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

 

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

Safe Space

I have been in twitter and real discussions about safe spaces for the product development team to do their work.  I can understand this, nobody should get hurt at work, that is one of the reasons for OSHA, and internal work instructions and equipment.  However, we are not talking about the physical world in our modern discussion of safety in the work space.  There is nothing wrong with tension, or discomfort. Of course we are not talking about guns, cars and knives at work, but then again, most of those referring to safe space at work are really talking about words in the work place and not physical harm.  We are talking about the removal of even mental discomforts from the work space.  The problem is, this mental discomfort is frequently the source for progress.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. … 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

Expectations of Contractors and Engineers

Expectations of Contractors and Engineers Written by Steven G. Lauck & Jon M. Quigley

To ensure the team is working from the same set of expectations, we may develop a document or set of documents that describe those expectations. The work below may help you set up your own documentation on the expectations you have of your team and reciprocally what they will have of you.

The file below is found as a download here.

I. Focus Areas Customer/Supplier Orientation

Understand who your customers are and how well your products and services are meeting their needs. Adopt the posture of evaluating the quality and value of your services periodically as a basis for continual improvement.

Mastery

Be a master of the position functions and establish yourself as a resource to others. Know what your products and services are and strive to be best in delivering them.  Epitomize continuous learning and bring that to your work life.

Organization

Support our … Continue reading

Measurement effects and analysis on personnel and organizations

By:” Shawn P. Quigley

Whereas we have discussed some of the possible flaws in measurements we can all still agree that they are needed to provide both improvement in processes and the organization. However, other aspects of obtaining data for the production of quantifiable information: trend analysis and process evaluation, is the human factor both workers and management. As in so many of our conversations we look at the affect it has on the people who are essentially being evaluated by the information gathered for these measures. An issue we will discuss later in this post, but first let us look at the management aspect of this equation.

As a quality analysis person data may seem to be clear most of the time, but as a management person how do you gauge the data which is being received? Do you understand its’ meaning? Do you look at the outliers to forecast or do you think they are just noise to … Continue reading

Behavior and Engagement Extinction

Behavioral Extinction

By: Shawn P Quigley and Jon M Quigley

Extinction

The Dodo, the Tasmanian Tiger and the Carolina Parakeet are extinct.  Extinction; however, does not just apply to animals but can be applied to behavior as well.  In the case of behavioral extinction we will be discussing things and/or actions that make motivation and positive employee behavior extinct.

A scary study on engagement

Before we go much further down this road, we should consider the information provided by the Gallup poll on employee engagement.  Those that are engaged in their work: in the United States, is approximately 30% according to the 2013 Gallup Poll. Globally, that number is much less; about 15%.  If that sounds bad to you, you have not heard the worst of it. In addition to (on average) a small percentage of our workforce being engaged, there are two other categories. The next category is for those people who are “Not Engaged”. This section of the … Continue reading

Learning from Experience

By Jon M Quigley

How can we get good judgement (learn)?

Projects are unique, each present distinctive challenges, though these challenges often are constant in theme allowing an extrapolation to other projects.  We can see in projects, functional areas and business processes where this failure of learning costs our organization dearly.  Learning and adapting are hallmarks of good project management and of functioning organizations.  Making mistakes is not a problem as that is how we learn.

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” ~ Rita Mae Brown

What happens when we do not improve our judgement (learn)?

However, we should not consistently burn our hand on the same stovetop and act surprised. If you find your project or organization making the same set of mistakes, you have a learning problem.  To be sure not all can be known, but if you are learning every day, more is known every day.

“There is only one thing more … Continue reading

Learning Organization and Organizational Development

By Shawn Quigley

This blog is inspired by The Fifth Discipline Field Book, published by Double Day – New York, Peter M. Senge copyright 1994

The Learn Organization

The five disciplines of a Learning Organization are Team Learning, Personal Mastery, Mental Models, System Thinking, and Shared Vision. With that, let’s look at the items that make up an organization; Structure, Processes, and People. The structure is merely how the people of the organization are organized. The process is how the people are setup up for their task and communication between each other and each team and/or department. And last; but not least, is the people who compromise the organization. Looking at LO is this context provides a manner in which we can see how it relates to OD in a simpler manner. All the portions of LO are directly connected to individual understanding and improvement. First we should look at the correlation between the two: LO & OD.

Team Learning … Continue reading

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