Project Governance and Definition
Risk is a risk in itself. It is risk for you if you dare bring it up. Have you ever identified the risk, in writing, that your boss' inherent inability to make decisions is going to sink the project? How about the company loss of market share will require laying off half the project team? Or, that the project manager has never had a successful project? These are CLMs (career limiting moves). Even mentioning such common risks as a company's inexperience in the project's domain is too risky to put in the risk register. It is as if management enjoys blissful ignorance and relishes the firefight that ensues. Cowboy mentality. Identifying risk, modeling mitigation plans, and compiling contingency are too boring compared to the thrill of disaster recovery.
Estimates are wrong if you cannot beat them half of the time; they are also wrong if you are not late half the time. Neither condition is one that should make management upset. In fact, matching that score is a great accomplishment. So how can people get so emotional about the statement? The answer is that people do not understand estimates and how they work. Through years of estimates being treated as quotes, we have been brainwashed into thinking our best effort is to meet the date, not better it. Heaven forbid if you are late. This lack of understanding is very evident by the number of blogs on the subject and some of their bewildering comments. The comments point out wildly different views. Some people think that Monte Carlo analysis gives you an estimate that has a 95% chance of being right and others believe that using Agile relieves people from having to make estimates entirely. Both of which are plainly not true.
Why is it that tasks always seem to be late? No matter how much time we allot, there never seems to be enough to complete a task on time. There is one overreaching reason pervasive throughout the enterprise—poor time management. To accommodate the continual barrage of supposedly urgent tasks, we heavily pad estimates. Excessive padding triggers numerous negative work patterns. The extra time and over confidence in estimates allows people to accept other unrelated tasks, introduce low priority features, and strive for perfection. It is unfair, however, to saddle the individual with the entire problem; the work-place culture reinforces and rewards the behavior.
The term 'Inception Phase' is often used to signify a project's beginning. Isn’t it really the birth? There are many similarities between a project's lifecycle and this familial analogy.
Inception happens much earlier with a glass of wine, maybe two. That first thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we had a…” Complete the sentence to fit the situation. It is at this point that the ball gets rolling, so to speak, and someone decides to invest some time to explore the possibility of making something happen. The originator courts the business manager, selling the concept of the idea, until there is approval to move forward. Voilà! It is conceived. Someone commits to carry and nurture the project, allowing it to incubate and mature into a viable form that can properly benefit the organization as a final product. After the proper gestation, the project is born and has a team assigned. This is the transition that many methodologies errantly label inception.
If you are trying to implement a lean philosophy in a service industry (or just your projects), this book is a great resource. It describes what is needs and how to implement it. As a "desk resource" it at times repeats itself; however, that is great for reading sections at a time. There are a lot of tools that can be used by project managers to lean out their methodology.
Bring the advantages of Lean Six Sigma improvement out of manufacturing and into your services organization.
Many companies have some form of a portfolio management group to manage their projects and their backlog. The projects they govern range from network pulls to new software development. However, most use only one methodology to run these projects. It may be waterfall, Agile, Critical Chain or some other process. This is analogous to having only one knife in the kitchen. Anyone that has cooked more than a few meals realizes that a table knife is insufficient for all your kitchen needs. It purees tomatoes, cuts meat poorly, fails at filleting fish and suffers as a steak knife. There are hundreds of knives, each designed to do some specific job. As with many jobs, some tools are better than others are for certain tasks.
The policy reads, "Before you can proceed, the PMO needs to approve the design gate." So, you begrudgingly wind down the project so the slowest members of the design team can catch up. A week, maybe two, sometimes even more flash by. The rest of the project team starts finding work on other projects. Once the PMO finally gives the project the green light, you will need to wait for people to complete those other tasks before they can focus on your project. Precious time is lost.
|Author:||Robert K. Wysocki|
|Publisher:||J. Ross Publishing|
This book is currently under review, more details will be added when available
If you are stepping up to manage complex projects this is a great text. It is wonderful as a standalone read, as a college text, or a desk reference.
Developed, refined, and validated by over 20 years of client experiences, Effective Complex Project Management offers a proven solution to managing any project that must succeed in the face of organizational complexity and market uncertainty. When applied and managed correctly, this intuitive framework and robust methodology will deliver the desired business value of programs and projects without fail!
|Author:||Robert K. Wysocki|
Another great book by Mr. Wysocki, a personal friend. This books continues to meet Bob's standard of well written project management reference and text books.
The popular guide to the project management body of knowledge, now fully updated.
Now in its seventh edition, this comprehensive guide to project management has long been considered the standard for both professionals and academics. With more than 32,000 copies sold in the last three editions, it has now been fully updated to cover the new PMBOK 5. Well-known expert Robert Wysocki has added more than 100 pages of new content based on instructor feedback, enhancing the coverage of best-of-breed methods and tools for ensuring project management success.
With enriched case studies, accompanying exercises and solutions on the companion website, and PowerPoint slides for all figures and tables, the book is ideal for instructors and students as well as active project managers.
|Author:||Thomas Luke Jarocki|
|Publisher:||Brown & Williams Publishing|
Still confused on how projects and change management fit together? If so, read this book. It gives a great history of both and outlines a process that may work for your company. If nothing else, the process described will help you understand how your company can fold the two disciplines together. The only detractor is the author's contniual reference to "his" methodology. However, this does give you a good example of its implementation.
Just about every project professional agrees that "success" today is not just about being "on time, within budget, and according to scope" but one in which there is successful organizational change and the broad organizational adoption of project outputs and deliverables. However, because the project management and organizational/behavioral change management disciplines are often practiced as separate entities, the road to success often becomes divided, leading to poor outcomes for both the project manager and stakeholders throughout the organization.