The Collaborative Process in Project Management

I understand the latest fad in management styles is the collaborative process. Part of the collaborative process is encouraging multiple people to arrive at a decision as a unit, or on behalf of the unit – where, in times past, there was a “buck stops here” person. Now there is a buck stops here, over there and just about anywhere group of people. While the collaborative process has a place and is effective in many scenarios, it is dangerous when it bleeds over into a non-collaborative project structure. I’m not saying project teams shouldn’t work together to collaborate and solve issues. In fact, just the opposite! Project teams are a TEAM by definition, working together towards a common goal. However, with a younger generation being taught the collaborative process so heavily, it can cause issues when they veer out of their lane and bypass a structural hierarchy or chain of command. The collaborative process is great until a person makes a decision without actually collaborating with the person/persons responsible for that particular area of concern. By the time the “true decision maker” finds out, the decision has been made, announced and partially implemented. Now we have a real mess. Collaborate on that!

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