, one thing is certain: notwithstanding our best intentions,
there is no point in proceeding if the ambition with which we undertake a project
outweighs our capacity to deliver.