Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

(Why) Is A Project An Aircrash Sean Coughlan

248 views

Published on

Sean Coughlan\'s presentation from \'Achieving Excellence\' Event 3-5th October 2011

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

(Why) Is A Project An Aircrash Sean Coughlan

  1. 1. (Why) Is a project an aircrash waiting to be investigated? Sean CoughlanDH Gateway Programme Director, East of England bos consulting ltd
  2. 2. bos consulting ltd
  3. 3. Lituanica was an Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker airplane flownfrom Chicago by Lithuanian pilots Stepona Darius and StasysGirenas in 1933. After successfully flying 6,411 km, it crashed, due to undetermined circumstances, 650 km from its destination, Kaunus, Lithuania bos consulting ltd
  4. 4. Flying• An aircrash is something to be avoided• Preventative maintenance is routine to reduce the probability of an aircrash• Preventative maintenance is mandatory• Pilots and groundcrew are sensitive to variations from the norm in flight or inspection• After maintenance or repair, the technician sits in on the proving flight• If there is a crash, there is a full investigation lessons are learnt bos consulting ltd
  5. 5. Project Delivery• A project failure is something to be avoided• Corrective proaction to reduce the probability of a delivery failure is not routine• Corrective proaction is not mandatory• PMs and project teams are often insensitive to variations from the norm in delivery• PMs and project teams are rarely held personally accountable for failures• If there is a failure of delivery, there is rarely any investigation of note and lessons are forgotten bos consulting ltd
  6. 6. Everyone is a Project Manager• When I “teach” Project Management, I find there is an expectation that I will reveal secrets of the da Vinci code. But everyone is a Project Manager, instinctively. The problem arises when people forget this simple truth, or when they think that this truth is sufficient. Meno proffers a paradox, "And how will you inquire into a thing when you are wholly ignorant of what it is? Even if you happen to bump into it, how will you know it is the thing you didnt know?” Socrates responds to this paradox with a story according to which souls have learned everything prior to inhabiting human body. (Plato: The Meno) bos consulting ltd
  7. 7. The Elements• Understanding the objective• Sequencing• Estimating• Probabilistic assessments• Consequential actions• Awareness of stakeholder importance.....so how do you get to work? bos consulting ltd
  8. 8. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie(..and the Mungo variation:All Project Managers lie all the time) bos consulting ltd
  9. 9. A Simple Modelbos consulting ltd
  10. 10. Another Simple Model Test & Reqts Design Build Accept Controlbos consulting ltd
  11. 11. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long bos consulting ltd
  12. 12. Common Causes of FailureAll together now......1. Lack of clear links between project and organisation’s priorities and success criteria2. Lack of clear leadership/ownership3. Lack of clear stakeholder engagement4. Lack of skills and proven approach to PM & RAM5. Failure to break job into manageable steps6. Driven by price rather than long-term VfM*7. Lack of understanding of and contact with senior supplier(s)8. Lack of effective project team integration Who takes these seriously, and takes steps to mitigate them? bos consulting ltd
  13. 13. Why bother? • Think SMART• Causes lie in failures of: rather think: • Specification S • Ownership • Participation T • Skills U • Planning • Costing P • Supplier management • Delivery integration I • Team management D bos consulting ltd
  14. 14. Why bother?• Common causes of failure in projects of reasonable size and complexity also are of reasonable size and complexityCauses lie in failures of: Think SMART, rather •Specification think STUPID •Ownership Specific •Participation Time-bound / Timely •Skills •Planning Understandable •Costing Planned •Supplier management Innovation / Imagination •Delivery integration Deliverable bos consulting ltd
  15. 15. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow bos consulting ltd
  16. 16. The Sad Story of Project RiskRisk is the centre of gravity for the Project The single greatest lack of control arises from a failure to consider and deal with riskbos consulting ltd
  17. 17. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow4. Do not confuse cause and consequence bos consulting ltd
  18. 18. S/he should have gone to Specsavers!The sins of deliberate blindness• Available information is ignored• Executives are surrounded by people desperate to please - the lure and rewards of conformity grow• The focus is on money, not ethical considerations• No accurate way of measuring systemic risk• When managers say they want to hear bad news, most do not believe them (nor do the managers themselves?) bos consulting ltd
  19. 19. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow4. Do not confuse cause and consequence5. If something can go wrong, it probably already has. And the corollary: If everything is going well, you have obviously overlooked something bos consulting ltd
  20. 20. Root Causes The Common Causes of Failure are not just eightfold. In looking for weaknesses in projects, just consider the plans.• A dominant cause of failure in organisations carrying out multiple projects with shared resources is the unavoidable conflict about when (and what) to begin ...... cf ADD• A dominant cause of failure in the execution of projects is a planning process based on (several) erroneous assumptions: – Placing protection time (contingency) in every task will lead to optimised project performance – Planning tools will properly address resource dependencies, and account for task iteration variability and the effects of integration pathways.A test you can try at home: Take an activity in a project plan, extend its duration by, say a year. See what happens to the end date. bos consulting ltd
  21. 21. Back to the model• Planning starts with:  Complete clarity of the intended outcome / objective  Knowledge of the acceptance criteria  Understanding of how the deliverable is to be assessed• Planning is corrupted by:  Ambiguity  Imprecision  Selfishness  Change without control bos consulting ltd
  22. 22. Controlling - Governance• Principles# – Roles, responsibilities and performance criteria for the governance of project management are clearly defined – All projects have an approved plan with authorisation points at which the business case is reviewed and approved – The board decides when the independent scrutiny of projects and project management systems is required, and implements such scrutiny accordingly – There are clearly defined criteria for reporting project status and for the escalation of risks and issues to the levels required# Source APM, 4 of the 11 principles extracted bos consulting ltd
  23. 23. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow4. Do not confuse cause and consequence5. If something can go wrong, it probably already has. And the corollary: If everything is going well, you have obviously overlooked something6. People loathe reporting as it so manifestly shows their lack of progress bos consulting ltd
  24. 24. Tools and Toolkits• “Have you chosen an Project Manager?”...“Yes. We are lucky: s/he has just finished a PRINCE2 course.”• “I use Excel to plan my project”• “The critical path shows me the most important tasks.”• “You cannot get rid of the consultants: we would lose all their knowledge.”• “the Project Board is usually attended by 18 to 20 stakeholders.”• Issue#3: 20% of GEH activity is from Blankshire & Talltown• MSP, IAS, OBC, IAAP, PQT, JSI, SOC, PID, SOR, GMPP, PAR, APM bos consulting ltd
  25. 25. Review/Turn-around• Hypotheses and Expectations• Guidance and proformae• Experience Anticipation Realisation• Dispassion Preparation• Integrity Frustration or• Recommendation Evidence Acclamation• Conclusions• Recommendations bos consulting ltd With apologies to “Five Boys” chocolate
  26. 26. Reactions• Range from enthusiastic gratitude through indifference to sullen disappointment and outright anger.• Is the following scenario possible? – PM to SRO: “Everything is in hand, we are on course” – Reviewer: “You have the a number of problems” – PM to SRO: “Inadequate review, it did not see the truth!” – SRO thinks: “I cannot admit Reviewer is right as I chose PM and believed what I was told. I must not look foolish” – SRO to Reviewer: “I am not happy with your findings.” – Conclusion: Nothing is done. bos consulting ltd
  27. 27. Axioms1. All Project Managers lie2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow4. Do not confuse cause and consequence5. If something can go wrong, it probably already has. And the corollary: If everything is going well, you have obviously overlooked something6. People loathe reporting as it so manifestly shows their lack of progress7. For an individual, the prime directive is self-survival bos consulting ltd
  28. 28. Preventing the Aircrash• A sensible SRO (or similar) to seek a review• Selection of experienced deliverer• A short-sharp review Preparation Anticipation Realisation Frustration or Recommendation Acclamation• Strong, evidenced case for change• Acceptance/delivery criteria• A confident, believable delivery proposal• Managing /revising the delivery team bos consulting ltd
  29. 29. So why is a project like an aircrash waiting to be investigated.?• The possibility of an aircrash is enough for mitigating action to be triggered as the consequence could be severe• Project failures provoke comment and cries of shock-horror. But what then? Usually nothing of even less.• So the answer is: It is not like an aircrash...... bos consulting ltd
  30. 30. Axioms1. All PMs lie (all the time)2. A badly planned project takes three times as long as it is calculated; a well planned project takes twice as long3. Do not try to pick your nose with your elbow4. Do not confuse cause with consequence5. If something can go wrong, it probably already has. And the corollary: If everything is going well, you have obviously overlooked something6. People loathe reporting as it so manifestly shows their lack of progress7. For an individual, the prime directive is self-survival8. We drive into the future using only our rear-view mirror bos consulting ltd
  31. 31. bos consulting ltd

×