Poor Process or Poor Execution
I have used both conventional approaches to projects, as well as agile. In fact, i have used some of the agile techniques in conventional projects with success. I know, anecdotal but perhaps an interesting anecdote.
Conventional projects have had considerable high failure reported (Standish Group Studies for example). The problem become, why these conventional projects fail. For example, I have been on projects where the project manager is seldom seen, where conventional project processes are ignored or executed poorly. There can be many reasons for failure, poor process, poor execution or poor strategy, can end in the same failure. It is like a play in football, if the offense executes it well, we may get a touchdown. If we have not play, or execute a good play poorly, we might fail in both cases.
So the question becomes what is the root cause of the failure? For example, I wonder how the strategy was selected for … Continue reading
What does not work -duration
Besides wasting time planning out many months into the future as if we could see and control that far ahead, there have been studies over the years that have established an inverse correlation between the length of time a project runs and project success rate. Perhaps this does not sound so odd, given the more tasks we have or the more work we must do, the greater the risks. Consider a product and the opportunities for failure, the more parts, the more opportunities for failure or more failure points.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to product development. However, there are some things that studies tell us what does not work.
First, the planning and long-term project or treating the job like we know the details 6 months to 3 years in the future. There are studies from the Standish group that illustrates the project s longer than 6 months in duration have … Continue reading
(Lexington, NC, September 28, 2018) – Cognitive biases are always at work, playing dirty tricks behind our perceptions. Jon M. Quigley, Founder and Principal, Value Transformation, will address this issue in his latest presentation, “Things that Secretly Sabotage your Project and Team” to be held on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 07:00 pm to 07:50 pm at Turbine Hall, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Project managers and teams of all organizations have experienced this common conundrum: their team members are capable, intelligent and well equipped, yet do things that appear to make no sense. The signs of bias at work here are hard to see, but that is most likely the case.
In his talk, Jon Quigley will reveal how cognitive bias impacts work, the most common biases we are likely to be affected by, and how they influence selection of strategies, team development, and other areas. The takeaway from the session will include ways to transform a group of individuals … Continue reading
Though sometimes we may refuse to recognize it, the world is a full of variation, even in the things we think or believe are constant. For example, my wife has been known to say, “you always do…” or “you never do…”, to which I retort, I am human and I am not that repeatable. I say that, but it is not just humans that are not so repeatable. Everything has variation, and understanding this variation, is important for product development, project management, manufacturing, product testing and so much more. To master this work, we need to understand this variation as completely as possible.
Common and Special Cause Variation
Shewart is credited for developing the concepts of special and common cause . Special cause variation, are variations that are outside of the expected (intermittent) range of possibilities. Common cause variation, are the variation expected, we know about these, these are predictable, provided we have put some effort into learning about … Continue reading
In our earlier posts, we explored abuses of estimates, and then the need for the estimates in the business prioritization or what projects shall we undertake, and securing the resources to accomplish the objective.
In the prior blog we discussed the connection between the estimates and the business case for the work. The business case, as we have seen, compare the costs for undertaking the project against the return or income generated. some of these comparative approaches (IRR) allows the organization to compare the proposed project against other investments the organization could otherwise undertake with this amount of money, but in all cases we are trying to understand if the proposed project is prudent use of the organizations resources or if it is a low return and high risk endeavor. We wold not want to spend $1Million to make $250 Thousand.
Estimates and Gate Reviews
We will derive the estimates, but our organization may have project … Continue reading
Instead of No Estimates
Instead of no estimates, we should consider adjusting our approach to estimates that eliminate the abuse, and still allows for the answers to the business questions, “does this project improve our bottom line” allowing the business to determine if the company really wants to undertake the project, and if so, do we have the talent and resources to undertake this project. Answering these two questions initiates the next steps to actually create a project and being planning and doing the work.
Besides the techniques below, we can estimate from top down, estimation comes from managers and executives, or bottom up, that is those doing the work or closest to the work, provide the estimates. There are draw backs and benefits to each of these approaches.
There are many techniques for estimating. Experience suggests organizations may not use much more than the least helpful, expert judgement.
Analogous Parametric PERT Simulation (Monte Carlo Analysis) Expert Judgement Analogous
Instead … Continue reading
Estimating and Business Case
Our last post explored the abuses of estimates. I thought it best to recognize the abuses, thinking acknowledging these thoughts from the no estimate crowd, may make them amenable to a discussion of how other see the problem and perhaps, eventually, a movement toward a solution that all find acceptable.
Individuals cannot do all the things they want to do, and so to it is for businesses. Whether the business is for profit or a nonprofit, there are limited funds and available talent, that put constraints upon what can be undertaken. These constraining factors lead the organization to optimize the projects that are undertaken to both fit within the capabilities and constraints, but also to maximize the benefit, the benefit being profitability for the for profit, and biggest benefit to the most constituents for the non-profit concern.
In addition to these afore mentioned constraints and benefits, we have risk. There is risk associated with any … Continue reading