The Ten “Uglies” of Projects Kerry R. Wills, PMP Director of Portfolio Management Project Summit – New England October 27, 2005 1 Introduction • Many PM methodologies, books, and classes • Adequate at explaining techniques • Experience is what distinguishes Project Managers • Several areas that consistently cause problems • They make projects turn “ugly” Approach • Review uglies • Review proposals to address 2 #1: Lack of Maintained Documentation • First thing that goes when crunched Symptoms • Requirements don’t match what was produced • Cant use documentation for maintenance • No history on decisions • No audit trail of changes He who ignores history is doomed to repeat it 3 #2: The Pile Phenomenon • “We’ll get to it later” Symptoms • Work pushed off until later (but not on a plan) • Documentation • Training • Implementation planning • Growing logs (issues, risks, etc.) • Working on “the easy stuff” first 4 There is no “later” on the plan #3: No Quality at the Source • Don’t have a culture of ownership Symptoms • Handing off work before reviewing it • Developing code without testing it • Sloppy presentation of work Impact of poor quality has a multiplier effect 5 #4: Wrong People on the Job • Not have right match of skillset to job need Symptoms • Consistent missing dates • Consistent poor quality • Unmotivated team members As PMs, all we have is our resources. 6 #5: Not Involving the Right People • Not having the right people enabled to be successful Symptoms • Having to make changes after work is done • Lack of team buy-in for estimates • Lack of ownership of decisions We need to enable team members to take ownership by involving them 7 #6: Not Having Proper Sponsorship • Sponsorship is critical for success Symptoms • Inadequate support from stakeholders • Issues taking too long to be resolved • Decisions not being made effectively Without sponsorship, projects “spin their wheels” 8 #7: No Rigor Around Process • Often, process is not adhered to Symptoms • Incomplete deliverables • Inconsistencies between projects • Lack of understanding big picture • Lack of repeatable processes You don’t want to “re-create the wheel” each time 9 #8: No Community Plan • No shared plan that everyone is aware of Symptoms • Lack of knowing what is due • Missed dates • Lack of ownership of deliverables Get everyone on the same page 10 #9: No Plan for Rework • There is always rework Symptoms • Missed dates • Poor quality Don’t assume that everything is done right the first time 11 #10: Dates Are Just Numbers • Lack of commitment to dates Symptoms • Consistently missed dates • Items left open for a long time • Lack of sense of urgency Dates are not suggestions 12 Interrelationships Lack of maintained Not plan for rework documentation Wrong people on project No rigor around process Poor Quality Not involve right people No community plan Piles Dates don’t matter 13 Not have proper sponsorship Proposed Solution: Proactive Management • Spending appropriate time up-front Activities • Create detailed plan • Look at plan to see what is coming up • Replan as items arise to understand impacts • Walk the floor You have to invest the time up-front. Think of the project as a marathon and your job as the person making sure that the road is cleared for the team 14 to run Proposed Solution: Proactive Management • Example: My commute to work 15 Proposed Solution: Proactive Management Benefits • Can prepare for upcoming activities • Can prepare the correct resources • Continuously replan and assess • Time to focus on quality • Are better prepared for unplanned activities • What else? 16 Proposed Solution: “Do It While You Do It” • Maintain work as you go Activities • Document work as it is being done • Consider implications as things change • Check work before passing it on • Use process as a guideline for work The result will be minimal spikes in work 17 Proposed Solution: “Do It While You Do It” Benefits • Work doesn’t grow out of control • Level out work flow • Minimal surprises at end since nothing is left for later • What else? 18 Proposed Solution: Empower The Team • The project is an inverse pyramid Activities • Involve team members in planning • Ask team members how they are going and then follow up on items • Celebrate successes • Be honest 19 Proposed Solution: Empower The Team Benefits • Motivated team members • Higher quality • Higher probability of meeting dates • What else? 20 Results # Ugly Attractive State Characteristics Proactive Do It While You Do Empower Management It 1 Maintained - Updated - Done during the project - Team members own Documentation documentation - No spike at end documentation - Plan for documentation - Understand decisions 2 Piles - Manageable work - Should not grow out of - Minimized because - Scheduled in plan control people will take ownership 3 Quality at the - Spend appropriate - People do their work - People take ownership Source time up-front rather than assumed at a of work later time 4 People Fit - Recognize - Mange work so - Other team members resource issues and resource issues are may take on work for resolve early identified early failing colleagues - Proper staffing 5 People - Avoid rework later - Involve people during - Team members take Involvement work rather than have ownership for work 21 them react to it later Results # Ugly Attractive State Characteristics Proactive Do It While You Do Empower Management It 6 Sponsorship - Enable support when - Rapid and effective - May be improved due you really need it decisions as needed to better understanding of issues 7 Process Rigor - Repeatable processes - Team members follow - Ownership of work - Ensure proper the process will enable better rigor attention to process - Steps not missed around process 8 Community Plan - Ability to share a plan - Everyone is working - Everyone is informed - and goals with the team to the same plan and shared goals knows where they are - Please can manage going their work 9 Rework - Anticipating areas - Rework will be - Minimized due to where may be rework or accounted for as the motivation and scope creep, and team members work ownership of work working with key - Aware of magnitude stakeholders early to of rework address those. 10 Dates - Dates (and impacts of - Will matter and items - Team members take missing them) are will be closed when ownership of dates 22 clearly communicated they are due Conclusion • Nothing new here • Focus on proactive management • Keep up with work • Empower teams • Still keep seeing “uglies” • The application of the techniques must be the challenge • This means that there is a fourth proposed solution – “be conscious” 23 Questions? KerryWills@aol.com 860-985-9235 24 Proposed Solution: Empower The Team W. Edwards Deming pioneered manufacturing Deming Point Observation 8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work This means that the “iron first” technique of Project effectively for the company. Management is not such a great idea. People will be averse to giving their opinions and doing a quality job. 10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and I take this to mean that PMs shouldn’t just throw out targets for the workforce asking for zero targets, but rather involve the team members in defects and new levels of productivity. Such decisions. It also means that PMs should look at the exhortations only create adversarial process for failure and not the team members. relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force. 12. Remove barriers that stand between the This is my marathon metaphor - where PMs need to hourly worker and his [or her] right to pride remove obstacles and let the team members do their of workmanship. work. 13. Institute a vigorous program of Allow the team members to constantly build their 25 education and self-improvement. skillsets.
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