Project Success & the Metaphorical Triangle

Project Success & the Metaphorical Triangle By Steven G. Lauck & Jon M. Quigley, MS PMP CTFL

Project Success…Project Success…Project Success! That is the hope of any organization when hiring and assigning the correct project manager to each project. For me, Project Success has always come down to fulfillment of Scope, Time, Cost, and Quality.

Project Managers must understand that there is a give & take or push/pull on the constraints in the shape of a triangle. Once the project is in motion any force pressed on the metaphorical triangle influences the sides and internal shape of the triangle.

For example, an accelerated schedule. The acceleration will require additional resources – costs, time, and resources. Or consider when a stakeholder or sponsor submits a change request. The resources to analyze the change request are resources that are likely taken away from executing the already agreed upon project work. Initiating the change management process adds cost, scope, & time … Continue reading

Things that Secretly Sabotage Projects and Teams -Cognitive Bias

(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

No Estimates, Business Case, and Sunk Cost

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.

Business Case

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

Team Building Not all Roses

Team Building Phases

Teams are not as easy as throw our collection of individuals into a room together and bang, thus is a team created.  We are fond of the description of the steps a team will go through by Bruce Tuckman we list below.  Our experience suggests this list to be a reasonable list of the phases a group goes through to become a team.

forming -the collection of individuals are put together storming  the clash of personalities as well as social mores norming – the group establishes the group’s norms and mores performing – the collection of individuals are now performing (the sum is greater than the individuals) Collection of Individuals

It takes more than placing people together in a room and pointing them at an objective, will not necessarily turn this collection of individuals and turn them into a team.  This story is about the start of a project, actually the first time this collection of people worked together.  … Continue reading

Product Development and Cognitive biases

Project Management and Critical Thinking

There are a good many cognitive biases that can impact discerning the truth or what is valid and true.  Yet knowing what is valid and true is important for any business decision, product development and especially for project managers.  Project managers are often part of decision arm and execution arm of the business objectives.

If you do not think cognitive biases do not impact you, and that there are so many of them, perhaps you should shuffle on over to Wikipedia an do a search list of cognitive biases[i].  There you will find a long list of biases that can get in the way. These biases are so subtle that you may not even be aware that it is affecting how you think. Cognitive biases are shortcuts for us to make decisions.

For example; let’s consider a few of those biases starting with confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias impacts product development and project management … Continue reading

Team

 

I had a brief chat with Tom Cagley  of the famous SPaMcast the other night about teams. We periodically take time to talk about product development topics, and I frequently appear on SPaMCast podcasts.  Last night we talked about teams an whatever magic makes a collection of individuals move to the point of performing better than the sum of he constituent parts.

I have worked professionally for nearly 30 years, and a decade before that as a field worker, fast food worker, and what we self-referred to as a yard dog – the guy who moves trailers, puts hitches on vehicles, cleans up vehicles and much more.  In my 30 years professionally, I can recall being on 3 groups that were what could be referred to as a team.  In fact, the story of one of those teams can be found in the book by Peter Taylor in The Project Manager Who Smiled book.

If there were a perfect recipe for creating a … Continue reading

Executives, Experience, and Engagement in the Work

Executives, Experience, and Engagement in the Work.

By Jon M. Quigley

Discussion board on Engagement

I participate in discussion boards on a company called Convetit.  Convetit has people sponsoring discussion boards on a specific topic areas. These people pose specific questions within the confines of the topic area and individuals that have been approved to work on that discussion board, answer those questions and perhaps ask questions of their own.  I am on several boards, have been on more than I am presently, but some of those boards are:

Capturing Knowledge to Empower Future Leaders and Employees

Exploring Technical Trends & Innovations in the Development of Online Experiences

Exploring Packaging Solutions to Reduce in-store Shrinking and Theft

The one of interest for me, is Capturing Knowledge to Empower Future Leaders and Employees.  I have been ruminating on this for years now, originating in 2013 or so when I saw a study from Gallup regarding employee engagement.  … Continue reading

Project Control

“The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group consists of those processes required to track, review, and orchestrate the progress and performance of a project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes.” Continue reading

I know, let’s use the outlier as a baseline

You will find this very difficult to believe, but I recently had a discussion with a person working at another company. This person is responsible for the statistical analysis of the work that other parts of the organization is to perform.  Those looking for the information come to this person to make some sense out of the historical record.

In the recent history of the work, there was an event, in which hour estimates were made for the work, in the middle of the work, it became necessary to close the work up as best possible and stop since a hurricane was in bound.  It was not possible to keep the project going given this storm so the work is prematurely closed out best possible to allow all to reach safety.  Those on the team know this antecedent event and the subsequent consequences to the effectivity work.

Given the knowledge that this last point is an outlier, and we know the … Continue reading

The Sandbox

The Sandbox

There are times, when every conversation you have with one of your colleagues or family member just brings up a myriad of potential posts for a blog. The latest discussion was around clean your own sandbox. We have written about this in the past, but from a prioritization perspective, that is, why solve a problem within your sandbox that is costing the company tens of thousands, when you have problems across the variety of sandboxes that cost the company millions of dollars. We coupled this with a Pareto discussion as the means to determine which of our sandbox problems is causing the costliest problem.

Interconnected Sandboxes

In my experience, sandboxes are associated with functional organizations.  Each subset of the organization develops a specific focus area and skills allowing for specialization.  However, there is more to this than fix your sandbox. For example, it would be a truly unusual company in which each sandbox is totally independent of another. In … Continue reading

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