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Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
Crowdsource the project plan
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Crowdsource the project plan

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  • Wikipedia says crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people.
  • My name is Sean and I’ve been managing projects for some time now
  • I’d start on a new project and have to face the unruly mob known as sponsors & stakeholders. The first few days were always nice – almost like a pleasant cruise, with meet & greets and playful banter. But then the crowd would start getting a bit restless and asking for things…
  • Like a project plan. They figured that was exactly what I was there for. So I’d hole up in isolation and come up with this grand plan. If I was lucky, I had a template or two from previous projects to use as a starting point
  • I’d then unveil the grand plan and everyone would scoot off to start working on whatever they were doing.
  • Until the software / system / whatever…was, hook or crook, delivered. In the meantime, I was the only one who still knew there was this thing called a plan. See, along the way all those people doing the work had veered off MY plan and accomplished what needed to be done based on their own experience. II was left updating my grand plan retroactively based on the expertise and/or work by the folks doing the actual work. Reminds me of something I once heard about plans from a military perspective: we have this great battle plan, but only wish the enemy would stick to it.
  • Anyway, that process seemed pretty inefficient to me. Very industrial age production line thinking – plop the plan on to the assembly line and run it down the line. Project management, at least how I was experiencing it, was a people game – a social business.
  • So I had to reevaluate what, as a project manager, my role would be. I knew that I was NOT good at, and did not want to be, another layer of “middle management” pushing my edicts down the production line.
  • So I came up with a competency / role, which I’ve recently heard termed as a collaboration architect. Seems like a perfect title - like I said, project management is a people thing. You’ll hear terms like tribes and temporary social system in regards to project management. And as a collaboration architect, your job is to foster those temporary project tribes / social systems. Your competencies lie in such things as SOCIAL and INTERCULTURAL management. BTW, a related and very interesting field of study, with a large body of research and documentation, is organizational network analysis (ONA). Anyway, the work-around – or hack, as I endearingly call it - that I came up with back when turns out to be a perfect tool for a collaboration architecture.
  • And here’s a secret…to be a good collaboration architect, you need to vigorously live, foster, encourage transparency throughout the project OK, it’s not really a secret. In a WSJ study, high performing project teams at global companies such as BP & Nokia did a better job at fostering collaboration & transparency.
  • So what did I come up with? I figured out I had to put the crowd – sponsors, stakeholders…etc. – to work FOR ME. And here’s the hack I I use to this day…
  • BTW, I mean Hacking = good / thinking on your feet I came across a great definition in an eBook: The Lazy project Manager by Peter Taylor. In his day, Moltke – a Prussian military commander – divided his officers into four groups. His preference - Type D Officers: Mentally bright and yet physically lazy officers were the ones he felt should take the highest levels of command. These officers were clever enough to see what needed to be done but were also motivated by an inherent laziness to find the easiest, simplest way to achieve what was required. Put in a more positive way, they would know how to be successful through the most efficient deployment of effort.
  • Also, since I’m already digressing, some quick disclaimers regarding a project plan. Many enterprise level projects I have been involved in demand a plan. Also, planning = shaping the path (term from the book SWITCH), which helps reinforce certainty…more on that after the hack. OK, now the hack.
  • Define success. Do this with the sponsors – up front. This is not a long list of requirements. It IS a clear and concise sentence that describes the better future state. E.g. new payroll system will be implemented to lower back-office operational costs – now that’s something that can be measured
  • Next, given that the group now know what success looks like, ask the group – sponsors & stakeholders - for things / ideas that must take place in order for the project to be successful. The more cross functional the group, the better. Ideas should be things (to be done) – no adjectives, verbs, timeline, assignments. E.g. servers, project plan, accounting module, user testing.
  • Next, bring the group together to share those ideas / things to be done. Here, beware of group dynamics. Yes, relative output can increase as more people work together, but, on the con side, so can cliques, which can impede group performance. Also, mind the concept of ADDITIVE TASKS: group output = combination of individual outputs.. One needs BALANCE: 1 person pushing an airplane = not happening / 20 people pushing an airplane = maybe / 200 people = decreased individual contribution. This explains why crashing a project with resources is rarely a good option Anyway, I would gather everyone who had a dog in the race in the room. On the table I had stacks of post-post it notes. I asked everyone to write down their ideas – 1 per post-it.
  • Once the table was full of idea post-it’s, as a group, we would get up and put them on a wall, de-duping and categorizing as we did. We would end up with columns of ideas.
  • It did not take much effort on my part copying the post-it ideas, categorized, into an excel workbook, including a diagrammed version which looks like – wait for it – a WBS. I’d pass the WBS workbook around the group asking for: Confirmation, more details, and, most importantly, Ownership . Amazingly, most of the time, the person who suggested the idea would claim ownership. One explanation for this: the rule of consistency. People feel a desire to comply with a request if they see it’s consistent with what they’ve publically committed to in your presence. It will cause them to say yes to what they’ve already told you they will do or value.
  • Using the WBS workbook and feedback from the group, I’d then transfer everything into a project plan. Easy at this point. Oh, and another good reason to spend some time on a good plan: a Harvard Business Review piece on collaboration within virtual teams suggests that clarifying tasks and roles on a project UP FRONT is ideal – then give people some room (also called AUTONOMY) to actually complete their work.
  • So, that’s the hack – not rocket science
  • But then comes along the age of globally dispersed (virtual) teams. Projects have gone global because of many reasons: talent, sourcing, logistics…etc. Yes, this has its challenges. But I think of global teams as a strategic asset. You get diversity, a wealth of experience & knowledge and around the clock “production” work. The playing field has been completely leveled. Which is a good thing. I stole that from a book called THE WORLD IS FLAT.
  • Steps 3 & 4 had to be modified for the global / virtual project landscape.
  • The hack had to be modified: Easy, use technology. Instead of in a conference room, I collect the group on a conference app like Adobe and then add Trello – a digital version of Toyota’s kanban boards – for the part where group members suggest iand categorize ideas. There is plenty of other collaboration technology out there: SharePoint, Yammer, Basecamp…etc. Remember, as a collaboration architect, you must foster collaboration. Do so with the plethora of technology now available
  • In essence, the hack still works as originally designed. The end result being a project plan that was crowd sourced from the project stakeholders, sponsors…etc.
  • But does this hack really work? And how? And how does this hack get / foster buy-in from the group? SCIENCE…well, anthropology: The study of humans & how groups of humans influence social organizations and culture. And herein lies the real beauty of this hack.
  • There is a lot of good stuff out there in re to the science of humans operate within the confines of a group. One of the more interesting pieces is something called the SCARF model. It’s an approach-avoid response is a survival mechanism embedded deep in our brains, designed to help us humans stay alive by quickly, unconsciously, and easily remember what is good and bad in the environment. The brain encodes these memories so they can be pulled up quickly the next time a similar situation happens. It explains the almost instant and visceral reaction you might have to foods that you have not like your entire life (for me, cooked asparagus.)
  • The SCARF model is driven by 5 interlinked domains – i.e. these work in tandem.
  • Again – vigorously encourage / foster collaboration & transparency as a project manager.
  • The End  . I’ve references a lot of different material in this presentation. Please feel free to get in touch with me for more detail?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Crowdsource Your Project Plan and build stakeholder buy-in PRESENTER: SEAN HULL June 27, 2013
    • 2. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 2 Hi, my name is Sean And this is my story. Actually, was my story…
    • 3. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 3 Hi, my name is Sean And this is my story. Actually, was my story…
    • 4. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 4 Hi, my name is Sean And this is my story. Actually, was my story…
    • 5. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 5 Hi, my name is Sean And this is my story. Actually, was my story…
    • 6. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 6 Hi, my name is Sean And this is my story. Actually, was my story…
    • 7. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 7 Linear Middle management Not ideal for people
    • 8. TheProblem crowdsource your project plan 8 • Problem solving • Risk management • Team leadership • Project control • Negotiation • Team leadership PM competencies
    • 9. Collaboration Architect crowdsource your project plan 9 Temporary social system Start with people, not plans. Start by evaluating the network A hopped up stakehoder analysis Organizational Network Analysis (ONA)
    • 10. crowdsource your project plan 10 Collaboration Transparency
    • 11. crowdsource your project plan 11 The Problem The Hack The Science TheHack 1 2 3
    • 12. TheHack 12 VS crowdsource your project plan NOT this one… The Lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor
    • 13. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 13 Switch by Chip & Dan Heath
    • 14. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1414 Define success1 2 3 4 5 6
    • 15. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1515 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas 1 2 3 4 5 6
    • 16. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1616 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share 1 2 3 4 5 6
    • 17. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1717 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas 1 2 3 4 5 6
    • 18. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1818 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas Agree on the ideas 1 2 3 4 5 6
    • 19. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 1919 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas Agree on the ideas 1 Make it real 2 3 4 5 6
    • 20. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 20 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas Agree on the ideas Make it real
    • 21. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 21 Cultural miscues Time zone differences Harder to build cohesion The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
    • 22. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 22 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas Agree on the ideas 1 2 3 4 5 Make it real6
    • 23. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 23 Use technology to make your life easier Trello.com Even better, use technology that enables collaboration
    • 24. TheHack crowdsource your project plan 24 Define success Ask the group to come up with ideas Bring the group together and share Build on / out the ideas Agree on the ideas Make it real
    • 25. crowdsource your project plan 25 The Problem The Hack The Science TheScience 1 2 3
    • 26. TheScience crowdsource your project plan 26 SCARF A brain based model for collaborating with and influencing others Hinges on the approach (reward) - avoid (threat) response A survival instinct
    • 27. TheScience crowdsource your project plan 27 Domain Defined Fit Status Relative importance, pecking order, seniority. Status is important to humans relative to others in conversations. Asking for input v. “telling.” Level playing field for team. Certainty Pattern recognition, certainty. Even a small amount of uncertainty can create an error message in the brain. Creating a plan, which, in turn, creates a sense of certainty. Shaping the path. Autonomy The perception of exerting control over one’s environment, work. A sense of “choice” Asking team members for ownership, clarification on planned work. NOT micromanaging the work itself. Relatedness Deciding if others are “in” or “out” of a social group. Architecting teamwork (and peer pressure to perform) up front. Fairness The need for fair exchanges. Fostering a peer group v. hierarchal. Collaboration v. orders.
    • 28. crowdsource your project plan 28 Collaboration Transparency
    • 29. AboutMe crowdsource your project plan 29 Sean Hull MBA, PMP www.linkedin.com/in/seanthull/ @Shull

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