Fissure News Organizational Development

Dear Fissure Friends,
JesseNewsL copyI’m in an airplane returning from a client trip where I have spent the last two days working closely with a team of organizational development (OD) people. They are developing a new internal OD training program and Fissure is working with them to develop a customized OD simulation to support their program. A number of times during those two days the conversation turned to “what does an OD consultant do?” They never really came up with an answer that everyone could agree with, but they all knew that what they do is extremely valuable to the organization as a whole, and to the projects and their people. Because the company recognizes the value OD consultants bring, they are investing significantly in developing first class training to develop their OD talent. So what does OD have to do with Business Analysis or Project Management?

Most of you know I’m not an OD person, or even very knowledgeable about OD (the OD people are providing the domain expertise for the simulation), but these OD people have come to accept me into their “group” because somehow I “fit in”. Wow, an engineer/project manager who fits in with people who are usually very different from, and not well understood by engineers and PMs. How did I get to this point in my life? How could I possibly fit in with OD people? It’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short.

I will sometimes now jokingly refer to myself as a “recovering” engineer (although my wife might disagree about the recovering part). It goes way back to my Mom, who was very understanding about the “soft” stuff, but not very good about the “technical” stuff. I also had project managers, managers and a mentor who understood the value of the “soft” side and the impact it can have on the productivity of a team. It takes a team, and not just a project team, but an organizational team working together toward a common goal to make any
project successful.

So the other thing that enables me to “fit in” with my new OD friends is that they and I have discovered that OD people need business analysis (BA) and project management (PM) skills too. Believe it or not, OD people have objectives that they must elicit from their stakeholders (BA work). They also have well defined processes and tools. And as all you PMPs know, that means they have a beginning and an end; they have a project. Maybe OD people and BAs/PMs are not as different as you might think. BAs and PMs need OD people to diagnosis and help solve project “people” challenges, and OD people need BA and PM skills to do their job even better. It is a nice circle with everyone doing what they do best to help the organization and its projects be successful.