Top Five Ideas for Project Management

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The top five things a project manager, or an accidental project manager, must do to be successful

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Top Five Ideas for Project Management

  1. 1. The Top Five Ideas for Project Management that bring project success <ul><li>Create implementation teams around an attractive, compelling, and motivating project theme – a vision of outcomes with benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teams respond best to a compelling mission </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify the value that beneficiaries will place on outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain priorities according to urgency and importance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accept and internalize the requirements paradox: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project success depends on complete and accurate requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements will never be complete, and are frequently inaccurate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plan incrementally; Work incrementally; Deliver incrementally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Let the value proposition evolve as beneficiaries adopt incrementally </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain a management focus on ‘effort-to-complete’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The best focal point for management is on outcomes </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. Create implementation teams around an attractive, compelling, motivating project theme <ul><li>Teams are more likely to have successful outcomes than individuals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A compelling mission joins individual agendas into collective effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful teams are multi-functional, self-contained, and empowered for self-governance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance risks of individuals are mitigated by the redundant and collective efforts of members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teams don’t always work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intolerance of nemesis viewpoints leads to group-think and missed opportunity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership and management become confused: people are led; outcomes are managed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment uncertainties kill productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Awkward and untimely decision chains </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Confusion about roles and responsibilities </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Identify the value that beneficiaries will place on outcomes <ul><li>Define the community of beneficiaries and stakeholders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beneficiary’s lives and business’ are made better by project outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholders pave the way -- involved but not necessarily committed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask what beneficiaries value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s must-have for minimum success? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s most important, and what’s least important? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s most urgent and what’s the timeline? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let value evolve as incremental deliverables are absorbed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Decide what stakeholders need in return for their support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>View stakeholders as indirect beneficiaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show stakeholders a return on investment, even if not monetary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value the beneficiary where stakeholders and beneficiaries conflict </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Accept and internalize the requirements paradox <ul><li>Change is to be encouraged, not suppressed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users are ‘wicked’ – the solution often defines the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand that changes will be offered after the first outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guide change management with urgency, importance, and feasibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Governance keeps the big picture in mind </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask: is everything consistent with the theme? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Providing value is preferred to following a plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know: beneficiaries care nothing for the plan; they care only for the benefit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan, even though: planning is everything; plans are nothing … plans never survive the first encounter with reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appreciate value is emergent: outcomes acquire value with application and experience </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Plan incrementally; Work incrementally; Deliver incrementally <ul><li>Be incremental </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘big-design-up-front’ – BDUF – rarely works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘big-bang’ at the end rarely works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Break the time-line down into segments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schedule rollouts to a pace that can be absorbed by the beneficiaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Break the big theme down into smaller stories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each story is a feature and/or function with defined value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritize according to urgency, importance, and feasibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop each story on its own </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allow time for reflection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Between increments, solicit feedback from the beneficiaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan time to reflect, absorb lessons learned, and apply improvement </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Maintain a management focus on ‘effort-to-complete’ <ul><li>Manage for outcomes rather than to conserve inputs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only outcomes have value to investors, stakeholders, and beneficiaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping the inputs – cost and schedule -- on-plan does not necessarily create any outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lead towards the objective: motivate, inspire, and demonstrate by example </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask: How much effort to complete the work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remaining effort can be equated to required resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Required resources can be compared to remaining resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaps can be addressed once identified </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Never ask: How complete is the work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It may seem like an enigma, but workers usually have more insight for the way forward than the proportionality of past and present </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Credit where credit is due <ul><li>The requirements paradox: Niels Malotaux </li></ul><ul><li>Planning is everything; plans are nothing: Field Marshall Helmuth Graf von Moltke </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize by urgency and importance: Stephen Covey </li></ul><ul><li>People are led; things are managed: Admiral Grace Hopper, USN </li></ul><ul><li>BDUF: Scott Ambler </li></ul>

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