项目经理的下场

文章添加时间:2014-07-09

第一部分:当一支足球队表现不佳时,在项目范围内的项目管理者 -- 这个俱乐部的主席,站出来说 “教练的地位不容置疑”。然而,很短一段时间后,这个教练被另外一个教练取代了。

the end of the project manager

Large projects often fail

Often, it appears that large projects fail. They will be delivered later than planned, are more expensive and suffer from quality problems. Research by the Standish Group indicates that large projects (> $ 10M) are successful in only 10% of the cases, compared to 76% for small projects (making a project small does not give any guarantee for success but the difference in rating is striking).

 

Of course there are several reasons for this and every case is unique. Moreover, finding the real root causes and then learning from them to improve is also time-consuming and labor-intensive, which is a major project in itself.

small against large projects

The need for large projects remains

There is still a need to execute large projects. Sometimes it is necessary to renew huge back-office systems, a drastic renewal of the infrastructure is required, or there is a need to support a new business model. This may be the result of a new legislation, but also of mergers, division, survival or growth. But how do you run large projects, then? 
PNR Curve Traditionally, we create a User Requirements Specification which contains all the details. This goes hand in hand with making a business case, starting an architecture framework, developing a project plan and finding the right resources or subcontract using associated procedures. Some months will have already passed. The pressure is omnipresent and when trouble comes, the pressure increases.

 

approaches

We all know sayings such as "adding people to a late project makes the project late." Research showsthat it is possible to shorten the time of a project, but the cost increases exponentially. Furthermore, it appears to provide the illusion of delivering in less than 75% of the optimum time. This is graphically illustrated in the accompanying Putnam, Norden Raleigh Curve. 
We have a number of paradigms to break. Put the whole thing on its head once.

What does provide the biggest chance of success?

The only parameter that can successfully be adjusted is the scope. By reducing the scope and delivering fast intermediate results, adjustments will still need to be made. Conversely, delivering as time runs out and then reducing the scope is not possible. Therefore, the five following challenges need to be addressed:

1. Handle a large project as a product or system that consists of many small parts or features.

2. Arrange the components so that they can be built in a logical order to emerge into a growing system.

3. Define a Minimal Viable product that consists of the parts that are minimal and necessary to be able to go into production.

4. Keep the larger goal, but only work out on the parts that are sufficient for the short term.

5. Deliver fast and frequent minor releases. Even if they cannot be taken into production. This is very motivating for both the business and IT. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to learn and to steer fast.

But there are conditions...

There are conditions to successfully achieve the above challenges:

- Form teams that will work together for a longer period. Based on business needs (features), not based on technical skills. Co-locate teams. Bring close together the people who work on a same feature.

- Management clearly indicates the direction (alignment): What is to be done, not how.

- Give the teams themselves the freedom (autonomy) to come up with solutions but expect daily progress.

- Make clear agreements of who feels responsible for what, but stimulate discussion and team results.

 

Project management tasks do shift. The project manager is no longer the bottleneck that tries to repair the damage, he facilitates collaboration, works on trust through transparency and looks ahead.

 

In Part 2 of this article I will discuss project management in the enterprise.

 

 

                                                 Karel van de Meent coaches teams and helps organizations implement agile transitions. He is Senior Scrum Trainer, Lean Six Sigma - Black Belt and CMMI assessor. The combination is perfect to let people from different perspectives work together.Karel van de Meent