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My focus is mostly pharmaceutical industry, this being my core area of working all along.
Let me present few real-life scenarios which I saw first-hand, and which are not uncommon in any growing organization even otherwise.
Scenario #1 – The marketing head came up with plan for the formation of a new business unit. He had done detailed working on it; the selection of products, team size, team placements, aggressive sales forecasts, and its positive impact on the existing business units, how these will be pushed and forced into competing with the newest performer. The project would cost millions of rupees, but so what? The company must invest to get the rewards.
Scenario #2 – A new marketing & sales head proposed to focus on one brand exclusively and increase its sales x 10 times. The matter was discussed at the highest level; production and supply chain were involved so that everyone is onboard for pursuing the common goal. It would cost huge amounts of additional money. It would also take time away from regular work. It was done anyways, though it did not yield planned results.
Scenario #3 – Finance head came up with the proposal to install a new ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning Software, the like of SAP. It was a huge undertaking in terms of money and time. It was committed and installed, and it took over two years to get running properly. No one could really say for sure what was gained out of that.
Scenario #4 – Director technical was asked to bring technical improvements in the plant. He came up with fortune-costing mega project which was approved and done. It proved later that it was sheer waste of money as it should not have been undertaken at all for other reasons.
Scenario #5 – The executives of a multinational chemical company convinced to partner with a local party and put up a local production plant. The partnership was 51:49. The local party turned out to be dishonest, so after some time, the MNC was forced to acquire 100% ownership. They could not run it and finally sold it after incurring huge losses.
Managers often choose Mega projects over mundane ones, even though mundane projects may be equally important. This can be due to several reasons, including but not limited to these.
- Mega projects are often seen as more strategic and important. Managers may believe that Mega projects will have a bigger impact on the company’s bottom line or reputation.
- Mega projects are more likely to attract corporate attention and recognition. This can be seen as a way to boost the manager’s own status and reputation.
- Mega projects are often more interesting and challenging. Managers may be more motivated to work on projects that they find personally engaging.
- Mega projects may give the possibility of making some money on the side.
Only the managers are not enticed with mega projects, even the owners can be blindsided by the glamour of such projects.
As a result of these factors, managers may be more likely to allocate resources to Mega projects, even if they are not the most important projects for the company. Mundane projects are the ones that are running already and bringing core business. In pharmaceutical marketing, the analog may be drawn by comparing investment on existing customers so that they keep giving business and investing on new customers to increase business. If this tricky balance is not struck, the following scenarios may be encountered.
- Mundane projects may not get the attention and resources they need. This can lead to delays, cost overruns, and poor quality.
- Employees may become disengaged and unmotivated. If they feel like their work is not important, they are less likely to put in their best effort.
- The company may miss out on important opportunities. By focusing on Mega projects, the company may miss out on opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce costs, or develop new products or services.
There are a number of things that can be done to address this problem. One is to change the way that projects are evaluated. Instead of focusing on visibility and impact, managers should also consider the importance of projects to the company’s overall strategy.
Another way to address the problem is to create a culture that values all types of work. This can be done by recognizing and rewarding employees who work on mundane projects, as well as those who work on Mega projects.
Finally, managers need to be aware of their own biases and make sure that they are not favoring Mega projects over mundane ones. This can be difficult, but it is important to ensure that the company is allocating resources in the most effective way possible.
Here are some additional remedies to prevent managers from choosing Mega projects over mundane ones:
- Establish clear project selection criteria. These criteria should be based on the company’s overall strategy and goals, and they should be communicated to all managers.
- Provide training to managers on how to evaluate projects. This training should help managers to identify and prioritize projects that are important to the company, regardless of their visibility or impact.
- Create a system for tracking project progress and outcomes. This system can help to identify projects that are not meeting expectations and to hold managers accountable for their results.
- Provide regular feedback to managers on their project selection decisions. This feedback can help to identify areas where managers need to improve their decision-making.
By taking these steps, companies can help to ensure that resources are allocated in a way that supports the company’s overall goals and objectives.