Effective project management has become cornerstone to business performance. Although we are largely in a recovery, none of my clients have gone back to the days of having more than the required resources “just in case” yet project demands are ever-increasing as profitable growth is key to success. In essence, if you want to thrive in today’s new normal business environment, you will not only execute flawlessly but you’ll also innovate constantly. Neither will deliver results without flawless project execution. Based on my observations, 90%+ of my clients and contacts struggle to resource projects and overcome obstacles quickly enough to ensure success. What should we do?
For example, one of my key clients has at least 7 critical project priorities in process simultaneously. This alone is problematic enough as it’s been proven over and over again that people can only multi-task so far. In my experience, anything beyond 3 priorities will suffer. However, in addition to this burden, they have resourced these projects with people who already have full-time jobs. Unfortunately, this occurrence is not uncommon.
Of course, my first priority with these situations is to work with the client to take a step back and re-focus in on fewer priorities. Once the first few are completed successfully, we’ll move on to the next set of priorities. In 100% of the cases, I’ve seen this tactic achieve significantly greater success. However, whether we follow the smart path and focus on just 3 priorities or try to keep track of all 7 at once, we must implement check points from the start to have a chance at success! A few keys to success include: 1) Understand milestones. 2) Think about evidence of progress. 3) Develop a check point process.
It is widely accepted that the elicitation of complete requirements during project ideation is very unlikely except in the simplest of projects. There are a number of internal and external factors that affect the solution and its clarity that often change during the project life span that accounts for this. The environment is dynamic. It doesn’t stand still just because you are managing a project! These factors create process challenges that can be mitigated by a simple change in the definition we use for a requirement. This simple change of definition simplifies many of the project management process problems and improves the likelihood of delivering the expected business value.
THE REALITIES OF THE COMPLEX PROJECT LANDSCAPE
As part of the Ideation Phase of a complex project we can define
“WHAT” an acceptable solution has to contain and the business
value it is expected to generate.
At the start of a complex project we may “NOT KNOW HOW” to
achieve an acceptable solution.
The resulting incompleteness is a logical consequence of the
Plan-driven definition of a requirement. That incompleteness can
be removed by using a Change-driven definition of a requirement.
Using a Change-driven definition of requirements implies that an
iterative project management approach will be required.
Most project management processes use a Plan-driven definition of requirements. That will not work in the contemporary complex project landscape. This article introduces a Change-driven definition of requirements. That simple change eliminates the obstacle.
“A PM Framework, Driving order out of chaos, Where is your PM walking book?”
Project management is like a jig saw puzzle, whether large or small; all pieces are necessary for successful completion. How you tackle and separate the pieces within a standard PM framework is monumental to your project’s success. Generally, an experienced practitioner will identify stakeholders, collect requirements, identify risks, establish controls, monitor tasks- milestones- risk and issues; during which will facilitate execution and closing of the project while exercising proactive oversight, reporting and compliance. Just like starting a new puzzle, every project is different; however practicing the methodology with the techniques gained from previous experience will help expedite the process flow for future engagements.
In a busy world, we catalog our lessons learned and quickly wrap up an After Action Report or Post Implementation Review to move on to the next project at hand. Is that enough? These are the organizational assets we reference and pass to the next PM, how much better would we be as practitioners if we subscribed to a style of project management that includes documenting the workflow? During, not after, the project ends and not just in a folder on a shared drive but an interactive e-learning, e-doing mobile tool. A living, real time reference guide; creating a ‘hands on” approach to the PM framework for project and program managers through a documented workflow. Similar to a ‘run book’, but created in a rolling wave pattern, your ‘walking PM play book’.