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Bricolage and Improvisation within Contemporary Project Management - Boston University | FuturePMO 2019

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Bricolage and Improvisation within Contemporary Project Management - Boston University | FuturePMO 2019

  1. 1. #FuturePMO Bricolage and Improvisation within Contemporary Project Management Dr. Steve Leybourne Ph.D Boston University 17th October 2019
  2. 2. #FuturePMO Who am I ??? Dr. Steve Leybourne Ph.D BOSTON UNIVERSITY Full-time Faculty E-mail: sleyb@bu.edu www.people.bu.edu/sleyb 2 I lecture in, research, and write about PM, Innovation and Change, and have researched improvisation and bricolage extensively for the last 20 years. Before I became an academic I was a practicing Project Manager in the UK Financial Services sector.
  3. 3. #FuturePMO Bricolage and Improvisation… (which is my ‘specialist subject’) But first… Today I want to talk about… 3
  4. 4. #FuturePMO The ‘expansion’ of the project domain… PMI estimates a need for an additional 2.2 million project managers ‘per year’ between now and 2027… 2017 Talent Gap report PMI also suggests that over 30% of global GDP is generated within projects… 4
  5. 5. #FuturePMO by 2025, senior leaders and managers will spend at least 60% of their time selecting, prioritizing, and driving the execution of projects… Prediction by ‘Thinkers50’ expert Antonio Nieto-Rodriquez 5
  6. 6. #FuturePMO So - Let me pose a Question… If PM is about ‘execution’ or delivery, and we use PM to deliver strategic change, should we be talking about Strategy Execution instead of PM delivery ? We are ‘delivering’ Strategic Change, but PM is the delivery mode. (Ray Levitt – Stanford U.) And if this is true, then the PMO is responsible for delivering the strategy of the organization… 6
  7. 7. #FuturePMO That makes you all very important within your organizations !!! 7
  8. 8. #FuturePMO The ‘Traditional’ View of PM… Plan… Then Execute the contents of that Plan with the minimum of Deviation !!! This is also how many people in senior positions within organizations think PM works !!! 8
  9. 9. #FuturePMO BUT… 9 Is this what really happens ???
  10. 10. #FuturePMO What about Bricolage and Improvisation Improvisation is everywhere… The best you can do is to ‘control’ it… If you try to stop PM’s from improvising, you will just drive improvisation ‘underground’ – where it can’t be controlled… Bricolage is about ‘Resources’ – specifically the resources available to improvise with… Bricolage is just one component of Improvisation… 10
  11. 11. #FuturePMO So… 11
  12. 12. #FuturePMO 1) The components of Organizational Improvisation ? 2) How much improvised work goes on in the projects that you are managing or controlling ? 3) What Bricolage is and how it fits into the Organizational Improvisation – and indeed the ‘Project’ - scenario ? How many of you have a reasonable understanding of: 12
  13. 13. #FuturePMO Let’s try to answer some of these questions… 13
  14. 14. #FuturePMO Practically… Getting stuff done in a way that does not necessarily align with the original plan… Doing what is necessary to ‘move forward’ when the plan has been ‘superseded’… Academically… There is ‘theory’ that supports a shift towards improvisational work in areas where the original plan does not anticipate emerging requirements or issues… So… What is Improvisation ? 14
  15. 15. #FuturePMO Let’s talk ‘academically’… INITIAL THREE CONSTRUCTS •Creativity – new ideas about how to achieve things •Intuition – about what is possible within the structure and resources and capability of the organisation •Bricolage – making the best of whatever resources you have to hand • These constructs come from work by Moorman & Miner (1998a & 1998b) • They define Improvisation as: “the degree to which composition and execution converge in time.” M&M(1998b: 698) 15 15
  16. 16. #FuturePMO Miner et al. added more constructs of Org Improv... Moorman & Miner (1998a & 1998b) talked in terms of: • Creativity • Intuition • Bricolage Miner et al. (2001) added: • Adaptation of existing routines, etc • Compression (of time) by simplifying and shortening steps • Innovation as in deviation from existing practices and knowledge • leading to Learning 16
  17. 17. #FuturePMO Which looks like… Creativity Intuition Bricolage Adaptation Compression Innovation LEARNING INPUTS PROCESS OUTPUT 17
  18. 18. #FuturePMO Problems with Improvisation... • Managing Risk (the rigour of risk assessment -v- Improvisational practices) • Audit and Compliance (how do you measure and audit ‘improvised’ activity?) • Setting a Framework (how do you decide where the boundaries are?) • Capture and sharing of ‘Emerging Best Practice’’ (in an arena of constant temporal pressure) These issues need to be resolved by organizations… 18 And probably By PMO’s 18
  19. 19. #FuturePMO Back to Bricolage… • We are talking about ‘Resources’ here… • Human Resources • Financial Resources • Physical Resources When we need to move fast to resolve emerging issues, there is no time to organize additional resources… And this has issues for Programs and Portfolios of Projects too… 19 Limited… ‘Finite’…
  20. 20. #FuturePMO This doesn’t seem like ‘normal’ PM !!! So maybe now is the time to talk about the evolution of Project Management – and how that impinges on Organizations… And on Project Managers… And on PMO’s… 20
  21. 21. #FuturePMO PM 1.0 Focus on ‘PROCESS’ Following the Plan Tools & Techniques Gantt Chart WBS ‘following an agreed plan with the minimum of deviation’ PM 2.0 Focus on ‘BEHAVIOUR’ Team based – Socially Constructed Motivation Commitment Building Trust ‘Getting people to DELIVER the project’ ‘emerging’ PM 3.0 Focus on ‘AMBIGUITY’ Shift away from ‘structure’ Emerging Requirements Uncertainty Complexity ‘Deciding what Project to DELIVER as we move forward’ 21
  22. 22. #FuturePMO PM 3.0 – ‘Dancing’ on the edge of Complexity We now see projects as increasingly… • Dynamic • Ambiguous • Non-Linear • Complex • Emergent 22 I see this as particularly important…
  23. 23. #FuturePMO So… • Projects are becoming more ambiguous, especially in terms of what is to be delivered… • Change in organizations is accelerating, and what we are moving towards is becoming more uncertain… • Scenario Management • Projects, and Programs of Projects, are becoming more complex… So… • As we move towards PM 3.0, experienced PM’s are becoming adept ‘Bricoleurs’… 23
  24. 24. #FuturePMO And… If a major part of the role of the PMO is to allocate resources… Then… Managers of PMO’s are right in the middle of this… 24
  25. 25. #FuturePMO How is the Organization ‘Changing’ to deal with this new reality… So… 25
  26. 26. #FuturePMO Traditional ‘Silo- based’ Organization 26
  27. 27. #FuturePMO Overlapping roles in the Organization 27
  28. 28. #FuturePMO Multi-skilled PMs are well suited to this 28
  29. 29. #FuturePMO So… • Are Project Managers best equipped to deal with this ??? • They are: • Multi-skilled • Not ‘Silo-based’ • Change-oriented • Able to see the ‘big picture’ • Have experience ‘across the organization 29
  30. 30. #FuturePMO Or Maybe… So… Are we talking about… the Project Manager as… 30
  31. 31. #FuturePMO And if we are… What does that make the manager of the PMO ??? 31
  32. 32. #FuturePMO

Editor's Notes

  • Well…

    First up !!! Setting the scene and the tone for the day !!!
  • I have been in academia since 1998 – teaching since 2002

    But I have ‘been there’ – and that is what started me off down the road towards improvisation – I knew that PM’s improvised constantly… But no one was talking about it, and it wasn’t in any PM textbooks…

    And as we will see – Bricolage is a major component of this…
  • I have published academic papers on this – BUT… most practitioners don’t – or don’t want to – read 40 pages of academic ‘drudgery’ to get to the 2-3 important points that may help them in their role…

    So – I also try to come out to talk to practitioners… and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to do this…
  • Now this stuff comes from PMI in the US, but the UK APM broadly agrees with these figures…

    And of course it suits the PM professional institutes to ‘trumpet’ expansion in their chosen domain…

    So - We always have to keep tuned in to potential ‘bias’ !!!
  • And PMO’s will take an increasingly important ‘guiding’ role…
  • Modern organizations have to innovate, and how we do that ‘strategically’ is important…

    And of course how we develop strategy has changed – progressive organizations are shifting from the ‘top down’ model towards ‘Scenario Planning’…

    Multiple scenarios… Underpinned by projects to deliver those scenarios…
  • Because YOU are a major component in moving things forward…

    And prioritizing…

    And allocating resources to make things happen…
  • When I started as a project manager… this was what I was told…

    BUT !!!

  • Obviously – I ‘don’t’ think that this is what happens…

    We have moved away from ‘top-down’ planning, and the execution of those plans ‘with the minimum of deviation’…

    We now have to deal with environmental turbulence, extreme global competition, emerging requirements… etc…

    Leading to… Uncertainty and Ambiguity…
  • So – how do we deal with the way that projects are changing, and the way that we have to consider HOW to deliver what organizations NEED from their projects…

    We need to trust PMs to do the right things… The right way… and allow them to deviate from the plan when it is not delivering the right outcomes…

    And that means Bricolage and Improvisation…
  • Actually – I have a number of questions !!!
  • Before we get on to Bricolage…

    We need to understand a bit more about
    Organizational Improvisation…
  • This all looks very positive… But…

    And of course PMs have to gain experience with this type of ‘off plan’ activity, and …

    You need to TRUST them to improvise effectively when it is required…
  • And Bricolage is a significant part of this – because when you need to improvise it needs to be done immediately…

    So you don’t have time to marshall additional resources…

    You have to use what you have to hand…
    Or borrow from somewhere else…
  • So – if we assume that the ‘plan – then execute’ model is no longer valid…

    What does PM look like these days…

    My view…
  • PM 1.0 is the ‘traditional’ view – and the one that people who are not experienced in projects ‘believe’…

    PM 2.0 is the transition that I have lived through in my research – PM being about ‘people’ – not process…

    PM 3.0 is the emerging model of projects for the future. It embraces turbulence, change, innovation, etc…
  • I picked this up from a conference that I attended recently – I like the idea of ‘Dancing’, and it fits the way I see projects and the intersection between PM and modern, flexible organizations…

    It recognizes the non-linear and uncertain environment of constant change that PM operates within… and tries to deliver within…
  • Because they have to improvise – without the comfort of ‘re-planning’ – and use the resources at hand to move forward…
  • Historic business models are just not flexible enough any more…

    We need something different…
  • This is what many organizations still look like…

    Departments doing ‘specific’ work, and employing people with specific skills…

    There is a lack of flexibility in this model of the organization…
  • We are ‘starting’ to move towards a level of flexibility with some ‘modest’ overlap between departments…

    This ‘should’ speed up decision-making, and allow for the development of new skills, and ‘multi-skilling’…

    But – what we are moving towards is…
  • Overlapping roles…

    Virtual working…

    Self-managing units with autonomy…
  • So… This is something that multi-skilled PMs are familiar with – and equipped to function within…
  • The future for Project Managers, and project-oriented roles, has to be good…

    More PMs… Taking more responsibility…

    More engagement with the deliver of ‘Strategy’

    So the PMO is key to the future of organizations…

    And PMO managers are increasingly important to the business…
  • Thank you…

    Questions…

    I will be here all day, and am happy to talk about this stuff…
  • ×