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Getting everyone involved in playing the game

You've learned to play the game of Dungeons and Dragons well. Just as in the real game, you've handled the unexpected. Things seem to be going well. Now's the time to shore up your executive support by putting a steering committee in place. It is also apparent that you need to do something to get more middle management involvement.

The steering committee is the easiest group to establish. In fact, it was created years ago when your predecessor kicked off the Level 3 initiatives. A charter exists, and membership is defined. Over the years, the committee stopped functioning. Now's the time to have your champion(s) call a meeting. Of course, you will have to furnish the agenda and prepare the invitations. Take advantage of the opportunity created by giving the briefing you've prepared for the vice president of research to others who might be able to provide useful advice.

Getting middle managers and workers involved is harder. Typically, this is done using an engineering council, working groups, and the like. Generating interest is not difficult. However, getting the right people to participate is a challenge. That's because the people you want are busy working projects. The key to success is to get these people involved in something they are interested in and can contribute to. If interested, they will make the time to attend and contribute to the effort. Avoid the temptation to set up a bunch of working groups all at once. I have seen this tactic fail repeatedly. Don't foster meetings for the sake of meetings. Groups such as these need the pressure of hard deadlines to come up with results. Ask your council to address transition issues. Task your working groups to solve technical problems that impede transition.

Figure 5.14 identifies the committees, councils, and working groups you believe need to be created to reach Level 4.

  • Executive steering committee Gets senior management involved in an advisory role to provide the initiative with oversight and direction.

  • Software engineering council Gets line of business management involved in coordinating product line architecture issues and reuse process recommendations.

  • Software working groups Gets the key performers and influence makers involved in the initiatives by having them recommend ways to support the process improvements with education and training, technology, methods, languages, and tools.

Figure 5.14: Committees, Councils, and Working Groups

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