Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Managing priorities

With the launch of the CMS file migration effort, we began to hear grumbling about workload and all the new things that people need to do. Items that I heard mentioned include a getting aligned with federal reporting requirements, evaluating new research processes, and of course KM and CMS. Adding a change in management ... Managers justifiably are worried about the workload of their staff and accomplishing the tasks before them. Staff are being pulled in a variety of directions for the new priorities.

To address this we had a meeting last week of our KM team (managers of the various units). The questions we discussed were; what activities are taking the bulk of time, which have priority, and what should be delayed. Since my concern is launching KM initiatives in a time when people are overburdened, I offered to put some KM activities on hold if necessary and offered to take on some additional activities to help alleviate the load. While we weren't able to completely answer the questions before us, we did get the issue on the table and the commitment to talk further. Yesterday, I did discuss with one of the managers options for using support staff to help with the file migration. We also discussed some options for me to take a more active role in identifying some KM products. In both cases, this will require individuals giving up some control (I'm sure this will lead to a future post). A step in the right direction, I hope ...

Bottom-line: It's really easy to add new tasks and very difficult to tasks away. A tendency is to just let things pile up. The challenge is to manage the priorities.


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