Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the "Fast and Flexible Projects" workshop presented by Greg Githens. I gained new insights, confirmed existing thoughts and enjoyed the company of the other seasoned project managers in the class. I recommend that you attend Greg's workshop if you get the chance.
We discussed these concepts:
1. Much touted "best practices" have limited value in projects, because projects are unique. "Best practices" are most suitable for process management such as manufacturing where you produce 100,000 units of the same widget. A one-time, multi year software project should rely on the skills of the project manager, more than obsession with seeking out and trying to apply "best practices".
2. Due dates versus Dead line. The word dead line originated in the US Civil war. Any prisoner that crossed the line of markers was shot dead - no questions asked. Our projects have due dates. We don't shoot team members on IT projects for missing a target date.
3. Viper automobile design as a case study. This was fascinating.
4. The project manager has a number of chief roles on the project. Chief learning officer and Chief integration officer. Project managers should be leading the project, looking out into the future and eliminating speed bumps, proactively removing speed bumps and communicating with the team leads. Project managers should not be focused on aligning the columns on the daily status report.
5. Post-modernism, as it relates to project leaders. Although much of the current project management training focuses on "One size fits all" approach to managing projects, the reality is that project leaders should be focused on becoming skilled in many approaches of project management and learn how to apply the appropriate project management skill to each unique project management situation. Instead of rigid project management processes, we need skilled project management leaders who have access to a tool box of skills and can apply the correct skills to create unique structures and organizations, to meet the needs of the specific project.
6. Rolling-wave planning. In my experience, rolling-wave planning is not discussed or implemented often enough. It is a waste of time to develop a detailed plan for more than three months in the future, because the plan will change before you get their. You need to plan the foreseeable future in detail, and then plan to replan every few months when you have new information into the next foreseeable future. I prefer to only plan the coming two months in great detail, and schedule time to replan at the end of every month.
Labels: Professional Development