One Size Does Not Fit All ...And That’s a Good ThingBruce A Stewart • 30 April 2013Bruce A Stewart1
If the situation is different, should the project be the same?2
• Project planning, especially inthe “idea to plan” phase,depends on some stabilities.• Many projects, however, involvevar...
Looking at Reality4
Much more of the available project space requires different methodsthan is first apparent!5
6
Simple• Environments are always “inmotion” even in apparentlysimple order.• When simple order breaksdown, it’s like fallin...
Complicated• Interdepartmental conflict oftenthrows apparently simpledomain projects into thecomplicated domain.• Seek “goo...
Complex• Goal is multiple safe-to-failexperiments. Even failuresadvance the overall project.• Must be managed at a higherl...
How best to proceed depends on where you are10
Steering mechanisms should differ depending on what domain is inplay. Permanent mechanisms should reflect the size of the m...
People, Organizations, Demands12
Putting it All Together• Plans are only as trustworthy as their match to reality. Set expectationsaccordingly.• Project ma...
Contact Bruce Stewartbruce.stewart@bastewart.comwww.linkedin.com/in/bastewart@brucestewart+1 (416) 347-7809personalduedili...
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One size does not fit all

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Chaos in project management

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One size does not fit all

  1. 1. One Size Does Not Fit All ...And That’s a Good ThingBruce A Stewart • 30 April 2013Bruce A Stewart1
  2. 2. If the situation is different, should the project be the same?2
  3. 3. • Project planning, especially inthe “idea to plan” phase,depends on some stabilities.• Many projects, however, involvevariant “truth” or don’t comewith repeatable conditions / usecases / situations.• Project management is aboutflexing practices to achieveoutcomes.Which domain?3
  4. 4. Looking at Reality4
  5. 5. Much more of the available project space requires different methodsthan is first apparent!5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. Simple• Environments are always “inmotion” even in apparentlysimple order.• When simple order breaksdown, it’s like falling off a cliffinto chaos.• Others expect projectmanagers to work using simpleorder even when they don’t.7
  8. 8. Complicated• Interdepartmental conflict oftenthrows apparently simpledomain projects into thecomplicated domain.• Seek “good enough”outcomes: if the outcome mustremain complicated it can’t berigid.• Go to the complex domain totest alternatives.8
  9. 9. Complex• Goal is multiple safe-to-failexperiments. Even failuresadvance the overall project.• Must be managed at a higherlevel than the activities. This isagility as opposed to AGILE.• Complex domain requires“blessing of order” beforestabilizing into the simple.9
  10. 10. How best to proceed depends on where you are10
  11. 11. Steering mechanisms should differ depending on what domain is inplay. Permanent mechanisms should reflect the size of the mix.SponsorSteeringCommitteeGovernanceBoardSponsor11
  12. 12. People, Organizations, Demands12
  13. 13. Putting it All Together• Plans are only as trustworthy as their match to reality. Set expectationsaccordingly.• Project management appears to be a function of simple order, but it’s not. It’sa function of the complex domain (i.e. inherently less ordered).• Getting the right steering mechanism is crucial especially on large-scaleendeavours.• What matters is progress, but its form changes as the domains change.• Perhaps leadership should transition to take advantage of personal style anddomain you’re now in?13
  14. 14. Contact Bruce Stewartbruce.stewart@bastewart.comwww.linkedin.com/in/bastewart@brucestewart+1 (416) 347-7809personalduediligence.comblogidol.caBruce A StewartExecutive AdvisorColumnist14
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