XYZ Corporation was not averse to taking calculated risks to pursue new products in the market place. In terms of overall management philosophy about operations, however, it was solidly conservative. After more than five decades of history, tradition, and success, the operational side of the business contributed to this conservatism. The company rarely instituted change on a large scale and, when it did, success was marginal.
To a large extent, each of the business units operated fairly autonomously from headquarters and each was staffed with its own president and executive council. Past projects, sponsored by corporate, had previously attempted to manage large-scale business projects but with very little success. Projects invariably failed when headquarters tried to exercise a command and control approach. The project manager knew right away that the command and control approach would not work; a more collaborative approach might work.
Like many manufacturing and engineering firms, the firm emphasized perfection , analysis, logic, precision, and being systematic on projects. The "softer side" of projects was frequently overlooked. The project manager, to avoid past mistakes, shifted the orientation to a more integrative, nonlinear, and systemic one that was amenable to subjective factors. Doing otherwise would generate similar results of the large-scale projects that failed progress would slow, roadblocks arise, and poor performance result, e.g., exceed budget, slide schedules, and cause rework .
The approach needed, therefore, was the participation by other team members from business units. The vehicle to achieve that was through participation when developing the project's vision and plan. The project manager knew that through greater involvement would come more ownership and commitment and less resistance to the implementation of a new policies and procedures infrastructure.