In my last post I discussed two perspectives that will lead to better project results. In this posting I’ll be discussing the third perspective.
3) Projects results will improve as long as the project team is equipped to handle anything that might block their progress toward completion.
Not sure I’ve got the statement above worded exactly right but I’m going to let it stand for a moment. For many project organizations, the implementation of this handy piece of advice is accomplished by spending as much time as possible in up front planning. Unfortunately, based on my experience, for most internal IT projects, planning efforts quickly reach the law of diminishing returns.
For those of you who don’t remember your college economics the essence of diminishing returns says beyond a certain point you receive less and less benefit from every dollar you invest. This concept is also known as the law of diminishing marginal returns, the law of increasing relative cost, or the law of increasing opportunity cost.
What I particularly like about this concept is that it helps to point out the various potholes that tend to occur when projects begin without a good grasp of what’s important and what’s not. Projects and Program do need a period of time before work starts on the creation of the product or the deliverables but there’s little advantage in spending the time in attempting to prognosticate the future as most linear project plans attempt to do. The time is actually better spent in determining how little actually needs to be done to meet the objectives and what needs to be organized to make the execution of the project as efficient as possible Essentially Nimble PM (you pick the p) says that you create an area of order (because as we all know things are sensitively dependent on initial conditions) so instead of PLANNING the emphasis is on DOING up front in order to create a situation under which the project or program has the highest possibility of success.
I’ll be exploring more about this concept of area of order in later entries. For now I’ll just say that while I was in Asia-Pac, I had a delightful conversation with an organization that we would categorize as a true PPM maturity level four and I was obviously intrigued to find the same emphasis on practice and action coming from them as from me.