One size does not fit all
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Chaos in project management

Chaos in project management

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One size does not fit all Presentation Transcript

  • 1. One Size Does Not Fit All ...And That’s a Good ThingBruce A Stewart • 30 April 2013Bruce A Stewart1
  • 2. If the situation is different, should the project be the same?2
  • 3. • Project planning, especially inthe “idea to plan” phase,depends on some stabilities.• Many projects, however, involvevariant “truth” or don’t comewith repeatable conditions / usecases / situations.• Project management is aboutflexing practices to achieveoutcomes.Which domain?3
  • 4. Looking at Reality4
  • 5. Much more of the available project space requires different methodsthan is first apparent!5
  • 6. 6
  • 7. Simple• Environments are always “inmotion” even in apparentlysimple order.• When simple order breaksdown, it’s like falling off a cliffinto chaos.• Others expect projectmanagers to work using simpleorder even when they don’t.7
  • 8. Complicated• Interdepartmental conflict oftenthrows apparently simpledomain projects into thecomplicated domain.• Seek “good enough”outcomes: if the outcome mustremain complicated it can’t berigid.• Go to the complex domain totest alternatives.8
  • 9. Complex• Goal is multiple safe-to-failexperiments. Even failuresadvance the overall project.• Must be managed at a higherlevel than the activities. This isagility as opposed to AGILE.• Complex domain requires“blessing of order” beforestabilizing into the simple.9
  • 10. How best to proceed depends on where you are10
  • 11. Steering mechanisms should differ depending on what domain is inplay. Permanent mechanisms should reflect the size of the mix.SponsorSteeringCommitteeGovernanceBoardSponsor11
  • 12. People, Organizations, Demands12
  • 13. Putting it All Together• Plans are only as trustworthy as their match to reality. Set expectationsaccordingly.• Project management appears to be a function of simple order, but it’s not. It’sa function of the complex domain (i.e. inherently less ordered).• Getting the right steering mechanism is crucial especially on large-scaleendeavours.• What matters is progress, but its form changes as the domains change.• Perhaps leadership should transition to take advantage of personal style anddomain you’re now in?13
  • 14. Contact Bruce Stewartbruce.stewart@bastewart.comwww.linkedin.com/in/bastewart@brucestewart+1 (416) 347-7809personalduediligence.comblogidol.caBruce A StewartExecutive AdvisorColumnist14
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