(3) Essay «Structuring Chaos»

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You start a project. Any project. Tiny or global, due a single week or a decade, free of charge or many-millioned. The project start is the most dangerous and the most attractive stage of its …

You start a project. Any project. Tiny or global, due a single week or a decade, free of charge or many-millioned. The project start is the most dangerous and the most attractive stage of its realization. You plunge into the chaos. Into the inescapable chaos, created by complex-organized multi-level systems.

These systems existed before and don’t fail to exist after Your project completion. And it’s up to You only, how effectively You keep Your project on in the strict succession: accepting chaos – limiting chaos – ordering chaos, attaining Your project objective – and again, accepting chaos.

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  • 1. Structuring chaos Passage from «Some Essays About Management» essay 3
  • 2. Earlier we’ve told about a project as a certain system we manage
  • 3. That is why – the project is a whole set (hierarchy) of all project participants and relations between them (structure)
  • 4. Now we’d like to dwell at length on how project is born, how it’s stood out from its surrounding and how it’s organized
  • 5. Why is that important?
  • 6. Because besides an objective of the project, there are many project participants and stakeholders of different levels who are also to be worked with
  • 7. Or there are many important and principal contractors and partners who influence considerably the project success and effectiveness
  • 8. Or it may require gathering of a great number of bits of different knowledge domains (planning, construction, supply, for example, etc.)
  • 9. A really difficult thing in such projects is – to organize all participants and stakeholders
  • 10. Lack of such organization hardly lets passing from project initiation to its planning, needless to say that it also complicates moving to the project objective
  • 11. Well, let’s get it one after another
  • 12. 1 Project «birth»
  • 13. What is the reason of project initiation? Of course – project objective
  • 14. It’s exactly the fact that there is an objective provokes the process of reality structuring
  • 15. The surrounding reality keeps on being the chaos – a super-intricate dynamic system, until project birth
  • 16. And so, such chaos provokes a need in some result
  • 17. And this need of surrounding world converts lastly into an objective [of the project]
  • 18. In surrounding environment the defined objective provokes exigence to create a certain system, a certain mechanism intended to reach the desired objective
  • 19. Finally, thanks to all of that, separate persons start to team up in a distinct and organized entity of people – exactly to what we name a project
  • 20. The objective is the very pivot which holds all participants in project borders and keeps stable the project as a mechanism
  • 21. The project objective is a backbone factor which enables the «birth» of the project as a system
  • 22. 2 Limiting chaos
  • 23. Well, now we are in need of a working system
  • 24. The first step in this direction is to outline borders of the project, of all participants and stakeholders entity, people whom we are going to manage
  • 25. Why do we always underline people as project participants, and no companies?
  • 26. It’s just because in our understanding we always work with certain people only
  • 27. Where a certain man works is not principal for us. It’ important that he is taken within our project, it’s to him whom we’ll collaborate with, but not always with his company
  • 28. We outline on our own the borders of our project where we decide whether include or exclude somebody
  • 29. We say these people are included in the project, and we’ll do manage them, but those people are not
  • 30. Why is that so important to manage project borders consciously?
  • 31. ‘Cause project borders represent the very filters which influence directly the thing of how we visualize the project itself
  • 32. Those are the very filters we create artificially for ourselves and for all project participants
  • 33. By means of borders and filters we consciously enlarge or artificially reduce the number of people we are going to manage
  • 34. 3 About project structure and hierarchies
  • 35. We’ve outlined project borders and now we face a super-complicated task – to organize the project, i.e. people who develop and implement it
  • 36. There are two ways of organization when creating a working mechanism – structure and hierarchy
  • 37. We need structuring all people taking part in the project by standing out diverse elements, by connecting them and by bringing accurate and clear hierarchy in their relations
  • 38. In result we reach two basic goals of management: ― by means of structure, we distribute all functions and tasks, which lead to the project objective, between all those who are responsible ― by means of hierarchy we get a mechanism of management and coordination of all participants within the project
  • 39. What’s the use of structuring? What are structures needed for?
  • 40. It depends on that greatly – how our project and our system, as people entity, will move
  • 41. The structure specifies behavior of all project stakeholders Achievement of the project objective depends on whether it’s correct and adequate
  • 42. Our task is to structure all participants in such a way that all functions and tasks would be distributed and assigned to diverse elements
  • 43. In the capacity of such elements we mean people or groups of people, naturally
  • 44. What is the logics of these elements standing out?
  • 45. It’s very simple – if there is a function or a task, therefore, there must be a separate specialized element for it
  • 46. It’s important that such elements are stood out artificially according to the project requirements
  • 47. A typical mistake – if «natural» borders, for example, employees of the same department, are taken as a basis
  • 48. The technology of these elements fixation in the project is mutual arrangements, which makes the ground to keep in the project all elements we need, such as technologies, council of experts, logistics workgroup, etc.
  • 49. These elements are bricks in the structure of our project, components of mechanism handling all necessary functions and moving us to the project objective
  • 50. But these elements standing out doesn’t let us say: «We’ve created the structure of our project»
  • 51. We’ve prepared only building materials – bricks, which we’ll use to build our structure
  • 52. And now we need mortar to bring them together
  • 53. How to establish relations between separate elements of our structure? And what should these relations be like?
  • 54. Relations. They bring mutual restraints on behavior of objects [project elements], which restrain behavior of elements and make them depend one on another
  • 55. New relations in our project let creating new opportunities and implementing some functions and tasks which are unavailable to implement with separate project elements only
  • 56. The basis for emergence of such relations, i. e. the technology of how to create them is – concluding of mutual arrangements between all stakeholders
  • 57. …Mutual arrangements about subject of relations, about rights and duties
  • 58. That’s arrangements exactly that represent a framework holding the project, cement piecing broken elements in a whole
  • 59. How to shape arrangements?
  • 60. First of all, it’s necessary to reveal interests of project participants and stakeholders and to propose smth. to all of them within our project
  • 61. These arrangements let to distribute rights and duties, to fix all functions and processes and to form project hierarchy (to stand out levels of decision-making for the first)
  • 62. Relying on these arrangements we create all relations we need between project elements
  • 63. From the standpoint of relations shaping, it’s important to have fixed (legitimate) arrangements
  • 64. In result – our project (as entity of people and interrelations between them) is organized
  • 65. No arrangements – no relations We do have fixed arrangements – and the structure of the project does appear
  • 66. Relying on these relations we form communication channels
  • 67. Channels which let through not only information in our project, but – what’s more interesting for us as managers – managerial influences
  • 68. A little remark: legitimate arrangements equal relations, when here these relations equal any number of communication channels, formed on the basis of these relations (arrangements)
  • 69. Why are relations so important?
  • 70. They are important for management They make our project manageable
  • 71. Management is based on communication Transmission of any managerial influence is available when there is a communication channel – direct or by mesne
  • 72. That’s why we’d like to underline it once more : arrangements and relations make the project framework, and communication channels specify organizational design where our project elements are ordered according to certain hierarchy as well as communication channels, designed for information transmission, including managerial influences, are adjusted
  • 73. What principles does the project structure have to be based on?
  • 74. a) Maximal information flow – information exchange should be instant and have the least number of mediatory stages
  • 75. b) Minimal distortions of any information, especially – in case of managerial influences
  • 76. c) Rapid transmission of information which can be reached by large number of direct communication channels
  • 77. d) Centralization within the project when one of project elements (subject of management) has a maximal number of relations and communication channels for effective implementation of his managerial functions
  • 78. e) Flexibility within the project when there is a possibility to replace one element with another on a management or junction position
  • 79. Everyone should define all by oneself what type of structure would be optimal and appropriate for him in his project
  • 80. Anyway, the key instrument or technology of project organization is the ability to provide arrangements
  • 81. The ground for project organization technology is – providing the environment for arrangements making (communication grounds) and managing the process of arrangements making itself
  • 82. At the expense of arrangements we can change borders of the project, concentrate on elements we need, and come to mutual understanding
  • 83. Thanks for Your attention! P.S. You got to know the passage of our book «Some Essays About Management» The book is available in whole on the page «Vision» of our site www.kommandcore.com
  • 84. Lively management of projects