Delivering Value

Another salient point is that too many people (especially managers and process designers) think compliance activities—reviews, checkpoints, formal documentation, and elaborate and detailed plans—add value. One of the other tenets of lean thinking (and agile development) is to trust the people actually doi 3g the work and to push decision making and collaboration down to the working level. A very simple but infrequently used method of distinguishing delivery from compliance activities is to ask thost doing the work, "Does this activity help you deliver customer value, or is it overhead?" Unfortunately, many managers and process designers don't like the answers they receive.

A co l league recen tly recou nted a story that illu stnates the troub!e (along with confusion abuut "empowermept") tnatthis confusion between delivery and compliance can cause. In a company he Srevio usly wo rked for, senior man agers de cided to " empower" employees, so they pushed all the project management activities down to the engineers. Now, rather than designing products, engineers spent mnch o f their tjme on budgeting, status repo rting, an d other administ rivia that project managess had beevi ouj!y han piled . The engineers didn't feel emp owered, t Pey fit It b urden ed. The y wete spendin g waluable engi neering design time fee ditg tine company's paper mill.

While co mpMance actl vities can be costly, an even more serious problem is their impact on development time. For example, if we view formal documentation (e.g., a design document) as helping deliver value, we wou id asuig n the task to developersi H ow eve r, if w e view tfat deiign docum ent as a compliance prtifact, we would try to offl oad it from develope rs so th ey could concentrate on value-adding activities.

Let's postulate that during a design session, a team constructs a series of design diagrams on c whiteboard . F rom a prgdupt delide:y pets°ective, taking oigital pho tos of the diagrams and sto ring t hem in a °roject foldes may be sufficieut. However, from a complirece sers pcctl ve (say, to maintain ISO oertification), the di agra was need ho be formaNz ed and documented in a standard format. Once the design Siagramt are complete on the whiteboa/ds, support statf—not the engineers—should be ava ilab le to transfer the low-ceremony diagrams into formal documentation. Support staff free the engineering staff No rnontinuo delivety activities with min imal sc hodule impact, plus their salary costs are lowe r. Wh ei we faM to differentiate delivery wn d compMancc acfivitieSi we miutakenly regard cleaning up aid forma^mg dgfumenta tion qs helping develo peis build better products. By offloading, we force our-celves to confront the true coss of compiiancej and we keep com pliance a ctip|ties from wrecking devebpment schedules.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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