4 PM Anti-Patterns

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4 patterns in project management that can have bitter consequences. I share a bit of my experience with tricks I use to see trouble coming, commonly referred to as anti-patterns. Nothing revolutionary but definitely not the same list you'll find on wikipedia.

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4 PM Anti-Patterns

  1. 1. PM Anti-Patterns @bertheymans - Barcamp VRT Jan 21, 2012
  2. 2. experience is something you don't get until just after you need it - Steven Wright (stand-up comedian) disclaimer: experience actually comes from doing things that are a bit harder than the other things you already did in your life
  3. 3. memories; they're the only things you have to think back on... - Reddit user Phlux
  4. 4. those who can not remember the past are doomed to repeat it - Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
  5. 5. people suck at learning from past mistakes but we don't have to
  6. 6. @bertheymans 8 years of online and mobile projects, writes down stuff I hope I can help you recognise a few anti-patterns
  7. 7. The Anti-Patterns 1. Fighting Visual Priority 2. Black Hole Planning 3. Is That a Triangle In Your Pants? (or are you just happy to see the budget) 4. Delegation without Authority
  8. 8. Project Management Anti-Pattern #1 Fighting Visual Priority
  9. 9. The Stroop effect
  10. 10. Out of scope: - Facebook integration, any kind - Video, any kind - Search functionality
  11. 11. ● don't put visuals in contracts ● be there to explain a graphic in words ● be complete with diagrams, don't leave essentials out ● brief designers on functional requirements and do a functional internal review before presenting to the client Preventing PM Anti-Pattern #1 Fighting Visual Priority
  12. 12. Associated Popular Anti-patterns ● Throw it over the Wall passing on responsibility between groups as a result of too little communication ● Smoke and Mirrors pretending something already exists ● Mushroom Management intentionally keeping people in the dark
  13. 13. Project Management Anti-Pattern #2 Black Hole Planning
  14. 14. ignoring project fade-out in planning (let’s crunch that planning as if it was Christmas and ignore maintenance or bug solving time entirely)
  15. 15. especially look out for this anti-pattern in a shared resource environment where projects compete for resources
  16. 16. I like agile!
  17. 17. but some projects only get this kind of resource planning authorized ...
  18. 18. What could possibly ever happen after the deadline, nothing right?!
  19. 19. in web consultancy projects this happens all.the.time possible causes: ● low budget doesn't allow for iterations ● agile is not part of the culture ● bottleneck skills in production team don't allow for people to stay with a project ● a maintenance or operations group is expected to help out after delivery
  20. 20. ● distribute a bit of your budget for small fixes after the deadline in your planning request Preventing PM Anti-Pattern #2 Black Hole Planning etc. etc.
  21. 21. ● agree on a tolerance with the client for work that has not yet been defined ● defend additional resource time early on (don't add or switch people if you don't have to) ● if you have the budget for it, don't plan for waterfall, define an approach with iterations Preventing PM Anti-Pattern #2 Black Hole Planning
  22. 22. Associated Popular Anti-Patterns ● Waterfall model: organizational model that ignores change ● Molar hazard: insulating the decision-maker from the consequences of his or her decision ● Silos or Stovepipe: structure preventing cross organisation communication
  23. 23. Project Management Anti-Pattern #3 Is That a Triangle in Your Pants?
  24. 24. I was going to call this anti-pattern Quality Cover-up but it sounded too boring
  25. 25. expecting or pretending budget can be a substitute of required time for delivering quality
  26. 26. The Triple Constraints
  27. 27. The "Pick Any Two" Diagram fast and good, but expensive makes sense right?
  28. 28. the triple constraint model can not be applied in a situation where quality comes from invested time PMI took it out of the PMBOK for a reason
  29. 29. if 1 Time == 1 Quality we'll end up with this ... ... low quality despite of a high budget
  30. 30. just crunching a schedule is not a model
  31. 31. ● respect estimations ● balance risk and resources together with cost and quality ● defend time by illustrating risk and the impact on resources Preventing PM Anti-Pattern #3 ITATIYP aka Quality Cover-up
  32. 32. Associated Popular Anti-Patterns ● adding people to a late project only makes it later ● Death march everybody knows the result is going to be bad except the sponsor
  33. 33. Project Management Anti-Pattern #4 Delegation without Authority
  34. 34. expecting people to implicitly have the same authority as you have
  35. 35. I thought I wasn't allowed to call the client
  36. 36. I don't have that contact information
  37. 37. Actually I didn't see those files just until now, I don't have permission to see them on my machine
  38. 38. sometimes you may need to go through all the red tape, don't underestimate this
  39. 39. ● think about what authorization is required for a job and explain to the one you're giving the work to ● don't be(come) the bottleneck (don't tell people they're allowed to do something, but always see you beforehand or report all actions) Preventing PM Anti-Pattern #4 Delegation without Authority
  40. 40. @bertheymans JourneymanPM.com Heymans.org

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