This post by Tanya Reilly describes well the role I regularly have, and what I’ve been talking to a relatively new colleague about to explain how slow and in circles things often seem to move. Side Quests is an apt and more fun description, so I think we should adopt it.
Projects get blocked for reasons that aren’t obvious.
Understanding why can feel like a ridiculous side quest in a point and click adventure game. You need to ask exactly the right questions of exactly the right people before anyone volunteers the one piece of information that will get you closer to the golden idol so you can challenge the Swordmaster to a duel. Or, you know, whatever your local organisational equivalent is.