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Stream owners

Once the plan has been developed, in most cases it will be broken down into work packages or action streams. However, at this stage it will be difficult to decide who should own the various work streams because much of the detail will be uncertain. For example, in a product development project one stream might deal with changes in the engineering department and another will deliver improved bottom-line results for the marketing manager. It is therefore open to debate as to who should be held accountable for delivery of a stream. Do the logical owners accept responsibility for the change? Should it be a shared responsibility? Or do they both attempt to absolve themselves on the pretext that they don't have time or interest in the change? Although as a backstop you might be able to own some of the streams, unless the home players accept some responsibility then it becomes harder to effect a logical hand-over of responsibility at a later date.

You should aim to move to a position where both the design of the change stream and the owner are clearly understood. As the ownership of the stream becomes clear, this will lead to a deeper understanding of the design issues. However, as these become clearer so the issue of ownership comes into question, as seen in Fig. 8.5. The end result is that you might need to allow time and space for people to accept ownership of a work stream. If you can sit back and let the ball bounce around, when it finally settles there will be a greater chance that it has fallen into the right home. If you try to force the issue and end up allocating the work stream to an owner, there is a greater chance that game playing will emerge later.


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