Worthington Health System

WHCS and its CIO are facing numerous challenges that have strangled the organization for quite some time. Three of the most important issues with an urgent need for a solution include: 

  1. How to make decisions and administrative control; should it be centralized or decentralized control?
  2. Is documentation important?
  3. How does the organization handle ‘at risk’ projects?

Centralized or Decentralized Control

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Over time, it has been proven that the company experiences significant problems when it comes to control. For a long time, control has been decentralized and results have been skewed to the negative. Currently, the organization is facing challenges of making a choice between the two as suggested by Kings and the Application Services managers. The Application Services managers have proposed a project office structure, which would effectively reduce the EPMS to its Portfolio group and place all project managers and leads in customer organizations. Considering this, the only option is to attempt centralized decision making. Kings proposal that the EPMS should adopt a fully-fledged PMO solution is the solution. In essence, King was of the opinion that all project managers should belong to the Enterprise Project Management group. This effectively means that every aspect of the development process will be found under one roof. Further, training needs will be handled easily since there will be a consensus among the managers on the problems and needs that face the entire team. 

The prior suggestion from Application Services managers might be a source of problems to the company since the managers will feel like they have been demoted. As such, their productivity might reduce or they might leave the organization altogether. 

Documentation

It has been reported that WHCS is facing a critical problem related to documentation. The issue of documentation manifests itself through the staff who would not do anything beyond what is documented. Further, they require their names to be on the document to tie them to a particular task. The documentation problem causes an onslaught in the innovation and creativeness of the members of staff. On the other hand, documentation is important when it comes to maintenance of records and ensuring that the members of staff are accountable. Documentation shows a trail of activities undertaken and help trace back in case problems occur.

The solution to this problem is fixing the mentality of the members of staff apart from motivating them to go beyond what is written. According to Andreeva and Kianto (2011), innovation, when documented, is good for knowledge management but the same should not be used as a mechanism to overload people to a point of reducing their innovation. To this end, it is clear that members of staff are not motivated sufficiently. As such, they prefer to sit and do just what is said to them through writing. To diffuse this problem, the company should incorporate the concept of motivation in its modus operandi. The company’s compensation scheme should incorporate bonuses and benefits, which are accorded in response to innovativeness. The human resource department and all operational managers should diffuse information to the effect that documentation is for administrative purposes. This strategy might be challenging in that innovation is a concept that is difficult to quantify for bonus allocation purposes. Further, when an innovation is group work, it might be difficult to allocate credit to the group members. 

Handling ‘at Risk Projects’

EPM managers feel that they have been kept aside to manage and execute projects that have been rejected by others or those that have proved difficult to execute. The leftover projects, as well as, the high-risk projects that were just about to collapse did not provide motivation to the team members. To handle this problem, the CIO should announce to all project managers that their roles include seeing their projects to completion. As such, they should not leave projects halfway thinking that the ‘Mr. Fix it’ department will come in and help. They should be made aware that once they take up a project, it should be their responsibility to complete the project. This strategy is likely to meet resistance from the other project managers. Further, the speed of innovation might be killed in the process since people will be consumed by finishing off difficult projects instead of working on new ones. 

Conclusion and Recommendations

WHCS and its CIO are caught up between a rock and a hard place. As such, innovation in the company should be kept at an all-time high when it comes to problem-solving. The company needs to have a centralized decision-making mechanism that will allow managers and staff to retain their authority but also have a sense of accountability. Care should be taken not to stifle innovation, flexibility, and creativity in the name of centralizing operations. Second, the company should not place too much emphasis on documentation, especially when it replaces innovativeness. Documentation should be used as a means to store knowledge and to pass information rather than replacing innovation. Motivation is needed to shift the minds of people. Lastly, the company should come up with a means to ensure that all projects initiated by different departments are concluded by of the respective department that took the initiative to start it. No department should be held accountable due to the unfinished work of another department. 

ReferencesAndreeva, T., & Kianto, A. (2011). Knowledge processes, knowledge-intensity, and innovation: a moderated mediation analysis. Journal of Knowledge Management, 15(6), 1016-1034.

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