Heroic work arounds don’t necessarily make things better

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The Harvard Working Knowledge series just published a paper called The Work-Around Culture: Unintended Consequences of Organizational Heroes.  People find ways to work around problems and problem processes, and in the process feel like a hero.  It’s fun!  I know that I count those days when I’ve thrashed an obstacle as good days.  Unfortunately, working around  obstacles doesn’t create a need in the organization to recognize and repair them. A “work around culture” leads to burnout, errors, and wasted-resources.

The solution is to create a culture that weights improvements equally with immediate results.

One Reply to “Heroic work arounds don’t necessarily make things better”

  1. I agree! Work arounds are not usually the best answer. A few years ago, I realized that this is another name for defect deflecting and rework avoidance. And yes, it is also the same as the cost of poor quality! Since the term “work around” became an acceptable phrase, it seemed like people forgot about root cause fixes and the long haul picture. I understand that we often need to allow releases to move ahead and must balance that with risk. However, work arounds need to have an end date and real resolutions – just like all issues we manage in any project.

    My 2 cent, Holly

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