What does it take to make an efficient project? Gallons of ink have been spilled on the subject, but it's possible we've been asking the wrong question. Kent McDonald suggests that a better question is how to run a more effective project -- hopefully by ensuring you are building what the customer needs. Alan Zucker reminds us that the point of "fail faster" is not failure, but finding the right ingredients for success. Chris Hill provides some quantitative measures for defining effective and efficient project throughput. And a new blogger, Chris Cook, offers philosophical advice on becoming a more effective project manager.
Three Steps for More Effective Projects
by Kent McDonald
My friend Jeffrey Davidson, having been on both the business and IT side of several projects, summed it up perfectly: "IT has spent 30 years teaching our business partners how to be bad customers. We need to fix this." IT organizations have taught business stakeholders to spell out everything they want (i.e., "tell us your requirements") and that IT will very rarely say "No."
So how do we fix this? One huge step in the right direction is to start thinking more about effectiveness. I think of effectiveness as building the right things in the right way.
Your project team may be very efficient, but are they efficiently building the right thing?
From the Blogs
From Backlog to Acceptance and In Between – The Value of Cycle Time Analysis
by Chris Hill
Have you ever wondered if there is a science to determining how long a customer will wait on hold or stand in a line/queue waiting for something until they just hang up or give up? Actually there are quite a few analogs regarding cycle time that we could delve into. The common denominator in all these examples is time verses the delivery of customer value, with cost reduction through reduced cycle time and increased capacity, capability, and performance.
Chris Hill explains how Little's Law (and its analogs) can help your team work faster.
Bringing Philosophy to Project Management
by Chris Cook
Project management is not an exact science, as much as we want it to be. People are dynamic. They change hour to hour, while projects last months or years. As a leader, project managers have to deal with these dynamic individuals on a daily basis. There is no science that has come up with an equation to solve the mental mysteries of team members. Enter philosophy.
In his debut Project Practitioners blog, Chris Cook pulls from Marcus Aurelius and Lao Tzu to demonstrate how philosophy could make you a better manager.
Failing Fast for the Rest of Us
by Alan Zucker
Failure is not the goal. Failure abounds. More than 90% of start-ups fail to meet their financial goals. On average, 30% of software projects are canceled and another 50% fail to meet expectations. The heart of the message -- to succeed sooner -- is unfortunately being lost.
Alan Zucker corrects the soundbite message: Fail Faster. Succeed Sooner.
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