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Three Common Project Schedule Killers
By Preben Ormen

While there is risk, uncertainty, doubt and considerable unpredictability associated with many, if not most projects, there are things you can do up front to minimize the negative impacts. By thinking about the project in a certain way, you can set your project up for success at the beginning.

The way to think about the project is as combination of five parts with a sixth kicker. It goes like this:

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology
  • Fun

Strategy

Strategy refers to the approach you select for your project. The easiest way to think about this is simply which methodology you will chose. Sometimes this is a given, but not always.You need to come to terms with strategy because it influences the way the organization, the project and you solve problems and deliver value.

Structure

Structure refers to formal and informal relationships between people and things – think of it as shapes and forms.. Structure drives behavior in powerful ways so you need to understand what this looks like and what you can do to impose useful structures of your own on top of what is already there.

People

People refer to people who can be employees, contractors, volunteers or whatever. You need to understand the people component because they carry out processes, manage technology, formulate strategy, and operate within a structure—or fail to do one or more of those activities.

Process

Process refers to structure in a sense, but it is the detailed parts of the overall structure of an organization. Processes guide and often determine outcomes categorically. They contribute directly or indirectly to the success or failure of the other components. We like the deterministic aspect of processes when the outcomes are good. When they are not, we look for ways to make changes.

Technology

Technology is a tool. It provides support for the other components. Depending upon the function of the technology, it can be key to success or more peripheral and in the background. Sometimes competitive advantage can come from technology. Other times it is just something you need to have and use well in order to keep up and stay in the game. When it works, technology helps drive the organization towards its goals. When it doesn’t, it hinders it.

Fun

Fun means fun and while it isn’t usually talked up much in business literature, it is given high fives in creative milieus. it is pretty clear that the best creative solutions tend to come from people having fun. Staid business organizations may look at fun as something frivolous that takes time away from the serious business of business. This is a mistake. It is important to create a looser attitude and more relaxed organization if you want good creative outcomes and avoid burnout when things get intense. And especially technology centered projects have a tendency to get very serious and intense. Having fun can take the edge off even if other things cannot be o easily changed.

So there you have it. Six things ot consider to set you project up for success. I’m sure you can see that there’s a lot more below the surface of each of the individual topics. But have some fun with it and you’ll no doubt come up with creative solutions of your own.

Preben Ormen has over 35 years experience with a wide range of businesses, teams and cultures from around the world. He has experience in SAP, IT Governance, procurement, system selection and integration, and performance and process improvements. You can read more from Preben on his blog, you can follow him on Twitter, and you can contact him via LinkedIn.

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