Q: When an Engr. gate keeper blocks a revenue opportunity do you side-step her? Win her over? Achieve partial revenues? The answer is none of these.
The three options in the questions above incorrectly assume that there are mis-alignments between Release Management and the Business. Yes. The Business says yes, and the gatekeeper says no. However, could they be answering different questions? A project manager came to me saying, “The Release Management Admin requires a change request to be submitted because we are past Baseline. The change request process will push us past the patch drop, and we will miss the release date requested by the Business.” This change request requirement seems cut and dried. But what is missing in this picture?
I asked this question:
“Does that person understand the business case for this request? If not, perhaps they are aligned, but the Business has not communicated that there is a strong business case.
The PM responded, “Yes. They understand the business case. But it is weak.”
“Okay.” I answered. “Then they really are mis-aligned. And the Business should re-evaluate their request.”
But let us go back to my point. What if the Business had a strong case, such as capturing market share, and they communicated this? Then the Admin’s “No” may simply be due to a constraint in their processes. Release Management (RM) and Business really are in alignment after all! One of two solutions is likely. First, RM simply needs help overriding or expediting their process. For this, find the manager within RM who values market share above meeting Baseline milestones. Then hold a meeting between the business requestor and RM team, so they can understand their common interests, the Business and RM processes, and the reasons for the late request and the RM exception.
However, what if you do not find a manager within RM who values market share above meeting Baseline milestones? Do not get excited over this.
However, the solution for this will take more patience and time. Start influencing RM to adopt business values first by sharpening a business savvy culture in your organization, and then by socializing influencers on the RM advantage of being business-savvy. This is organizational change, which may not bear fruit in your tenure on the job, but it cannot happen without you.