Tag Archives: scheduling

Need a Heads Up

Frieda was frustrated. “I sit in a department managers meeting and get called on the carpet for an assignment that I knew nothing about. One of the other managers pulled an end-around and took a project directly to one of my staff members. I am not a mind-reader, how am I supposed to follow-up on a project I know nothing about. I told everyone in the staff meeting that if they want work done in my department, they have to work through me.” Frieda stopped. Calmed a bit. “That didn’t go over real well. Now everyone thinks I am a prima donna.”

“Do you think the other department managers are being malicious?” I asked.

“No, things are just busy. I think they just wanted to get their project done.”

“So, in busy companies, this kind of thing happens. We simply need to get work done and sometimes you may be out of pocket and one of your team members becomes convenient for the project. Don’t take it personally. The question for you is –How can you, as the manager, find out about these projects so you can schedule them appropriately?

“Do you have a weekly staff meeting in your department?”

“Of course, that is when we sit down and take a look at all the projects in-house, get a status report and talk about production issues.” Frieda was firm in her response.

“So, I want you to add an agenda item. –What are the projects that have been assigned that we don’t know about? This is actually pretty easy. These would be projects that your team is working on that are not on the project list. The purpose is to capture the project information so your team can respond appropriately. You get back in control and your fellow department managers see you as cooperative and helpful. AND, with your fellow managers, you can ask for an email heads up about the project, so you can make sure appropriate resources are deployed and that the due date has been effectively communicated and on your master schedule.”

How Long Have You Been Working This Late?

It was 6:30p when I stopped by Miguel’s office. “What’s up?” I asked.

Miguel picked his eyes up off the paper, holding his place on the schedule with a ballpoint pen. “Just going over tomorrow. It’s going to be another big day. Three special orders to get out the door.”

“Where is everyone, why are you still here?”

“Oh, we shut down at 4:30p. My crew is up with the chickens, tomorrow we start at 6:30a. I run a staggered shift. The first guys get the day started, then we’re full strength by 7:30a. The first wave is off by 3:30p, while the second wave picks up the pieces for the day.”

“Why are you still here?” I repeated.

“Well, there is just a bunch of little things that have to be done each day. Sort of out of control, huh? This won’t last forever. My schedule is getting better.”

“How long have you been working this late?”

“Gosh, ever since I became the supervisor, I guess. But it’s going to get better, soon.” Miguel looked optimistic.

I didn’t believe him.