Monday, September 16, 2013
Made infamous by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield's "Unknown Unknowns" quote:
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know..."
Uhhh.... Do you know what he's talking about??
Sounds like a lot of gibberish, but it's actually very sound logic that's better explained using the "Johari Window".
One of the primary goals of project management is communication. And a big part of achieving that is making sure information is 'de-siloed', or clearly spread ACROSS departments and 'silos' of organizations.
Take a look a the graphic above with Four Quadrants: Open, Hidden, Blind, Unknown.
Open: The upper left window "Open" (shaded in yellow) is where we want information to be. If everyone knows about it, they we'll all make better decisions together.
Hidden: That's information I have that others don't. That's dangerous to others, because they may make a decision with incomplete information because I have not shared it. The goal of that information is to move it "up" into the open window by sharing it with others
Blind: That's information that I don't have, but others do. That's dangerous to me, because I make a poor decision because I don't have important information that someone else has. The goal of Blind is to move it to the left, also into the "Open" quadrant by others sharing the information they have with the team.
Unknown: Of the four quadrants, this is the ONLY area we can't do anything about. Things like natural disasters, terrorist strikes, etc. fall into this category and there's not as much as we can do about them, except in the most general sense like disaster recovery planning, etc.
Bottom Line: A cohesive team is constantly working and ever diligent to move "Blind" and "Hidden" facts and information up and to the left into the "Open" quadrant so everyone on the team is working from a complete set of facts and making sound decisions.
Put it into Practice: What are you doing as a project manager or team member in your organization to move out of the "Blind" and "Hidden" into the "Open"?
Until next time...
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Project Management is evolutionary.
PM has been around since the ancient Egyptians built their pyramids. As time has progressed and we gained more tools (PERT, project scheduling software, etc.) what it takes to 'efficiently' practice/execute project management has evolved. So too, as the needs of the job have changed such as compliance and work place personnel issues (that Egyptian PM didn't need to deal with unions or counsel low performers on a documented improvement track). Being a 'well rounded' PM now includes a lot more than it used to. Just peruse the table of contents in the PMBOK.
I believe that because our tools, techniques, and the demands of the job change so too does our definition. We are also becoming specialized in areas such as government, health care, manufacturing and construction (your Egyptian predecessors would be proud). So our definition evolves with our changing environment. I think our profession maturing and adapting to demands all the time.
This is a good thing. I doubt the definition of a buggy whip manufacturer has changed much since the 18th century.
Not sure what you mean by "mature." Usually, it refers to the expected ratio of what's currently known and understood to everything there is in the field to know and understand.
By that definition, I'd consider the field to be well into its adulthood. Most of the issues that come up in projects have nothing to do with gaps in what's been published and available on the subject of project management. They have to do with practitioner and stakeholder failures to master their roles in the process; poorly chosen analysis and design methodologies; insufficient budget ... issues that are very real, but that don't reflect on the question of what is known.
A lot of this discussion seems to have centered on the ratio of "art" (I'd call it "street-smarts") to "science" (I'd call this part "book-learning"). Because there are all those pesky human beings involved whenever there's a project to manage, I'd say this is a stable 50/50 or thereabouts and isn't going to change. So if more science = more mature, the field will never progress beyond its adolescence.
Having managed large projects in corporate America and now managing projects in the Academic world, provides some insight into how you might measure maturity. It is my belief that project management as a whole may be mature; however, if the industry, or organization using the processes does not embrace them completely, it requires a project manager that is capable of situational project management.
To explain this in more detail: Successful project management stems from a resourceful, innovative project manager who can adapt the theories and practices to the organization. As one individual stated above, there is a need for evolution. I'm not so sure that it is the practices or the processes, but more the project managers adapting those elements to the situations, the organizations, and the needs of the projects.
In my humble opinion, IT project management is more of an art. The PMI and technology have provided some tools, but it is the individual's talent rather than the tools that make for successful projects. Consequently, project management will continuously evolve. Managing a COBOL project in the 80's was different than an ERP project in the 90's or today, which is different again for the other types of projects today. There will never be a maturation, only an evolution.--Norm Brumbergs, Infosys
In my opinion, there are elements of art and elements of science. It is definitely not a pure science (Do to the fact that it does not use the scientific method purely, ej. observation, experimentation, hypothesis, etc). It is an art because there are so many subjective variables, each company and project and different and each PM is different.
How mature is it? Its tools have evolved, the method has evolved and administration is evolving continuously. To me the answer is relative, compared to what to itself? to other disciplines? It has come a long way, but advancing o never ending road. Thats what makes it interesting!!
If you look at the place where project management priciples got started. Departement of Defense. If you have any experience in DOD, you see it is very mature and is made to be flexible for software and hardware. You would see that is has been around since the 1950's. Maybe a little earlier.
Now, if you refer to the dynamically changing software and IT development methodologies, honestly, the basic methodologis have been modified to fit business policy and goals. From the claisic waterfal to Agile to Scrum, and other variations, they all use the basic PjM methodologies, but with iterations, modified gates, focus on feature delivery. But most of these are reflections of the plan that reflects the business goals of the organization.
Project Management to me is a exactly what the definition says. It is the application of knowledge, tools & techniques to meet the project objectives. This is supported by the progressive ellaboration concept which makes it evdient that this application has to improve as the project progresses through the various process groups and respective processes.
Ironically, we all have experienced in the real world that we as project & program managers have to make several adjustments to the theoritical project managemnt and create a working project managment methodology which depends on the culture of the organisation & the geographiy where the project is been undertaken.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
+ On-site cost
/ 8 hours/day
= Hourly On-site Travel
Trips per month cost
/ 4.2 weeks in a month
/ 40 hours in a week
= Travel Costs per hour estimate
/ 8 hours per day
= On-site hourly estimate
Friday, September 4, 2009
"Despite its official founding in August, the Manhattan Project really began on September 17, 1942 when Col. Leslie Richard Groves was notified at 10:30 a.m. by Gen. Brehon Somervell that his assignment overseas had been cancelled. Groves, an experienced manager who had just overseen the collosal construction of the Pentagon, seized immediate and decisive control. In just two days he resolved issues that had dragged on for months under Compton. On September 18 Groves ordered the purchase of 1250 tons of high quality Belgian Congo uranium ore stored on Staten Island, and the next day purchased 52000 acres of land to be the future site of Oak Ridge. Groves was promoted to Brigadier General on September 23. By September 26 Groves had secured access to the highest emergency procurement priority then in existence (AAA).
The era of weak, indecisive leadership was over.
Groves' pushy, even overbearing, demeanor won him few friends among the scientists on the Manhattan Project (in particular a special enmity developed between Groves and [scientist Leo Szilard]). Many detested him at the time, considering him a boor and a buffoon. It was only after the war that many scientists began to appreciate how crucial his organizational and managerial genius was to the MED [Manhattan Engineers District, aka Manhattan Project]. "
The Army clearly recognized that in order for projects to succeed, project managers need real power and authority and that must be visible power and authority. Project Management has existed for thousands of years. The recent trend of relegating project management to what often appears to be a clerical timekeeping and book keeping function is something new. I believe that this is due to pressure from government agencies that require contractors to have established formal project management systems and to achieve CMMI certifications or ratings of at least level 2. Within the past decade, corporations such as General Motors have been requiring their suppliers to follow formal project management processes.
A shortcoming of the CMMI evaluation process is that it does not measure results. It only looks at documented processes. The evaluation process does not assess the quality of leadership. In that sense, the maturity of Project Management is not the issue. The real issue is the maturity of the company in its adoption of Project Management principles.
I find the notion of Project Managers grovelling and begging for resources, project sponsors, charters and reasonable schedules to be both detestable and laughable. Organizations that expect low-level project managers to accomplish miracles without adequate objectives and resources are doomed to fail. Organizations that do not respect and appropriately compensate the profession of Project Management are doomed to poor performance.
- Contributed by Constantine Kortesis - Thanks!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"Does anyone really know what project management actually is?"Simple question, right? Nope! This has been the most popular 'discussion' (read: debate) on that networking site since it was launched about a month ago. This discussion/debate has more than 3x the comments then the #2 debate. And to add to the point, the #2 discussion is "There are no IT Projects".
"Few people agree on how to plan projects...It's not surprising then that the planning-related books in the corner of my office disagree heavily with each other...But more distressing than their disagreements is that these books fail to acknowledge the the other approaches even exist."
Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- less than 35 hours/week
- 35-44 hours/week
- more than 44 hours/week
- Private Business/Company
- Government Employee
- About half (49%) of 'self-employed' people work more than 44 hours/week
- More than a third (38%) Private Business & Government workers work more than 44 hours each week
- Less than a third (30%) of Non-Profit workers regularly work more than 44 hours/week
Don't say I didnt' warn you...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
- "The Law of Raspberry Jam",
- "The Lone Ranger Fantasy",
- "The Potato Chip Principle".
Monday, August 24, 2009
"And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new."
Nicolo Machiavelli c.1505