During my scrum workshops, I keep evangelising the need for the modern day, global Indian to be more forthright in his views and opinions, than always taking orders. When I meet them after a couple of months, they do have positive as well as negative experiences of trying to be more forthright with opinions and views. Many a times, the end customer is okay when an Indian engineer working from India says 11p.m IST is too late for him for a video conference with the client, and at the same time, the Indian senior manager whom this person is reporting to always tend to term it as lack of flexibility, and is likely to use it during the performance appraisals, negatively.
Power is always with those with money. We must not forget this fact. In PMBOK, they call it as the political capital. Ideas and opinions must not be evaluated by the sheer merit of it. We must look at the source of it as well. When an high power, high interest stakeholder is forcing a stupid decision on project decisions, as a project manager we are supposed to explain the pros and cons of that decision, record it, and the final decision is always the clients, as long as it is not in violation to the professional ethics of the project manager. Is it not, being emotionally intelligent. Ultimately, customer is the owner of the product, not the engineer / project manager.
The mapathon project by Google may run into trouble as it is against the laws of India (enterprise environmental factors). As per PMBOK, a project is supposed to follow the laws of the country in which it is executed. Going by that, this project by google could be heading towards trouble, at least in India.
I am just thinking aloud. One of my assignments calls for coaching a team on how to deliver better value to the customer using agile projects. If I am scheduling high value features / themes in the early iterations then the team will be delivering maximum value early in the project and it will taper down over a period of time. Do any one out there use a value burn down chart (sounds very negative and useful) during product, release planning?. Just curious to know.
This is a great case to demonstrate how the high interest – low power stakeholders can become high interest – high power, when they unite together. In this case instagram is forced to roll back it’s decision to claim intellectual property rights to the photographs published at instagram. Somebody’s loss is other’s gain. Some new entrants are capitalizing this opportunity as well. Abort: Instagram Restores Key Section of Terms Back to 2010 Version http://www.petapixel.com/2012/12/20/abort-instagram-restores-key-section-of-terms-back-to-2010-version/
I already blogged about the relevance of ‘being proactive’ and ‘begin with the end in mind’, the first two of the seven habits of highly effective people in project management. The next is putting first things first. A peep into cyclomatic complexity is of value here. A bug, when detected and corrected within the phase of it’s injection is cheaper to correct. As the lag increases between the phase of injection and the phase of correction, the cost increases exponentially. Another concept which connects well here is the cost of quality. When we invest in certain prevention activities also known as price of conformance, then we save a lot of rework also known as price of non conformance. Most of the prevention activities are important but not urgent, hence gets postponed, inviting lot of extras which could have been avoided.
Proper project planning is one activity which takes a back seat very often. It is generally considered as a formality, hence done without proper attention. Every project is unique hence every project plan must be unique, hence cut and paste plans will not work out well. The project manager must have the inclination to sit down and think through the whole project and develop the plan according to the project strategy that is evolving out of the thought process. This is the beginning of pitting the first things first. Then comes execution of the plan which will ensure that you are doing the right things in the right sequence.
Good luck. Put the first things first. If you have not read Stephen coveys the seven habits of highly effective people, please do so, which will provide you with greater insights about the whole idea of the seven habits. A must read.
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals. After pro activeness, and ‘begin with the end in mind’ comes ‘put first things first’. This is the basis for effective planning. Whatever is adding value to the deliverable (goal) of the project we must do, and other nice to do things which are not really adding much value to the project we must give low priority. If we apply the 80-20 principle (80 percentage of the value comes from 20 percentage of the activities), to project management management activities, the 20% of the activities that gives 80% of benefits are;
- Accuracy of estimates (time, cost and scope)
- A realistic plan to achieve the project goals
- Motivated and committed team
- Smart metrics to know the status and trend of the project, towards goal achievement
- Effective risk management
- Application of the relevant tools and techniques
- Ability to stop doing the non value adding stuff
Knowledge and skills required
In order to develop a realistic plan, one should have the knowledge of;
- Integration management
- Time management
- Cost management
- Scope management
- Communications management
- Risk management
- Quality management
- Human resource management
- Procurement management
These will act as a good checklist to ensure that your plan is complete in all aspects, and to ensure that you are not doing anything which do not add any value to the project under consideration.