Organizational Transparency

Organizational transparency is an important topic and one where technology can help. In an organization with paper-based systems and 1,000+ employees, there is no way for everyone to know everything. It would be a full time job, and you still wouldn’t get there. However, now electronic storage and powerful search means that though people still don’t have the bandwidth to know everything, they can keep tabs on everything relevant in their area of expertise, for example everything related to their customer, product or topic. They can now ‘pull’ the information they need, rather than having it ‘pushed’ to them, which is less reliable.

This matters for project and portfolio management. Greater coordination becomes possible. Duplication of effort can be avoided.

However, despite the technology, problems remain. Information fiefdoms are still a source of power in many organizations, often security trumps transparency and the required information can’t be assessed. Finally, human nature means information isn’t shared too broadly. Information doesn’t become public until it truely is complete and final. This means that interim draft and work in progress are hoarded on people’s hard drives, because they don’t want to share something that is in progress or imperfect.

So, there’s tremendous opportunity to make organizations transparent. Technology means we are almost there. Sadly, these processes aren’t yet fully adapted due to people’s unwillingness to share and publish. If they were the benefits would be profound.

Interesting post by PM Hut on the same topic here, and Sam Berrisford comments on “See Thru Business” here.

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