Help! I am completely dependent upon another department to complete tasks before I can begin mine and they are not delivering!.

The other department is consistiently late and underperforming, causing my department's tasks to start late and placing my directs in the terrible position of either completing their tasks late, or working horrendous hours to make up the time lost by the other department. 

I have no idea how to address this when the people do not report to me, nor do we fall in the same managerial heirarchy. Both the manager of this department and his director have a tendency to be defensive and unapproachable.

I'm trying to 'own' the tasks and deliverables, but I feel like I'm in an impossible position to get things done.

Any suggestions?


Solitaire's picture

Even though these people are defensive and unapproachable, I'd suggest that you set up a process to measure their performance and the impact on your department and then meet with them to discuss the delays and issues. Take a few specific example with you to discuss as well.

Generally I have found that people are less defensive (or aggressive) when you are discussing facts and figures, compared to discussing a feeling that they are causing delays.

Good luck!




mtietel's picture
Training Badge

 Are you doing peer one-on-ones with the appropriate person in the other department?

In one you could try asking what you can do to help, but you have to be genuine.  For example:

"Obviously our departments are dependent upon one another to be successful.  How can I help you to ensure that we both are successful in meeting the business's needs?"

My department has been on both sides of this coin recently.  Once people sat down and really understood what was happening in the other group AND offered to help, some simple changes made a word of difference.  Both in perception and in workflow efficiency & effectiveness.

vonigan's picture
Training Badge

 Question: You are an internal customer to the other department. Is the converse true?-  Does the other department depend on you for anything? This may be a good case for peer one-on-ones (started off as 'updates', and leading to 'when you deliver these reports late, my team is forced to work extra hours, which does ..... [tailored to audience].

I think as well it's important as well that your service provider (the other department) have as much executive knowledge as you do of the effects of delays/. "For each week we deliver late, there's a $6,000.00 penalty"

As well, I may suggest taking a review of "complete tasks before I can begin mine". It may not be applicable in your circumstance, but I've noticed that sometimes if you request a partially complete exercise from the other department at a specific date, you may be able to get a jumpstart on the entire project, since you and your team will have some precursory knowledge of what format/information you can expect. It will also give you a chance to request complete information if your service provider is not prepping complete information.

My Two Cents.

DISC: 1377

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 I have also observed that while the people whose work depends on that of others have a very clear view of the impact of delays on their own work, those that feed work/information to somebody elses don't have a good understanding of how that persons work is affected.  Peer one-on-one is the key as said.  I have found that once they understand how critical certain information or piece of work is to somebody else, you will have to explainyour work to them, they usually get better.  Maybe the other department is also being pressured for other things rather them the work for yours.  You have to find a way to somehow make them accountable, peer one on one agaín is the key.  Once your team develops a relationship with them other than just acusing them for the delay, meeting them regularly to talk also about good staff their productivity might increase.

You also may try to find out more about why the other department is always late.  Very rarely will people intentionally underperform.  Most managers i have worked for and myself included have been more opened to complains when they also come with a tentative solution and specially genuinely offer of help as was mentioned here.  

They may not report to you but i find that it does help when you can think about them as you would about your directs in terms of being part of your bigger team which is the whole company.  The first step to towards the solution is to take the blaming out of the picture.  If you concentrate on the blaming you cannot turn the coin to see the solution.  I am not saying they are not underperforming, they are, but you need to find a solution which perhaps is something between the two departments.

Good luck.


kpower1's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like I need to learn the peer one-on-one technique.

kpower1's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like I need to learn the peer one-on-one technique.