PDO has Just One Question for You?

The Project Delivery Office strives for simplicity. In fact, the first question in a PDO engagement is simply ‘how many project are you managing”? This question is asked to the organizations project officer, VP of Projects, Director of the PMO, etc.

The answer is usually “well, we have around 100 projects” or “I don’t know the exact number but it is several dozen”.

How can the person in charge of projects not know the exact number of projects that are being managed?  The primary of objective of the PDO is to help your organization answer that question.

PDO uses tools and process to manage all of the project in a traditional, agile or hybrid environment.  Providing consistent, accurate reporting on projects is the goal of the PDO.

Joe Blake – Cue the Robots

For Projects – The End Justifies the Means

Robots are logical. If you watched Lost in Space on TV as a kid they in fact cannot be anything but logical.

Most of us in the information technology world are drawn to this industry because of our logical nature. We see things in black and white. When posed with a problem we want to solve it (the end) in black and white.

The essence of our industry, when you boil it down, is data. Data is binary. When you boil data down into its pure form you get binary bits of on/off, yes/no. Logical people are drawn to this simplicity. We like things to be yes or no. Gray areas or long conversations about why something ‘isn’t quite yes’ and ‘isn’t quite no’ give us headaches.

So, to quell our headaches we seek out logical approaches or solutions to problems we face daily. Because we all really just want to solve problems in the most efficient way possible we are attracted to simple logical solutions and abhor complicated solutions of which we can’t see the end.

Solutions may take many paths. Everyone has different approaches to solve problems. In reality much of the time we spend on our projects is convincing others that our way is the best way. If someone else is in charge of the solution, they are always defending their approach which means they are not working on the solution itself. Project Managers spend so much of their time defending the plan.

We can all agree that there have been times were approaches different than ours actually solved the problem and were successful. The whole time we worked on the project we in fact would have done it much differently. But in the end if the problem is solved we can all agree that we were successful.

Always keep present the outcome you and your team wish to achieve and celebrate success. The end (success) always justifies the means.

Joe Blake – Cue the Robots

Lead with Process – Drive with Change

“Lead with process.”  We say that to remember not to overly rely on tools and techniques but to build sound business process first.  Sound business process will not work unless their is a plan to ensure its success.  To ensure this success we must enable the first and most important process which is change management.

Change Management processes is the first key process to get teams onboard with. When teams are accepting of change management then we can drive the new processes with the change management process.

Business processes are the foundation for doing things consistently.  Process can be flexible but is always understandable.  Business process can be drawn on a whiteboard and everyone can see the beginning and the end and understand its purpose.

Once the business process is set then tools can be applied against the business process.  If the processes are sound and vetted and the tools are best in class (or pretty close) failure usually occurs due to change management.  Users are not ready to adapt to the new system and they resist.

To properly execute new process and tools, organizations must apply change management processes to ensure users are prepared for the change and ready to accept it.

Putting Good Project Team Members in Bad Systems

“If you put a good teacher into a bad system, the system wins every time.”  It was a saying used at the Department of Education to remind everyone who was building educational systems to build them correctly to allow teachers to teach.

When we look at project teams we should follow the same advice.  If we build systems that are cumbersome and prevent team members from focusing on project delivery then team members will fail and projects will fail.

The right systems focus on simplicity and accuracy.  Build a systems with sound processes, a focus on the usability and change management then the right system will support delivery every time.


About this blog

Artificial Intelligence or AI will take over many of our day to day activities.  It is not a matter of if but when.

As a project manager and consultant deploying project management systems I can only image what our method of project delivery will look like in 10, 20 or 100 years from now.

So here is a platform for discussion on this topic.

I hope you will take my posts as musings on the subject and not as any sort of dire predictions of things to come.  As a practicing project manager I am always open for better ways to deliver more projects on time and under budget.

Cue the robots….