Luck, in the project management context, can be considered via two components:
- Diversity of Ideas
What typically occurs is our project planning evolves from the perspective of the expert’s ‘position’; thereafter, project planning really becomes a puzzle-fitting scheduling matrix around the expert’s position. Invariably, this may run counter to reducing the collective error that often seems to surface when (complex) projects get off course.
One of the paradoxical (yet common) behavioral characteristics of engaging with large groups is the greater the number of collectively consulted stakeholders, the more likely project team members will default to their own self-interest (i.e., a cost to the project) vs. the benefits (i.e., efficiency and exploring risk opportunities). In short, talking it through too much with too many people won’t necessarily help.
There are two ways of reducing the collective error and (ultimately) increasing luck. Firstly, the project manager has to harvest a greater diversity of ideas, particularly from the core project team members, to provide a richer solutions’ platform. This will increase the average divergence of the solutioning possibilities.
Secondly, the broader distribution or diversity of ideas that will eventually be discovered will actually decrease the collective error. The improved accuracy is the simple result from the project team’s taking into account the larger population of variations and collectively focusing in on the best approach or plan.
At the project management margins, it is incumbent upon the project manager to regulate the amount of solutioning from stakeholders, increase the participation of the core project team as well as increasing the diversity of ideas. This is how the project team is likely to become lucky. As to where the project manager draws the lines as to where these variables conclude is a question of the project manager’s management skill. Stated differently, how the project manager and team go heuristically harnessing this potential is a chief heuristic differentiator between project success and mediocrity with regards to complex projects.
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