Recent blog post from 37 signals - What you expect from clients is what you get
It's interesting - I see exactly the same thing in organisations I've worked for and with (I mainly deal with very large multi-national companies). One organisation in particular has a long history of process, and gates, and hoops, and requirements, and documentation, and review periods, and signoffs. Those things aren't necessarily bad, but this organisation also has a long history of burning money, and not delivering anything.
Organisations often try to become more agile, deliver more, and promote efficiency through introduction of more management, more process, more rigor. The core of the process remains the same. The fundamental problem doesn't go away. And these extra layers add overhead; time in meetings, time writing status reports, time appeasing everyone, and building consensus - which will dilute of solutions, rather than making concrete decisions and promoting original vision.
Part of my job now is to help these companies break out of this mold, advise them on how things can be done better, show them a better way. I do expect that certain companies I work with can't be altered, and that people won't understand advantages to the different options out there - perhaps it's time to change that perspective of mine - give it a shot. The worse that can happen is that they do what they've always done...