How to destroy a project in one month or less

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Projects have challenges (better word: issues/problems :-) ).
And every project manager has to surpass them.
This presentation is part of some of my lesson learns and recommendations, while dealing with projects.

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How to destroy a project in one month or less

  1. 1. 1 How to destroy a project in one month… or less? Seminars ∙ Post Graduation Project Management ∙ ISBB Helder Ferreira ∙ PMO Director, ISA ∙ hferreira@isa.pt 13.04.2013
  2. 2. 2 • Experiência: – 16 anos execução de projectos IT; – 10 anos em Gestão de Programas e Projectos; – 6 anos a liderar Gabinetes de Gestão de Projecto; – PMBoK, SCRUM, CMMI5, Lean, 6-sigma e ITSM; • Certificado em: – Project Management Professional, PMP – Scrum Master, CSM – ITIL IT Service Management, ITSM • Formação: – Licenciado em Engª Electrotécnica, FEUP – Mestrado em Engª Informática, FEUP – Pós-Graduado em Gestão de Projectos, ISBB Quem sou? • Currently PMO Director at Intelligent Sensing Anywhere, SA; • Certifications: PMP - Project Management Professional, CSM – Certified Scrum Master and ITSM – ITIL v3 Service Management; • License Degree in Electrotechnical Engineering, Masters in Computer Science and Post-Graduation in Project Management; • 16 years executing projects; • 10 years doing Program/Project Management (Retail, IT, Production, Energy, Internet/Web, Usability, R&D); • 6 years leading Project Management Offices (PMO); • PMBoK, SCRUM, XP, CMMI5, Lean, 6-sigma and ITIL.
  3. 3. 3 Do you know what is the current project’s success rate?
  4. 4. 4 CHAOS Report
  5. 5. 5 CHAOS Report Failed Delayed / Overbudget Success Source:
  6. 6. 6 We keep doing an awful job managing projects!
  7. 7. 7 CHAOS Report • Projects with high budgets • Have success rates really low • Projects with low budgets • Have success rates very high
  8. 8. 8 As more money gets involved, more is the tendency (probability) to do mistakes!
  9. 9. 9 CHAOS Report Average % of temporal delay in challenged projects
  10. 10. 10 When we get delayed, we REALLY get delayed!
  11. 11. 11 Conclusion: 67% of the worldwide projects end up like this…
  12. 12. 12 So, what is causing such big disasters on our projects?
  13. 13. 13 35 reasons for these problems to happen (by no special order or preference)
  14. 14. 14 #1 – The choice of the Project Manager
  15. 15. 15 The wrong person on the right project. The choice should be made on the most proper resource to the project in question, having in mind: - Seniority; - Motivations; - Personality.
  16. 16. 16 Can a project manager with less “Soft/People Skills” be a good leader?
  17. 17. 17 Can a project manager with less “Soft/People Skills” be a good leader? Sure. Specially in projects with very strong technical components. As technical guru, will lead by example and peers will respect him/her.
  18. 18. 18 But pay attention: Just because someone excels at technical lead, that doesn’t mean it can be as good as a manager or vice-versa. Hallo Effect
  19. 19. 19 #2 – Frequent and uncontrolled scope changes
  20. 20. 20 The expectation gap between: the scope that the project manager believes he/she has to fulfill and the scope from the client side, causes a phenomenon of frequent and continuous changes in the project that at the end will cause huge deviations from the original vision. Scope Creep
  21. 21. 21 The expectation gap between: the scope that the project manager believes he/she has to fulfill and the scope from the client side, causes a phenomenon of frequent and continuous changes in the project that at the end will cause huge deviations from the original vision. Scope Creep What causes this behavior?
  22. 22. 22 Some probable causes: - Missing the identification of an important stakeholder; - The project need or the problem is not clear; - Sometimes, the client doesn’t know what he/she wants; - Bad requirements definition.
  23. 23. 23 Some probable causes: - Missing the identification of an important stakeholder; - The project need or the problem is not clear; - Sometimes, the client doesn’t know what he/she wants; - Bad requirements definition. Are all changes bad?
  24. 24. 24 Not all changes are bad, as long as they contribute positively for the project goal, and as long as there is a control mechanism in place. Change Control Board
  25. 25. 25 The scope change control system also helps to avoid unecessary work in the project. Gold Plating
  26. 26. 26 #3 – Effort Estimation Errors
  27. 27. 27 Why do we do so many errors estimating?
  28. 28. 28 Some of the common causes: - One-time estimate; - Padding; - Forget past history; - Don’t use a WBS; - Don’t validate scope with stakeholders; - Lack of buy-in from the team.
  29. 29. 29 Some of the common causes: - One-time estimate; - Padding; - Forget past history; - Don’t use a WBS; - Don’t validate scope with stakeholders; - Lack of buy-in from the team. How can we improve?
  30. 30. 30 - Create a WBS with the team and the client; - Use 3-point estimate; - Use Delphi Technique; - Use the historical data; - Apply reserves.
  31. 31. 31 - Create a WBS with the team and the client; - Use 3-point estimate; - Use Delphi Technique; - Use the historical data; - Apply reserves. Estimating will always be a Guessing Game. But it should be an Educated Guess.
  32. 32. 32 #4 – Lack of communication or miscommunication
  33. 33. 33
  34. 34. 34 Why does this happen so often?
  35. 35. 35 Why does this happen so often? Communication is a complex subject.
  36. 36. 36 The human being communicates: - 7% through words; - 38% with voice; - 55% with the body. Each one of us has 3 communication channels: - Auditive; - Visual; - Kinesthetic; And one of them is dominant…
  37. 37. 37 65% of the world population retains Visual information better than Auditive information.
  38. 38. 38 Any communication system has one transmitter, one receiver and a channel, through which the transmitter sends a message that should be perceived by the receiver.
  39. 39. 39 Any communication system has one transmitter, one receiver and a channel, through which the transmitter sends a message that should be perceived by the receiver. But there is noise.
  40. 40. 40 Noise can be caused by: - Nº of transmitters and receivers; - Usage of the wrong communication channel; - Environment where we are; - Attitude of the transmitter and the receiver; - Lack of communication skills; - Culture; - Level of expertise about the message contents.
  41. 41. 41 Noise can be caused by: - Nº of transmitters and receivers; - Usage of the wrong communication channel; - Environment where we are; - Attitude of the transmitter and the receiver; - Lack of communication skills; - Culture; - Level of expertise about the message contents. How can we improve the communication?
  42. 42. 42 Pay attention! Observe. Learn. Imitate. Act.
  43. 43. 43 #5 – Lack of risk management
  44. 44. 44 Not managing your risks is like walking with your eyes closed.
  45. 45. 45 And those that do not see…
  46. 46. 46 Common problems in risk management: - Ignore that risks exist; - Don’t consult all the stakeholders; - Unknowing the risk tolerances; - Not adding contingency and management reserves; - Not using the risk register frequently; - Ignore common sense; - Trust in luck.
  47. 47. 47 #6 – Resources are scarce, shared or stolen
  48. 48. 48 Sharing is difficult, especially when the resources are scarce and there are opposing interests. Matrix Organizations
  49. 49. 49 Most organizations in the world follow a matrix hierarchy, where resources deal daily with conflict of interests between project management and functional managers.
  50. 50. 50 Most organizations in the world follow a matrix hierarchy, where resources deal daily with conflict of interests between project management and functional managers. Depending on the matrix organization, we might have: - Resources that give priority to their department tasks instead of project tasks; - Project Managers negotiating for the best resources with functional managers or other project managers; - Masked costs; - Delays caused by low / shared availability; - Low morale in Projects.
  51. 51. 51 Deal for the best resources. Meet with the functional managers. Make your project their project too.
  52. 52. 52 #7 – Scope isn’t clear
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. 54 Frequently, the client doesn’t really know what he/she wants. What should we do?
  55. 55. 55 Frequently, the client doesn’t really know what he/she wants. What should we do? We should help the client define the requirements and guarantee that everyone has the same understanding on the scope. WBS, WBS Dictionary Traceability Matrices Focus Groups, Brainstorming, Interviews …
  56. 56. 56
  57. 57. 57 #8 – A poor business proposal
  58. 58. 58 Some of the common problems are: - Communication Gaps between business, project managers and technical team; - Wrong assumptions made from unclear bid documents; - Bad estimations without risk reserves; - Risks not identified and quantified; - Anxiety to sell at any cost; - Wrong type of contract; - Some ingenuity.
  59. 59. 59 Some of the common problems are: - Communication Gaps between business, project managers and technical team; - Wrong assumptions made from unclear bid documents; - Bad estimations without risk reserves; - Risks not identified and quantified; - Anxiety to sell at any cost; - Wrong type of contract; - Some ingenuity. BETTER
  60. 60. 60 When you have good bidding documents and the contract is well structured and documented… … in case of doubt, always read well the documents, your answer is usually there.
  61. 61. 61 Any business proposal should be seen as a project. The team is the commercial, project manager and technical resources. Don’t ignore the business proposal!
  62. 62. 62 #9 – The absent project manager
  63. 63. 63 If the project manager doesn’t follow up with the team and the project…
  64. 64. 64 Do you know the symptoms: “no time”, “not now”, “I’ll catch you up later”, “send me in an email”, “just speak with…”?
  65. 65. 65 Do you know the symptoms: “no time”, “not now”, “I’ll catch you up later”, “send me in an email”, “just speak with…”? A project manager needs to ensure availability to: - Follow the team; - Control the project; - Do regular meetings; - Collect status; - Manage expectations; - Update the plan; - Do forecasts; - Observe.
  66. 66. 66 A project without project manager is like a ship on high sea without its commander.
  67. 67. 67 And when there’s no commander…
  68. 68. 68 #10 – Lack of sponsor commitment
  69. 69. 69 Organizations run several projects, all the time, and not all of them have the same priority or attention from the Sponsor.
  70. 70. 70 Organizations run several projects, all the time, and not all of them have the same priority or attention from the Sponsor. Lack of attention from the sponsor leads to: - Delays on decisions; - Favoring other projects; - Lack of support to project management; - Lost of motivation.
  71. 71. 71 Keep the sponsor on your side. Keep him updated. Protect your project.
  72. 72. 72 #11 – Roles and Responsibilities are not clear
  73. 73. 73 Several roles exist on a project team. Being able to clearly define the roles and responsibilities on the project is a determinant factor on the project success.
  74. 74. 74 The lack of responsibilities definition causes: - Increase of conflicts; - Lack of commitment from the team actions; - Decrease of productivity;
  75. 75. 75 Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all persons associated to the project. RACI Matrices Stakeholder Register & Analysis
  76. 76. 76 #12 – Ignore the corporate culture
  77. 77. 77 Each organization has its own culture, according to its vision and mission.
  78. 78. 78 Ignoring the corporate culture can cause some problems, such us: - Resources alienation; - Resistance to change; - Impact on task execution; - Boycotting the project.
  79. 79. 79
  80. 80. 80 Identify the corporate culture and use it as benefict for your project. Experimentation & Piloting Lead by Example
  81. 81. 81 #13 – Dealing with complex work without decomposition
  82. 82. 82 Let’s build the starship Enterprise.
  83. 83. 83 How can I estimate a task of 50 months?
  84. 84. 84 How can I estimate a task of 50 months? How can I assess the work progress on a task with 1100 days duration?
  85. 85. 85 How can I estimate a task of 50 months? How can I assess the work progress on a task with 1100 days duration? I can’t. At least not in an efficient and realistic way.
  86. 86. 86 All complex work needs to be decomposed on smaller tasks, estimated and controllable. These decomposition should roll-out through the project execution. Decomposition & Progressively Elaborated
  87. 87. 87 #14 – “Quick Shot” decisions
  88. 88. 88 Taking “on-the-fly” or “quick shot” decisions without first assessing the impact of those actions or with little information, usually end up in: - Conflicts; - Additional delays and costs; - Stakeholders dissatisfaction.
  89. 89. 89 Always judge first the impact before get into action. Ask for more information. Run a simulation. Impact Analysis. Forecasting (Monte Carlo, EVM)
  90. 90. 90 #15 – Not managing expectations
  91. 91. 91 What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions nuns?
  92. 92. 92 Was this your expectation?
  93. 93. 93 Aligning the stakeholder's expectations with the project reality bring us some benefits: - No surprises; - Prevention instead of reaction; - Commitment; - Adjusted and Realistic Goals.
  94. 94. 94 Always do expectation’s management. Communication Plan Stakeholders Register
  95. 95. 95 #16 – Bureaucracy and useless meetings
  96. 96. 96 Do you know that: - Most company workers participate on 62 monthly meetings; - Half of those meetings are considered waste of time; - In average, in one month, they spend 31h in non productive meetings; * Based on a study made to hundreds of north-american companies.
  97. 97. 97 Do you know that: - Most company workers participate on 62 monthly meetings; - Half of those meetings are considered waste of time; - In average, in one month, they spend 31h in non productive meetings; - And, in average, the participants of those meetings: - 91% are day dreaming; - 96% skipped the meeting; - 39% slept during the meeting; - 45% are stunned with the quantity of meetings they have; - 73% worked on other tasks during the meeting; - 47% complained it was a pure waste of time. * Based on a study made to hundreds of north-american companies.
  98. 98. 98 Be Agile. Focus the team on what is really important for the project. Work Performance Information Tailoring
  99. 99. 99 #17 – Lack of documentation
  100. 100. 100
  101. 101. 101 How did you feel with the “non” explanation on the previous slide?
  102. 102. 102 How did you feel with the “non” explanation on the previous slide? The absence of documentation in the project usually translates into: - Requirements not documented or updated; - Lack of decision records; - No commitment from the team; - Lack of control on the triple constraint; - Additional delays and costs; - Lack of information for customer support; - Frustration.
  103. 103. 103 Use common sense but document your project. Project Charter Project Scope Statement Risk Register Stakeholders Register Project Meeting Minutes
  104. 104. 104 #18 – No recognition or reward system
  105. 105. 105 Every human being needs motivation.
  106. 106. 106 Every human being needs motivation. Without motivation the effective and efficient collaboration of a team member is an illusion.
  107. 107. 107 One way to increase motivation is the existence of a reward or recognition system, focusing each team member individually.
  108. 108. 108 One way to increase motivation is the existence of a reward or recognition system, focusing each team member individually. Simple systems could be: - Saying “Thank you”; - Give monetary prizes; - Recommend for raises; - Laud in public; - Celebrate milestones; - Give training on a certain technology.
  109. 109. 109 Work with your organization in the sense to reward your team. Human Resource Management Plan
  110. 110. 110 #19 – Intentional decrease of quality
  111. 111. 111 Quality – degree to which we fullfill the specified requirements
  112. 112. 112 Decreasing quality on the project deliverables usually translates into: - Customer dissatisfaction; - Increase on rework costs; - Delays on releases; - Team with low morale; - Added risks to the project.
  113. 113. 113 Define the acceptable quality. Collect metrics. Adjust. Quality Management Plan Inspection. Audits. Fishbone. Control Charts.
  114. 114. 114 #20 – Tendency to “Make” instead of “Buy”
  115. 115. 115 It’s Human! We like to reinvent the wheel.
  116. 116. 116 It’s Human! We like to reinvent the wheel. This tendency bring us consequences: - More effort to achieve the results; - Not reusing existing products; - Introducing new problems; - Added costs to the project.
  117. 117. 117 Do an analysis on what is important or strategic to the project. Keep the strategic parts in-house. Outsource the rest. Procurement Management Plan
  118. 118. 118 #21 – Making wrong assumptions
  119. 119. 119 It’s normal that 2 persons have different interpretations over the same artifact.
  120. 120. 120 It’s normal that 2 persons have different interpretations over the same artifact. However assuming only our interpretation without validation usually lead us to costly mistakes.
  121. 121. 121 Don’t assume! Read the business proposal. Talk to the stakeholders. Get requirements confirmation.
  122. 122. 122 #22 – “One size fits all”
  123. 123. 123 All projects are, by nature and definition, different. One methodology or technique that worked well on a certain project might not have application on a different one.
  124. 124. 124 Reuse techniques that had produced good results in the past, but be self-critic to recognize you might need to re-adjust. Continuous Improvement
  125. 125. 125 #23 – Plan by using resources with 100% availability
  126. 126. 126 Did you knew that, in average: - Each worker is interrupted 56 times along the day; - Work 3 minutes in one task and then change context to another one; - Spend 2h per day just to recover focus from distractions; - 80% of the interruptions are considered trivial and without necessity. * Based on a study made to hundreds of north-american companies.
  127. 127. 127 Did you knew that, in average: - Each worker is interrupted 56 times along the day; - Work 3 minutes in one task and then change context to another one; - Spend 2h per day just to recover focus from distractions; - 80% of the interruptions are considered trivial and without necessity. No resource works at 100%. Only 60% ou less from the working schedule is spent productively. * Based on a study made to hundreds of north-american companies.
  128. 128. 128 Plan for less than 100% available resources. It will be more realistic. Estimating Durations. Project Planning.
  129. 129. 129 #24 – Ignoring dependencies
  130. 130. 130 Projects are complex and have multiple dependencies between tasks, resources and other projects.
  131. 131. 131 Projects are complex and have multiple dependencies between tasks, resources and other projects. Not respecting these dependencies will cause additional costs and delays and could cause the whole project to be at risk.
  132. 132. 132 Discuss the dependencies with the project team. Ask for help and identify risks. Sequence Activities. Estimate Activity Resources.
  133. 133. 133 #25 - Micromanaging
  134. 134. 134 Some micromanagement is accepted by junior teams. But it will never be tolerated by more mature teams.
  135. 135. 135 Some micromanagement is accepted by junior teams. But it will never be tolerated by more mature teams.
  136. 136. 136 Delegate. Do Mentoring and Coaching. Develop Project Team.
  137. 137. 137 #26 – Ignoring the problems
  138. 138. 138 Hiding or ignoring the problems solves nothing, and can even increase the problem’s impact. The responsibility for the project outcome is always from the Project Manager.
  139. 139. 139 Face the problems. Don’t be scare. It’s an opportunity to improve. Problem Solving.
  140. 140. 140 #27 – Managing without a defined methodology or process
  141. 141. 141 Managing a project without a project management methodology is like conducting an orchestra without a stave or baton. Nothing will come out harmonious.
  142. 142. 142 Choose the methodology that best applies to the project in question and apply it! PMBoK SCRUM
  143. 143. 143 #28 – Not learning from mistakes
  144. 144. 144 Doing mistakes is only human. Important is to recognize it and try again.
  145. 145. 145 Doing mistakes is only human. Important is to recognize it and try again.
  146. 146. 146 Study project’s historical data. Do lesson learned sessions and distribute them. Lessons Learned. Historical Data.
  147. 147. 147 I also do mistakes and I will keep doing them in the future. This presentation is a portion of my lesson learned data base!
  148. 148. 148 #29 – 9 pregnant women conceive and give birth to a child in 1 month
  149. 149. 149 X 9 When project execution delays, some schedule compression techniques are applied. One of the project manager’s tendency is to inject as many resources as possible to try to recover the delay.
  150. 150. 150 X 9 When project execution delays, some schedule compression techniques are applied. One of the project manager’s tendency is to inject as many resources as possible to try to recover the delay. However, every time we inject more and more effort into a task, the more complex it gets to manage. Efficiency and productivity decrease.
  151. 151. 151 Pay attention to the impact of injecting too many resources in a task to recover delays. Don’t always pays-off. Law of Diminishing Returns. Crashing.
  152. 152. 152 #30 – I have a plan but I don’t follow it
  153. 153. 153 No plan is executed as it is originally described on the business proposal. The need for adjustments is constant. However not doing regular updates to the project plan will lead to project failure.
  154. 154. 154 Consequences from not using or updating the project plan: - Team discredit face to planning; - Difficulty doing forecasts; - Stakeholders frustration; - Probably there’s no other project documentation; - Project’s deviations are not calculated.
  155. 155. 155
  156. 156. 156 #31 – Being vulnerable to top management interference
  157. 157. 157
  158. 158. 158 What went wrong here?
  159. 159. 159 The refuge in the “comfort” of the top management’s decisions is an illusion and it’s temporary.
  160. 160. 160 The refuge in the “comfort” of the top management’s decisions is an illusion and it’s temporary. The decision must be questioned and assessed, as if it was any other stakeholder. The project manager should do: - Impact analysis; - Validate this impact with the top management; - Redefine project goals in case it’s a go for execution.
  161. 161. 161 The refuge in the “comfort” of the top management’s decisions is an illusion and it’s temporary. The decision must be questioned and assessed, as if it was any other stakeholder. The project manager should do: - Impact analysis; - Validate this impact with the top management; - Redefine project goals in case it’s a go for execution. The YES-MAN/WOMAN behavior does not lead to commitment, autonomy or even the personal development of the project manager and its team.
  162. 162. 162 Avoid YES-MAN/WOMAN behvior. Always assess impacts. Keep the top management up-to-date. Managing Stakeholders Expectations.
  163. 163. 163 #32 – Poor outsourcing control
  164. 164. 164 It’s frequent to perform outsourcing to execute a project. However not following up the work of these outsourcers will lead to project failure.
  165. 165. 165 Outsourcing is not synonymous of lack of responsibilities. Define rules and milestones for your partners, and then follow up. Monitoring & Control Processes.
  166. 166. 166 #33 – Reaction instead of prevention
  167. 167. 167 Bad planning associated with a weak risk identification are facts that lead project managers to spend most time reacting instead of preventing those issues.
  168. 168. 168 Bad planning associated with a weak risk identification are facts that lead project managers to spend most time reacting instead of preventing those issues. Do Risk Management! Avoiding most problems is a way to get more time to perform other tasks in the project.
  169. 169. 169 It’s always better to prevent. Expert Judgement. Risk Management Processes.
  170. 170. 170 #34 – Allowing team conflicts
  171. 171. 171 The perfect world with no conflicts and everyone is happy!
  172. 172. 172 Conflicts can rarely be avoided. They will naturally pop-up, as a result of the several interactions within the organization. However we should solve them as quickly as we can before they affect the whole project team. But the perfect world doesn’t existe…
  173. 173. 173 There are several factors that can contribute to the conflits appearance in projects: - Scheduling tasks; - Projects priorities; - Resources; - Technical opinions; - Administrative procedures; - Money; - Personality.
  174. 174. 174 Keep the team harmony. Quickly resolve any conflits. Conflict Management Techniques
  175. 175. 175 #35 – Courage to cancel a project
  176. 176. 176 When a project is headed into the abyss, we must assess the capacity and the necessity to keep it running for a bit longer. In extreme cases, we must have the courage to take the tough decision and cancel it.
  177. 177. 177 Be able to predict the future, recognize the mistakes, and take the hard decisions. Expert Judgment.
  178. 178. 178 19. Intentional decrease of quality 20. Tendency to “Make” instead of “Buy” 21. Making wrong assumptions 22. “One size fits all” 23. Plan by using resources with 100% availability 24. Ignoring dependencies 25. Micromanaging 26. Ignore the problems 27. Managing without a defined methodology or process 28. Not learning from mistakes 29. 9 pregnant women conceive and give birth to a child in 1 month 30. I have a plan but I don’t follow it 31. Being vulnerable to top management interference 32. Poor outsourcing control 33. Reaction instead of prevention 34. Allowing team conflicts 35. Courage to cancel a project 1. The choice of the project manager 2. Frequent and uncontrolled scope changes 3. Effort estimation errors 4. Lack of communication or miscommunication 5. Lack of risk management 6. Resources are scarce, shared or stolen 7. Scope isn’t clear 8. A poor business proposal 9. The absent project manager 10. Lack of Sponsor commitment 11. Roles and Responsibilities are not clear 12. Ignore the corporate culture 13. Dealing with complex work without decomposition 14. “Quick Shot” decisions 15. Not managing expectations 16. Bureaucracy and useless meetings 17. Lack of documentation 18. No recognition or reward system Summary * My top10.
  179. 179. 179 Before ending: daily business on projects http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDu5Wo8Yh1k
  180. 180. “Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.” – Joy Gumz, PMI Technology Advisory Member Thank you for your attention!

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