NewYork2008:PM Principles - Values-Based Project Management
We all manage or are involved in the management of projects. And we all want our projects to go well – we all know that it's through our projects that we're able to effect positive social change (something we are all interested in doing).
But our projects frequently do not go well. They're often late, over budget, don't deliver what's been promised, or are just no fun to work on.
In many cases this "not going well" has to do the absence of a project-friendly work environment.
In this session we will:
- Talk a little bit about project management generally
- Look at the relationship between organisational culture and project management
- Work together to come up with strategies and tactics for effective project management through the establishment of work environments based on "project-friendly" values like:
- Personal empowerment
- Group trust
- Open communication
- 10 participants including the facilitator
- Several accidental techies as well as accidental project managers present
Project work has uncertainty and risk
End Produce uncertainty Produce risk
All projects have
- Constraints (boundaries that the project must be delivered within - the triple constraint of scope, time, and cost)
Sometimes there's a fourth quality added of "Quality", so some would argue for a rombus.
PMBOK = Project Management Body of Knowledge from PMI
Project Management is like a riverboat trip
- The organization is the river
- The project is the boat
- The project team are the passengers
If the organization isn't project-friendly, the boat will be trying to go upstream (e.g. if the organization is risk-averse)
When an organization isn't project-friendly, project managers have to
Strategies/Values for Values-Based Project Management
Trust (vs. Fear)
- Achieve closure on communications
- Ownership - ensuring that everyone on the team understands that they are involved in the management of the project.
Should project managers be estimating the level of effort for developers?
"Trust is a dimension of teamwork"
Failure of a project can be caused by a lack of communication - decisions made at the top that don't have buy-in.
Is any of this about technology, really? Point made that the project should not be framed in terms of technology fundamentally to get buy-in.
Rob draws and demonstrates a tool that he uses with clients in deciding priorities
Getting back to values-based management
Example of a truly project-unfriendly organization is the one where there are no project managers and someone is assigned the role.
Respect (possible culture changes)
- Showing up on time
- Respecting others' capacity for understanding you position
- Making an effort to provide input when it's asked for - team members know that even if they don't have time, they should say that they don't have time, not just remain silent.
A good project manager will build a project-friendly environment in spite of the organization's environment.
Some work environments make managing a project particularly difficult - M mentions Saudi Arabia :)
Rob talks about how project management is sometimes viewed as unnecessary overhead - and sometimes it is.
- A PM-friendly work environment works when management balances the tasks and the people. If it doesn't, this is where we may have to have some counter-cultural movement
- A PM-friendly work environment works when there's a balance between the output and the means.
- A PM-friendly work environment works when there's cross-collaboration. Like Jazz, it involves improvisation and coordination - you're not just playing, but you're listening to others. Jazz as an organizational model.
- A PM-friendly work environment works when a project involves healthy conflict. Conflict-avoidance can hurt projects
David mentions the DISC profile for team members: DISC on Wikipedia
Rob talks about two questions that he believes define whether or not the project was a success:
- Were the objectives met?
- Did the team find the work rewarding?
N mentions that he doesn't see organizations bothering to answer this second question.
Project success if not just whether we did what we trying to do, but whether it was the right thing to do.
Rob's wish - That project teams would work together to set objectives and decide what they don't want to have happen.
M mentions that it might be idealistic to think that everyone is going to be happy with the project.