I'm preparing for two "project management in libraries" presentations in May/June at upcoming conferences. In describing project management, there are essential basics, including the "iron triangle" or "triple constraint" of scope, schedule, and budget. These three areas are each represented by chapters and knowledge areas in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
In an excellent ProjectManagement.com presentation, Dr. Blaize Reich of Simon Fraser University provides project managers with some approaches to move beyond the triple constraint approach. As Dr. Reich points out, the triple constraint isn't the current, first measure of success - rather, it's on value delivery. She describes the work that she and three other research colleagues have undertaken in measuring project satisfaction based on triangle/triple constraint targets and on perceived value (by customer) - and emphasizes that these measures are correlated, but only weakly in some cases.
Dr. Reich then focuses on three innovations to improve value:
All of these value-enhancing approaches take time (design thinking, for example, requires a period of times from hours to a small number of days to define the problem space). With schedule pressure, these more methodical approaches can be a difficult sell in the organization.
I viewed a timely projectmanagement.com presentation on the need for project managers to embrace innovation. This is behind the PMI/projectmanagement.com paywall, but I encourage those of you with access to watch this presentation and consider the presenter's (Dennis Stauffer, of Innovator Mindset) arguments.
Stauffer compares the status quo and innovator approaches and mindsets. Across positions and to a great degree as a project manager, I personally have worked in an implementer role, with a focus on the detect and correct loop. While this isn't bad in and of itself, Stauffer compares the innovativeness scores (using an instrument created by IM) of individuals across some industries with value add - and emphasized that most of the value add comes from those working on the higher end (70-100) of innovativeness.
Okay, okay - Stauffer takes a more extreme approach in the session when describing the attributers of the status quo and innovator mindsets. Here's a subset of examples:
Status quo: Argumentative, frustrated, blaming...
To get to the presenter's core argument: The high-level flows of the status quo and innovative approaches are similar (both with Idea, Action, Reality, Feedback phases in a loop). The PMBOK Guide approach is valuable, but taken too far, it can undermine innovation (specific example that came out during the Q&A session, the overcommitment of resources to knowledge management and documenting lessons learned).
Stauffer suggests that the project manager should embody innovation. Ask questions instead of making declarative statements; embrace feedback (including negative feedback - which the presenter depicted as a key indicator of effective innovators).
I hope to take the IM instrument soon to determine my own innovativeness score and to learn more about Stauffer's research. Can I ask more questions and make fewer declarative statements? It's an interesting test for me....
One of the challenges that I have in communicating with colleagues on project management is the amount of valuable and intriguing content that's behind a paywall for full access - particularly, PMI PMI ProjectManagement.com materials.
A happy exception in the risk management area is this Dr. David Hillson 2013 presentation on risk management (YouTube, 45 minutes).
A couple of specific takeaways:
I've spent some time recently going over the PMBOK Sixth Guide, Sixth Edition PMP training materials created and published by Velociteach. At the same time, I'm using Mike Bissonette's book Project Risk Management: A Practical Implementation Approach to gain a deeper understanding of risk management. How can the PMBOK processes, including the tools, be leveraged to improve on project risk management?
The current PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition, has this Risk Management process structure:
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"Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one's arguments. Weaknesses overlooked in oral discussion become painfully obvious on the written page.”