Battlespace Management

We’ve all been there: A project that has gone south and needs to be put back on track quickly. Resources get thrown into the breach to bolster customer and management confidence. When this situation occurs the manager dealing with the issue can get myopic pretty quickly. How can he do anything but focus like a laser on the one thing that everyone is looking at?

But focus comes at a cost. Other issues can quickly rise out of the turmoil and out flank a manager’s ability to effectively see and deal with it. Some of the available resources do not get fully utilized. There is dead space in the feedback loop. This is where Battlespace Management comes into play:

Battlespace Management (BM) – The adaptive means and measures that enable the dynamic synchronization of activities and resources to provide the desired outcome. BM has always been important but the nature of modern operations requires ever lower levels of command to plan and execute increasingly complex BM.

Yes, it is a military definition but can easily translate to business. In fact many consulting firms use military comparisons regularly. Whole books are written on the subject.

Battlespace Management has four main principles:

  • Universal Application – BM is applied at all levels, the only difference being the means and measures. All applied activities require coordination, synchronization and prioritization.
    • Strategic Management – Focuses on resources acquisition and management.
    • Tactical Management – Focuses on resource assignment and task measurement.
  • Interaction – Resources interact; therefore activities will (eventually) impact each other.
  • Coordination and Control – As resources interact, control must be asserted to maximize benefit and minimize interruptions.
  • Collaboration – Seldom can activities remain compartmentalized. Collaboration occurs both up and down the command chain, as well as across environmental boundaries.

So how could this understanding benefit an IT unit?

  • Standard Operating Procedures: Clear cut procedures that exist in a process improvement environment that allows any member of a team to easily initiate required work.
  • Task Integration vs. Responsibility Silos: Each member of a team should be familiar (but maybe not an expert) with all aspects of a unit’s area or responsibility.
  • Liaisons: Have members of the team assigned to interact with support units. These liaisons are used to reduce the ‘friction’ that can naturally occur when coordinating tasks and resources w/o the need for supervisorial involvement.
  • Training and Preparation: Each member should be competent in all platforms the unit operates in and a training regime should exist to support this.

If a unit followed these ideas it would be a lot harder to be surprised (flanked) by new developments within their area of responsibility. Has anybody seen a related case-study in one of their MBA classes?

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