The Foundation—Before eCameron
People say it is tenacity that makes me good at recovering projects, some say my attention to detail, and others just think I have a penchant for headaches, heartburn, and working long hours. I am not sure if there is one reason. As for myself, I know I like figuring out how things work and fixing them—be it clocks or cars, printers or projects. After working on a variety of projects that were in a shambles, projects needing someone to put them back together, I have developed a process for fixing projects that also shows how their problems can be prevented in the first place—allowing you to get the highest value out of you vision—solutions that do not look at who might win or who to blame. They focused on doing the right thing.
People often fail to realize how many actions in work and our personal lives rely on negotiation. It could be negotiating a raise, setting up conditions about using a resource, determining a task's scope, or adjusting a delivery date. We do some form of negotiation daily. Even though we learn to negotiate at just about the same time that we learn to communicate, we rarely understand the science and art behind it. By establishing a process around negotiation, we maximize our chances for success. A process ensures that we understand the wants and needs of the person on the other side of the table.
Many organizations have only one methodology for running projects. However, nearly all organizations perform a variety of projects—deploying hardware, developing new products, changing internal processes, and running custom projects for customers. Some methodologies are much better for specific styles of projects. Therefore, organizations need a portfolio of processes that matches their portfolio of projects and their culture. Phasing, critical chain, agile all have valuable attributes that can be applied in specific areas.
The fate of a project is often sealed long before the first person is assigned or charters, contracts, or SOWs are written. Experience with auditing dozens of projects and doing root cause analysis projects has shown that corporate decisions, not project decisions, have a very larger effect. This presentation, designed for executives, PMO managers, and senior project managers, focuses on a number of techniques learned while recovering projects that greatly improve the chances for success. It introduces the concept of guidance teams that get involved with the project at the customer inception stage and follows the project and team through to its completion.
Whether you are a project or a functional manager, estimates are a daily part of your life. Team members need to make estimates for a variety of reasons, these include:
- The amount of time for a task.
- The cost for resources.
- The cost of software, hardware and other materials.
- The time required to finish a task.
Estimates for the annual cost of project failure are as high as two trillion dollars a year. The rates for projects being at risk are in the 60-70% range, and a quarter of all project's problems are so bad they are simply canceled prior completion. Preferably, all projects will run according to plan. However, moving from a 60% failure rate to 0% is unrealistic. To improve success rates, organizations must first understand what it is that makes their projects fail. Reasons range from methodology to human failure to lack of executive commitment. Taking a systems approach to analyzing projects uncovers all the factors that are contributing to the failure.