There has been much press on the discord in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past week. The drama unfolded in the House Rules Committee around the Republican proposal to reduce the number of Democrats serving on House committees. The goal of this move would be to significantly reduce the number of Democratic sponsored amendments that would be up for debate. “Republicans said the proposed rule was necessary to prevent the amendment process from becoming circus-like” (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/state/s_720731.html).
Some might view this proposal as efficiency of government, but most are likely appalled that elected officials would be prevented from fulfilling part of their obligation because their views are in the minority in their workplace. The behavior and resulting chaos in the House is a regular occurrence in businesses as well. It’s more difficult to identify and work through; however, as factions within organizations aren’t usually along bipartisan lines.
Operations Research projects are likely to run into similar divisive roadblocks. Since the goal of such projects is increased efficiency and the usual result is a solution perhaps not ever considered, at the minimum one person is going to fight the proposed change. Changes are difficult to implement, and even more difficult to maintain in such a way that reaps the proposed benefits.
Here are some change management principles that can help project results become reality:
- Define the problem to be solved before even developing a plan for any project or analysis. Most “us vs. them” arguments are for competing solutions that have been jumped to without first defining the problem.
- Adopt an “in the boat” mentality. A we-all-succeed-or-fail-together approach helps stakeholders invest in the scope, approach, and ultimate results of any analysis more so.
- Aim for one and done changes or a process than can be easily managed in a business’s current state. This should include metrics for management and monitoring. The point here is that an elegant solution with an inelegant implementation can be quite a hill to climb.
Whether or not the Pennsylvania state government applies any of these principles, only they know. However, the constituents they serve would probably feel a lot more confident in the process and outcomes if they had more insight than some unproductive and unflattering (on both sides) arguments on the news.