Provocative thinking from the field.
Most project management books and training focus on instilling capability through diligent repetition. But whether capability ever leads to results depends upon something more. Let’s call it Agency — instinct and knowledge embodied in the moment into productive action. The difference between agency and capability is the difference between fact and theory, reality and projection.
From its slow but steady emergence as a recognized profession to its growing presence in business, government and academia, the practice of project (and program and portfolio) management continues to evolve. Here are six significant advances over the past 25 years.
On new development projects, uncertainty harbors opportunity. The challenge in evaluating each opportunity’s potential value is to replace vague assumptions with informed, quantifiable probabilities. Project portfolio management tools and techniques can help.
Processes inform action and instigate perspiration. Rituals invite reflection and stimulate insight and inspiration. Processes can become meaningless when the purpose behind them gets lost. Rituals can help inject purpose. Which of your current project’s tasks might be candidates for ritualization, and how does it actually work?
It takes a community to bring a project to coherent conclusion, but no project achieves community without first discovering an identity that everyone involved can recognize. Sleep-inducing PowerPoint presentations packed with milestones and deliverables can’t do the trick. What can? Well, withered turnips, kimonos and other visual metaphors have worked for others. Can you discover your project's identity and, most important, share it?
Creativity and sound project management processes are not mutually exclusive. History’s most innovative artists were still guided by disciplined methods; so, too, today’s creative project managers, and most of them haven’t lost an ear in the process.
New product development doesn't get done with paper and pen any longer. Nor is the back of the napkin the preferred receptacle for brainstorming. While the creative process is still fundamentally messy (and human), managing it efficiently is vital to business success. How can project portfolio management contribute?
When recruiting team members, you can help even the busiest or most reluctant prospects find their project within yours. In Part III of our Developing Project Community series, the author explains his journey from half-hearted beggar to fully engaged listener, and how a brief, open conversation can win deeper involvement from participants.
Why do many would-be champions of process, from project managers to the executive ranks, seem to follow an ad hoc approach when it comes to their own responsibilities? In a new series on “making project management work,” editorial board member Mark Mullaly tackles the contradiction, and the reasons behind our resistance.
In the first installment of his new series, editorial board member David Schmaltz lays the groundwork for “discovering project community,” and discusses how the concept differs from traditional team approaches, including the pitfalls of over-responsibility and an “us-versus-them” mentality.