You’re going to hear a lot of good advice, get a lot of tools and methods thrown at you by our knowledgeable colleagues today. I’m going to start you off today with some ideas on how to make all of the things you’re going to learn about actually work. And the more I thought about how I was going to frame this, the more a single idea came into my head… TRIGGER WARNING FOR PEOPLE SENSITIVE TO SPIDERS The thought I kept having was “How do we do all of this while making sure we’re not Swallowing the spider??” What for I mean by that?
Let me introduce you to my friend, The Old Lady. She has a problem you may be familiar with
She has swallowed a fly. Perhaps you know this story? Do you all know the song? There are lots of different versions, but he one I grew up with went kind of like…There was an old lady who swallowed a fly… Sing it if you know it. …I don’t know why She swallowed a fly. I guess she’ll die.
So what does she do about this fly problem? TRIGGER WARNING
She swallows a spider. But now, what???She has a spider in her! “I know an old lady who swallowed a spider that wiggled and jiggled and giggled inside her. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly. IDK Y she swallowed a fly I GUESS SHE’LL DIE OK, so the fly is gone and she has solved that problem, but now she has an even bigger problem! So she swallows a bird to get rid of the spider And a cat to take care of the bird (Isn’t that absurd, she swallowed a bird) And then a dog…
And then it gets even weirder… She swallows a goal, then a cow, then a horse (I didn’t even know those ate other animals!) And her problem… that tiny fly… turns into an even bigger problem with each solution… UNTIL OH, no, she died!
So what does this have to do with libraries and Project Management? Well, having worked with many libraries over the years on using PM tools to solve their problems, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this same story play out: Something is broken! Let’s do Project Management! And then, if they’re not careful, the problems get bigger and bigger… and like the old lady, ultimately death
When libraries decide to look into PM, what are the problems they’re usually trying to solve?
In my experience (not an exhaustive list)
These are all excellent reasons to look into PM!
What PM, done mindfully, can do for your organization
You’re going to be introduced to a lot of awesome tools today that help get to these positive outcomes!
Many of the examples I’ll use here are from UR – some from public libraries I’ve consulted with
At the UofR River Campus Libraries, we wanted all of these benefits Beginning before I got there a year ago, became more project focused Lots of success has come from this, but a fair number of growing pains, as well Similar to ones I’ve seen with other organizations I’ve worked with
Common challenges Today I will talk in some detail about the first 3 – three really big, central problems that many orgs encounter And touch really briefly on the others – Important challenges that may be on your mind, but that either come later as you become more PM oriented, or that can be addressed in part by addressing the first 3
First and biggest pitfall Before you jump into something, make sure you know what it is
The things that PM is NOT Tools of the trade are not the trade itself
At UR – a challenge where sometimes staff confuse PM with filling out documents
Many methodologies for different projects/audiences/circumstances/oorganizations
A set of methodologies
Can you teach us PM in a 3 hour workshop? Complex, varied, an entire field of study You can’t learn pm in one sitting, or expect one of its tools to work in isolation
Also, many flavors of PM for different situations – applying the wrong one might not work (Agile is great for software dev, for ex. Waterfall for building projects. YMMV depending on your project)
Lots of resources to help you!!!
Another point to clear up What is a Project???
Project Work: Designing and creating the block, deciding how it will be used Operational Work: Using the block to print fabric
What does this look like in libraries? Projects can Result in Operations Project: Designing and Implementing a new service Operation: Performing and maintaining that service
RCL Building Tours Project: Defining the service, getting admin approval, writing scripts, creating scheduling procedures, creating documentation, training guides, etc. Operation: Regularly providing, scheduling, training, revising, evaluating once the program has been initiated
Acquisitions – largely operational, with projects Research – largely project-oriented, with operations
PM doesn’t need to be used in Operational work. IT CAN BE A DISASTER
methodologies, specialties, various components and aspects Define projects Don’t try to apply PM techniques to operational work
This learning and communication should be done at all levels of the organization or project efforts will be undermined
Big Issue #2 Once you start becoming more Project Oriented this will come up almost immediately
Who do I report to? Do I have five bosses? Who has authority?
WE DON’T HAVE TO INVENT ALL NEW WAYS TO DEAL WITH THIS – there aer frameworks developed by companies who have been through this themselves. We can adapt these.
Comparing organizational structures Functional Organization – What most of us are used to staff members are grouped by specialty (departments) Each department will do its project work independently of other departments. Functional manager manages the project budget. Functional manager communicates with other departments Project manager’s role is only part-time.
Advantages of functional organization Each employee has one clear superior. Clearly defined career paths for employees. Gets operational work done Disadvantages of functional organization A lot of the problems we identified slow pace Silos - hard to collaborate between depts. For a single strategic aim long communication channels as all communications have to be routed through the functional managers.
Projectized Structure – probably not great for most libraries (although maybe within departments?)
Most of the organization’s resources are involved in the project work. PMO - Project manager’s role is full-time. All they do is manage projects – teams drawn from everywhere Project managers have a great deal of independence and authority. Project manager manages the project budget
Advantages of project-oriented organization Extremely efficient for getting project work done Great for creating an iterative process (software development) More effective communication within a project/across project portfolio
Disadvantages of project-oriented organization Not great for supporting operational work Projects are always the priority
Matrix Structures - A blend of functional and project-oriented organizations.
Weak, Strong Balanced – depends on power, influence, and position of PM within the org
Advantages of matrix organizations Supports both operational and project work Improved authority to the project manager, compared to functional organization Increased efficiency in project outputs Disadvantages of matrix organizations “two bosses”
Strong matrix same chart as Projectized – but more of the work lives in the functional departments – not everything is project work (most is though) Strong matrix has full-time project managers with considerable authority. Project manager’s role is full-time. The project manager has more authority over the project than the functional manager. The functional manager is more concerned with making sure the team members’ professional development and organizational needs are met. Project manager manages the project budget.
Weak matrix very much like a functional organization. Functional manager manages the project budget. No real PM – Functional Manager manages project, controls budget Within the Project team, the role of the project manager is limited to a Project Coordinator (making some decisions) or Project Expediter (communication role only). Difficult to maintain multiple projects Avoids the “two bosses” but loses efficiency
Still centered on Functional Manager authority
Often the first step into PM for an organization
Balanced Matrix – What we are approaching at UR
No full-time PM BUT each project has a PM (not necessarily a FM) with more authority and control within the project Project decisions and budget responsibilities are shared between the functional manager and the project manager.
Many libraries – Weak balanced
The dilemma of “multiple bosses” Who do I take direction from? Within the scope of the project, authority has been given to the PM by your FM
PM has a responsibility to be in close communication with FMs
Sort this all out within your org – know it’s coming It’s a fundamental shift in power and authority structures and not comfortable for some
Defining authority of PM at he outset of each project – who makes decisions on particular aspects of the project (schedule, budget, scope, etc)
Everyone in the org needs to know what authority PMs have in general, and within a specific project
If you give PMs authority, they need to be able to wield it
Communication is more complex than we think – especially when working within organizations
MATH Possible communication paths get complex really quick as you add people to the mix
45 opportunities, 45 risks
Don’t even ask what this looks like for an organization of 200 people (not even counting all stakeholders!)
BUT People are smart. We don’t actually do it this way
Functional Orgs Broken down into departments where Dept. Head communicates across departments Can create silos!! Can slow down work (long communication paths) But is effective in keeping communication manageable
Now what happens if we look at a matrix organization – like many libraries become when they wade into project management?
The existing structure stays – for some things
But then we add projects. (Believe me I’m oversimplifying this – which should scare you a little)
Taking team mebres form departments and recombining them for project work breaks down silos and speeds up progress on strategic goals! It also means there are whole new levels of communication going on. And if you think that they’re only talking about the project stuff…
Also keep in mind these folks may be working on multiple projects, and the projects themselves are constantly changing!
It’s much more complicated to manage --- although more omcmunication is going on!
Free communication can be a great thing, but there are times it can cause confusion and times when you may want to control the message GOOD- SA where dept heads hated each other, and things improved a lot when their team members started opening lines of communication through projects BAD – When trying to coordinate efforts across departments – Training on a new system and keeping everyone at he same pace
To keep this all under control
Plan for this. It will happen. Encourage the good parts (breaking down silos) and plan for the challenges (controlling message when necessary)
As libraries become more and more project oriented, they can run into issues with managing resources across departments
Only when you’re up to the point of doing a lot of project work UR is starting to feel this, and there have been a number of discussions starting as we look for ways to account for this before while it’s still mangaeble
Worker in your department = mostly operational work Very intelligent, talented person with lots to offer strategic projects You need 90% of her time for her operational work – 10% for projects
Projects come along and eat away at her time Maybe not all at once Maybe not all that much But you (and she!) may not even realize she’s being reallocated She (and you!) may even feel enthusiastic about it!
Pretty soon she’s over-allocated. Operational work goes down. Project work can suffer.
When you start to see this issue on the horizon, think seriously about
How do you manage your project management??
Project Management makes work very efficient Efficiency means faster change
Which way are we going NOW???
Change coming from many different areas, not just from the top
Communication and direction coming from all sides
How do we keep up as individuals, as an organization?
Communication – about projects, also about how projects work in the organization
Keep things transparent so people don’t feel caught up in a whirlwind without knowing where they’re going or why
Only mention briefly – have heard this from some (mainly early career) library workers who want to make sure they’ve got a clear way to develop their careers
Climbing the ladder isn’t easy because the ladder isn’t straight any more
What if the work I’m doing isn’t “in my area”? What if I’m not developing my skills in a way that lends itself to upward career progress?
Project work isn’t “Extra” or “Bonus” – it’s a real part of an individual’s contribution to their org
Opportunities to grow leaders
Help people document & communicate their accomplishments
So to remember our friend the old lady and her little fly problem.
When she had a problem, she jumped to the first solution she thought of, without carefully considering the consequences
We’re not going to do that when bringing PM into our libraries
We need to be mindful in implementing PM solutions Practice some risk management – anticipate some of the problems our solutions might cause
Remember PM is a Discipline – with many resources already out there to draw from
Main Goal – Reach strategic Aims
Communicating the process of implementing PM
Take it slow - quote
PM is not an easy fix. It ahs many benefits, tools that can help advance your organization towards its strategic aims
But take it slow and make sure you’re not swallowing a spider.
Slides available on Slideshare
Operationalizing Project Management - UNYSLA2019
Emily Clasper MLIS, PMP
University of Rochester
Photo by Wynand Uys on Unsplash Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash
Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash Photo by James Barker on Unsplash
Photo by Peter Lloyd on Unsplash
Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash
Photo by Amanda Kerr on Unsplash
Photo by David Dibert on Unsplash
6Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
LET’S DO PROJECT
What problems are we
trying to solve?
Photo by Sian Cooper on Unsplash
◈ Need to Focus on Strategic Goals
◈ Work is Not Done Efficiently
◈ Resources are Scarce!
◈ Slow Pace of Change
◈ No Pathway to Cross-Functional Work
PROJECT MANAGEMENT BENEFITS
◈ Focused on Strategic Goals
◈ Clear Objectives
◈ Efficient Use of Resources
◈ Faster Progress
◈ Risk Management
◈ Communication Tools 9
Photo by Ryan Hyde on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0
CHALLENGES TO ADDRESS
◈ Misunderstanding Project Management
◈ Confusion with Reporting & Authority
◈ Communication Complexity
◈ Cross-Departmental Resource Management
◈ Change Management
◈ Career Development 11
Photo by Wynand Uys on Unsplash
WHAT IS PROJECT MANAGEMENT?
◈ A tool
◈ A set of documents
◈ A task list
◈ A Gantt Chart
◈ A single method
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
WHAT IS PROJECT MANAGEMENT?
Project Management is a discipline
Defining and reaching specific goals while
staying within constraints of Time, Resources,
• Goal Driven
PROJECT WORK VS. OPERATIONAL WORK
• Repetitive Output
Managing and Performing these types of work
requires different expertise & techniques
TOWARDS A BETTER UNDERSANDING OF PM
◈ Learn about the scope of the
◈ Think carefully about what qualifies
as a project in your organization
◈ Communicate the distinction between
project and operational work
Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash
MINDFULNESS IN IMPLEMENTING PM SOLUTIONS
◈ Practice Risk Management
◈ Project Management as a Discipline
◈ Focus on Organizational Strategic Aims
◈ Communicate the process
◈ Take it slow
“We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change
that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in
life work this way. Instead, success requires making a
hundred small steps go right - one after the other, no
slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.
― Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance