The work on organizations can be sometimes a completely mess.
I’m working on an initiative to turn this “mess” into a more organized and efficient delivery.
The basic approach we are following is:
- To have a clear, complete and detailed organizational chart.
- Understand what are the governance rules defined by contract with the customer.
- Define role and responsibilities for the different players (using a RACI).
- Communicate the roles, expectations and a defined reporting templates.
- Promote escalations on specific conflicts that could arise, work on these aspects and refine the RACI.
- Prioritize the focus on the major, critical hurdles.
- Work always on practical scenarios, avoid just to define theory.
- Lead by example.
- Promote ITIL, PMI, Six Sigma best practices.
- Repeat the process again and again.
After 1 month of work, results start to show green signals, but we are still RED
You organize daily calls and you try to make them effective and efficient. Define the purpose and clear ground rules help to complete them on these 15 minutes.
Objective: What did we do yesterday/today, What will we do today/tomorrow, what is blocking us?
Agenda: We will use the action list to drive our agenda.
- All feedback and comments are welcome.
- We must not go off topic.
- We must not discuss at length these actions, but focus on the 3 questions.
- We will confirm support and awareness of the action list.
- We will attend all the calls, or as many as possible.
- If we cannot attend a call we will send a short update.
- We will be sensitive to other priorities.
- We will hold the call at a mutually agreeable time of day.
- Please accept my apologies if I missed a key contributor from the list.
Attendees: limited to people who has to work on the action list or are directly involved on the project.
This maturity model is very well known by the project/program/portfolio community and one of the questions I would like to ask, is: once we have done an assessment of the situation we have in our project, program or portfolio, where should I start with? We all have limited resources and we cannot fix all.
The classical view of the assessment summarizes the situation with this view:
The immediate answer that comes to my mind is to start with the less matured aspects. But is this the right criteria? Am I taking into account all relevant aspects?
If we organize the report taking into account the value for the cutomer (which could be a customer, the steering committee or the PMO) we could have a situation as this:
Our goal is to increase the maturity of the execution of these areas, so the black lines just mark the desired trend we want to give to it. We have limited resources, and to set the right priority is key to maximize the improvement.
- The vertical position of each area represents the priority of our customer.
- The horizontal position represents the level of maturity of each area.
- The blue lines represents the latest desired trends or “urgent” priorities marked by the customer.
- I have highlighted in red, yellow, green the initial priorities we should take into account for the actions to be done.
- Special attention of risk management, that, even do that it is more mature of others, it has a high relevance on the benefits management of the program. The improvement on this area will improve the benefits management and the stakeholder engagement.
- Special attention to Financial Management: initially it’s not a high relevance topic, but the fact that we are closing a fiscal year, makes it important to understand how we are.
Now the difficult side of our real life: Define the actions by area to be launched, performed, measured and communicated.
You can repeat and repeat to your teams:
Good delivery and good project performance is the most important thing to retain our customer to continue working with us!
But in some cases they will not understand you, some other times they are so focused on their stuff and some others they just don’t care…
So well, IDC in one of the their analysis they highlight that the factor with more contribution to the customer to buy your consulting services again is the projects delivered on time.
Nice! now I can tell them: It’s not me, it’s IDC saying it.
Read IT projects related to public organizations is useful, the fact that they are public makes that they are a little bit more transparent than private companies. In some cases they add interesting data related to the projects that are a little bit complex to find.
In this case the high-level implementation project for an HCM solution of Workday.
I found this SaaS company, and watching their videos, I wanted to dig into more details.
- They are in the “Marketing Resource Management” magic quadrant.
- Clear pricing tables.
- Task management, resource management, capacity management, Gantt charts, agile project management, workflow automation…
- The solution looks for the major productivity at all levels: in the requirement, design, tasks, plan, quality of the delivery, delays… there is an excellent combination of the Six Sigma principles, combined with SDLC and productivity best practices.
- Look at the list of companies using it.
- Magic quadrant: Cloud-Based IT Project and Portfolio Management Services: leaders.
Today we conducted the kick-off meeting for a project.
This SAP technical upgrade starts next week after an assessment process and the feeling has been: how beautiful calm we have experienced Today in comparison with the assessment process, where the stress was present in almost all the areas of evaluation.
Will do have a please project execution as calm as Today? For sure not, but we feel confident with the challenge, the team built for it and the approach we have for it.
Let’s see how it works.
This assessment has been a very accurate exercise for defining the right approach for the technical upgrade, the reasons?
- Our customer wants to save money on the project.
- They want to understand how much can be saved in terms of infrastructure investment.
- Work in advance with the supporting tools that potentially you can use for a work such this. Automation tools is a competitive advantage.
- 7 weeks is enough in terms of effort, but not in terms of real weeks. To have a team on the account that they can complete their weeks with other activities made possible to do not be over budget.
- The number of meetings we handled has been huge, and initially were considered excessive. At the end, all these communications and alignment have contributed to have a common understanding between the line of services and the different customer departments.
- The analysis done for the UAT has been exhaustive, we have defined a detailed plan for the UAT, with the involvement of so much people. The expected result is that the individual involvement of the organization on the test activities will be reduced to the activities they use to work in a daily basis: you test what you do in a daily basis, no more.
- Lines of communications is very large if you see the project size. There are so much HR departments involved and so much countries. A good stake-holders analysis has helped us to organize the project plan properly and understand the great effort we have to invest on communications.
- Infrastructure approach definition was done in a quick way due to the right involvement of the right people in the early definition approach of the solution and the great experience and alignment of the team.
- This project has a high visibility in the organization, and this means a lot of stress, but also has a positive consequence; when you require to have the things done: I need this approved for this project…done.
License to operate is a quality mechanism for improving aspects such driving, performance, delivery…
I have seen these LTO rules in aeronautic industry, where the #hours, people and effort is huge and where the Cost of lack of quality is high. They have training courses to reinforce knowledge (earning points); people losing the license have to attend training sessions to follow the follow the processes. There is peer to peer reviews and there is audit reviews. They also have awards and other positive ranking tables to recognize the good performers (in terms of quality).
I have seen this also for developers, where they measure the number of bugs they are reported on UAT.
Could project manager be measured by some type of LTO such #reports not delivered ?
A measure such this has positive contribution and negative outcomes, for instance, soft skills cannot be measured by this type of mechanism and they are really important for project management work.
- Did you apply a license to operate for PM?
- Does it makes sense for large programs?
- Does it have more negative impacts that positive impacts?
- Is it better to invest that effort on project administrative staff?
‘You don’t get your social license by going to a government ministry and making an application or simply paying a fee… It requires far more than money to truly become part of the communities in which you operate.’
– Pierre Lassonde, President of Newmont Mining Corporation.