The Standish Institute has been publishing the Chaos Report for years which basically says that project outcomes fall short despite our best efforts to manage it. Proponents of PMI and Prince2 will debate their conclusions, and there are others out there who say that Agile is the answer to better project outcomes. While I’m a advocate of project management methodologies, perhaps we’re looking in the wrong place and the answer lies somewhere else.
When you think about life, one of the life’s truisms is that “stuff” happens. That whatever you plan for will likely not come out exactly the way you want it to. For those of you not familiar with the Butterfly Effect, it was developed by Edward Lorenz who is a big proponent of the Chaos Theory. The term comes from the suggestion that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in South America could affect the weather somewhere else in the world. Basically it is a term used to describe how small changes to a seemingly insignificant thing can affect large, complex systems. When we think about projects, there are so many things that could impact the success of a project that fall outside the general framework of project management. Perhaps successful project outcomes don’t depend upon your methodology, but on how you react to what happens?
Continue reading Rethinking Project Management and Chaos (The Butterfly Effect)
I was teaching class last night and we had a very lively discussion about Resource Management. Here was the scenario..
- A Project Manager and a Line Manager meet to discuss getting a team resource for the project.
- The Project Manager doesn’t like the team member that the Line Manager is going to give him.
- The PM and LM get into a disagreement as this engineer has spouted off in front of the customer on past projects, causing a LOT of trouble.
- The upcoming project demands a lot of customer interaction.
- The Line Manager basically says too bad. He agrees to attend the PM’s meetings to ensure the engineer stays in line, but during the first few meetings, the LM is a no show.
- The engineer ends up calling the customer inept in a meeting, and the customer threatens to reevaluate the contract.
What could you have done as the PM to prevent this from happening?
Continue reading Out of Control Team Member – What would you do?
Thomas Juli – Contributing Expert
Project managers all need and thrive for successful projects. But what exactly does project success mean? Is project success the successful and timely delivery within budget? Or is it the path to glory? Do results always matter the most? What else does project success mean? And what does it take to achieve project success? Does success fall from heaven? Is it limited to a lucky few who happen to be in the right place at the right time? Is it coincidence? Or can we actually plan success?
Continue reading The Five Principles of Effective Project Leadership