"We made this commitment to the client and must fulfill it." Who Says. The project manager.
Interpretation. Someone has challenged the project's validity (rightly or wrongly) or attempted to add scope to the project based on new information. In the absence of formal oversight of such requests, the project manager has decided to defend the project. She probably feels that she is judged based on whether she delivers on time, on budget, on spec, and within quality constraints. This dynamic occurs in organizations that haven't learned that project execution is subordinate to project relevance. Organizations that become fixated on technique will frequently fall prey to this miscalculation. In such circumstances, project managers quickly learn that career growth depends on blind devotion to the above parameters, regardless of whether the business truly benefits from the work or the client was justified or reasonable in her original demands. Meeting one's commitments is laudable only when the commitments make sense. Several problems can be deduced from this statement:
• Demands and resulting commitments were made in a vacuum.
• The client's needs have not been previously challenged.
• No formal process exists to evaluate whether changes in scope or requests for project termination are valid and support the business.
• The project manager has no way to save face when challenged.
Expect serious amounts of money to be expended before the project fails due to lack of relevance to the business.
Solution. Remove the stigma associated with project redefinition by emphasizing and communicating the importance of considering the business benefit of proposed changes over traditional and rigid measures of project success. Raise the visibility of the decision-making process by holding regular portfolio management meetings to review project status and discuss issues, and communicate meeting outcomes in a timely fashion. Enable broad-based input and buy-in by ensuring that all projects are vetted by a centralized and empowered governance body with the capability to see the larger picture, assess organizational capacity, and support ongoing initiatives before making commitments.
Benefit. A more agile and adaptive organization results because the organization is able to constantly reevaluate its needs and adjust quickly in order to save resources. Staff support course changes because they recognize the underlying business rationales. Issues are aired and resolved before they become severe and staff feel the need to engage in "hiding behaviors." Clients are not allowed to become too powerful, to the extent that their wishes are never challenged.
• Emphasize and communicate the importance of considering the business benefit of proposed changes over traditional and rigid measures of project success.
• Hold regular portfolio management meetings to review project status and discuss issues. Then communicate meeting outcomes in a timely fashion.
• Ensure that all projects are vetted by a centralized and empowered governance body with the capability to see the larger picture, assess organizational capacity, and support ongoing initiatives before making commitments.
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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.