I am the manager of a PMO providing standardization of practices and cost and scheduling support personnel for maintenance turn around "Outages" in a utility.

Part of our standard report set is an E size plot of the project milestones and the critical path activities. This provides both columns and a gant chart showing the baseline and actual starts/finishes of the activities or milestones throughout the course of the Outage. It's a quick reference for people not intimate with the day to day interaction of the projects to get a feel on where we've been and where we're going. This is between 1 and 7 pages of E size "wallpaper".

One of the internal customers we support has expressed displeasure over the paste two years with having this posted and sites it as a waste of resources (time, space, paper, ink, etc). I have reduced the number of times per week this is updated and where the "wallpaper" is posted and told them it's part of the standard report package and I personally use it, so it will remain part of the standard.

Recently my direct was changing out the ink on the plotter and the onsite project manager saw him doing it and said your "Not printing wallpaper are you? I don't want that posted, period." 

My question is how do I react? He gives my direct day to day direction all the time, as he should regarding the support of the project, however the standardization of the processes and reporting belongs to me. It seems petty to me and I'm angry about it. Is it a hill worth dying on (as it leads to a slippery slope) or should I let it slide?



DHumble's picture

It's nice that they don't want it done, but as a point, you're the manager.  There are all sorts of things that my manager does that I don't want them doing.  I don't want them refusing to give me a gigantic raise for no reason (but I am smart enough not to even ask for a raise without a good reason).  I'd simply tell them to continue doing what they are supposed to do, and send that person to you if the customer gives them a hard time.

I'd also be prepared for a tirade / rant from the customer.  Why is it they don't want you to put it up?  It's unlikely that saving paper and ink is the real reason.  If it is, well, it's your budget and that's that.  If it's time, it's your budget, and that's that.  I have the feeling that they don't like being reminded of something on the report.  Or maybe they have a pathological hate for whomever started the wallpaper origianlly?

Mark's picture

This is your call.  Yes, we have to be sensitive to internal customers, but the worst of them are the ones that think that internal customer power translates into being able to manage how you manage.  It doesn't.

Ignore the issue.  If the internal customer brings it up, tell him you use that a lot internally with the team, and you're going to keep using it.  Tell your direct to be polite with customers.  If he gets cornered, tell him to say he'll pass along the comments to you, or encourage the customer to come to you.  "Hey, (customer), I'm in the middle here.  I've got to do what my boss tells me, just like your guys gotta do what you tell them."