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PM

What we knew all along about the constraints in executing projects, Mike Shipulski has summed up very nicely in a short blog post, reproduced here below (no share button available) with comments added in italics:

There are four ways to run projects.

One – 80% Right, 100% Done, 100% On Time, 100% On Budget

  • Fix time
  • Fix resources
  • Flex scope and certainty

Set a tight timeline and use the people and budget you have.  You’ll be done on time, but you must accept a reduced scope (fewer bells and whistles) and less certainty of how the product/service will perform and how well it will be received by customers. This is a good way to go when you’re starting a new adventure or investigating new space.

Get it out there as early as possible, follow up with iterations/releases/sprints…Also for new products. Suitable where requirements are volatile or not understood clearly.

Two – 100% Right, 100% Done, 0% On Time, 0% On Budget

  • Fix resources
  • Fix scope and certainty
  • Flex time

Use the team and budget you have and tightly define the scope (features) and define the level of certainty required by your customers. Because you can’t predict when the project will be done, you’ll be late and over budget, but your offering will be right and customers will like it. Use this method when your brand is known for predictability and stability. But, be weary of business implications of being late to market.

Also for applications where failures have very low tolerance (example – public facing) or downright disastrous.  

Three – 100% Right, 100% Done, 100% On Time, 0% On Budget

  • Fix scope and certainty
  • Fix time
  • Flex resources

Tightly define the scope and level of certainty. Your customers will get what they expect and they’ll get it on time.  However, this method will be costly. If you hire contract resources, they will be expensive.  And if you use internal resources, you’ll have to stop one project to start this one. The benefits from the stopped project won’t be realized and will increase the effective cost to the company.  And even though time is fixed, this approach will likely be late.  It will take longer than planned to move resources from one project to another and will take longer than planned to hire contract resources and get them up and running.  Use this method if you’ve already established good working relationships with contract resources.  Avoid this method if you have difficulty stopping existing projects to start new ones.

‘Must be done at any cost’

Four – Not Right, Not Done, Not On Time, Not On Budget

  • Fix time
  • Fix resources
  • Fix scope and certainty

Though almost every project plan is based on this approach, it never works.  Sure, it would be great if it worked, but it doesn’t, it hasn’t and it won’t. There’s not enough time to do the right work, not enough money to get the work done on time and no one is willing to flex on scope and certainty.  Everyone knows it won’t work and we do it anyway.  The result – a stressful project that doesn’t deliver and no one feels good about.

Well, don’t we all know…

The article may be read here.

 

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Source: Image from explore.easyprojects.net

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Mike Shipluski

 

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Source: shipluski.com

 

 

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you getting monkeys is not just with hires. Goes for vendors, contractors, third parties…

This is for the managers and executives priding on their ability to squeeze every freebie, concession and discount out of their beleaguered vendors.

Here we go:

The  headman from the painting cum landscaping company  was speaking with the hard-driving customer about the job awarded to them.

Laying-Turf  jokesoftheday.net

In the first room, she said she would like a pale blue. The contractor wrote this down and went to the window, opened it, and yelled out “GREEN SIDE UP!”

In the second room, she told the painter she would like it painted in a soft yellow. He wrote this on his pad, walked to the window, opened it, and yelled “GREEN SIDE UP!”

The lady was somewhat curious but she said nothing. In the third room, she said she would like it painted a warm rose color. The painter wrote this down, walked to the window, opened it and yelled “GREEN SIDE UP!”

The perplexed lady then asked him, “Here I’m telling you what to do and you keep yelling ‘green side up’?”

“I’m sorry,” came the reply. “them…are laying sod in the front and around.”

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Source: Adapted from jokesoftheday.net

 

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 WBS

Any organization, mature or not, from time to time gets into initiatives.

These initiatives focus efforts often for short duration for quick results and some run over longer timeframes. Their impact, by no means, light.

Examples:

Reduce incidences of sudden leaves of absence of its employees.

Improve employee engagement in terms of contributing case-studies.

Manage a project escalation to satisfactory closure.

Implement a risk assessment model in projects.

Etc. etc.

Unfortunately it is also true many initiatives peter out without delivering results for various reasons becoming the staple for humor in office corridors and canteen. No dirt attaches to anyone.

Even a cusrsory examination of these initiatives shows they exhibit certain common characteristics:

– An initiative is expected to deliver intended results

– The timeframe for achieving the results is also constrained.

– There is a team of resources to roll out the initiative.

– Importantly, not by magic, there is a set of tasks that need to be done to reach there.

If this is not like a project, what else is it?

A project view of the initiative immediately gains the established rigor of planning and monitoring. Additionally it demands the commitment of various stakeholders towards their roles at every step. Any non-performance is easily visible thru the monitoring process.

Why not give it a try when you kick off your next initiative?

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I’ve reblogged here for a reason a post from my other light-reading blog at http://ksriranga.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/how-to-hit-the-bulls-eye-every-time/ for your perusal.

Will catch up with you on the other side.

Begin Post:

How To Hit The Bull’s Eye Every Time?

The myth of 10,000 hours needed to become an ace at anything is busted. Read on to find out how.

Archery_-_Target_Cartoon

One morning a Duke was riding inside the woods together with his men-at-arms and servants when he caught the sight of the usual target of concentric circles painted on a tree trunk and smack inside the center of each was a bolt.

Some distance away, he came up on another tree that too had the target and the arrow in bull’s eye.

He found more trees of the same kind.

“Who is this amazingly skilled bowman?” wondered the Duke. “Fetch him wherever he is. I have to meet him!”

When his retinue looked around they found a young boyish looking man with a bow and bolts. They produced him before the Duke.

“Lad, fear not. Who is the great bowman that had hit the bull’s eye every time? Do you know him?”

The young man shook his head to say he did know who did it.

“Is it your father?”

He shook his head again this time to say it wasn’t him.

“The teacher from whom you’re perhaps training?”

It wasn’t him either.

The Duke persisted with his query.

Finally the young man mumbled it was him that shot the bolts plumb inside the middle of every last one of targets.

The Duke laughed aloud: “I know – you didn’t essentially stroll up to the targets and sledge the shafts into the middle, did you?”

“No, my master. I shot them from 100 paces. I swear it by all that I hold holy.”

“That is really astounding, you’re the best archer I’ve ever seen. I herewith appoint you as a trainer to my archers.”

The young man thanked the Duke profusely.

“I still have a question to ask of you. How did you get to be so good hitting the bull’s eye every time? Did you spend all day practicing? If you’re so good, your teacher must be a wizard. Take us to him, will you?”

Archery

“No, No. It is like this. I stand upright, take a careful aim, hold my breath, see it with one eye and shoot the arrow at the tree.”

“Well, that’s what we all do too.”

“And then draw the target circles around where the bolt went into the tree.”

End Post .

Well, jest aside, it is the same thing with some projects. Result is what happens.

Result is not what is committed to the management or to the customer. And usually there are enough good reasons to explain why it happened. Such as extraneous environmental factors like weather or political sensitivity like a civic disturbance. Such as a customer deliberately or otherwise taking advantage of a poorly worded contract to expand the scope or demand services beyond originally envisaged. Etc. Etc.

The project manager is expected to foresee at least some of these risks and plan out mitigation strategies. If it is not done so or if the mitigation strategies are not effective, it is strongly advisable for the project manager to stop the continuing week-after-week agony, step back, rethink and re-plan with customer’s help.

What one finds, instead, is insufficient thinking and action to contain to whatever extent the impact of such uncontrollable developments. These are protrayed as given and the project lives from week to week.

If the factors are absolutely immitigable, then these must be factored into the contract and the original plan. Example: doing field survey in monsoon or severe winter. Though uncommon, I’ve seen projects executed in a start – stop mode these factors permitting. Another interesting example is where a more fundamental change in approach was needed as a solution to insurmountable problems – given the difficulties in freezing requirements with users in advance despite best efforts, the very methodology of developing software has undergone a transformation now using agile methods for success.

Barring those outliers (usually the R & D kind), can project outcomes also be as certain as taxes and death? We may not be there yet, but it certainly helps a long way if project management does not let reasons override results.

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duckhunter j4p4n

A Group Project Manager, HR Manager, Manager (Legal) went duck shooting with a trailing Project Manager .

A duck flew over, and the Group Project Manager aimed, but didn’t fire.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” asked the HR Manager, deferentially.

“Are you certain it was a duck,” answered the Group Project Manager. “It could have been another bird.”

Another duck flew over. the HR Manager aimed but didn’t fire.

“What now?” asked the Group Project Manager.

“Does the duck actually know it’s a duck?” asked the HR Manager.

Another duck flew over. The Manager (Legal) aimed, but didn’t fire. “This duck, I suspect, is a little larger than the limit stipulated in our permit,” he explained.

Another duck flew over. The {Project Manager pulled the gun out of the Manager(Legal)’s hand and fired.

“Are you sure it was a duck?” asked a slightly crossed Group Project Manager.

“We’ll find that out from our SME(Subject Matter Expert),” said the Project Manager.

On the way back, they met the Accounts Manager. He heard it all.

“You have used a shot one size too large, friend,” he said to the Project Manager.

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Credits: openclipart (j4p4n)

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366881_save_jpg783f717879c56f642fd160c6e20cc26b

While the toilet scene is quite earthly, I think the lesson must be about projects managed on the moon!
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Source: Internet

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