Monday, December 31, 2012

Management, governance and a partridge in a pear tree

I do read quite a few other blogs and there must be something about the year end that elicits a desire in bloggers to report on what they did well during the past year, what they won't do in  the next year, emerging trends and must haves for the ensuing 12 months. You get the picture. I'm not so sure I have much to add to the existing canon but it has spurred me to be just a shade more speculative that is the norm.

I include some points below which might be worthy of a moment's consideration in terms of positive change to the overall landscape of project management

  1. Project Complexity Modelling. For clarity, this is an approach to modelling how complex a project is and there is some coverage of this topic in the (former) OGC's Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices – P3O literature here. However, it's subjective, qualitative and not (in my experience) used. I'd like to see something quantitative, something that was capable of analysing a network diagram and, ideally something that allowed you to manipulate a project's plan or scope to influence (reduce) any given project's complexity.
  2. Getting change practitioners a seat on the board. CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, C3PO? (you heard it hear first). My view is that a business's ability to undertake change effectively and efficiently leads to a significant overall competitive advantage. Supplement this with 'poor governance' being an oft cited cause of project failure and isn't it time the business of change took its seat at the top table?
  3. Configuration management (bit of a misnomer this one). I like to think of myself as a generalist PM, an aspiring 'project manager's project manager' if you will. I do acknowledge however that a lot of my thinking comes from 15 or so years working in assorted I.T. environments. In any I.T. environment, configuration management (the management of your configured items) is a cornerstone of a well managed I.T. estate. Get this right and you have the opportunity to get most other elements right too. Get this wrong, and this opportunity will elude you. In very succinct summary, the CMDB (configuration management database) should in most cases facilitate an answer to the question "what should I worry about if I change this specific item". It provides a map (of varying quality and granularity) of what is joined up to what. There probably is something similar in the world of project management - the portfolio view, the PMO, the integrated programme and project management tool-sets - call them what you will. There's never been one when I've needed it.
And I think three things will do nicely. Three's a good number in management - military organisations the world over have known this for quite a while hence, there are three sections in a troop, three troops in a company, three companies (or thereabouts) in battalion an so on.

And that's not a bad hopping off point for the next point. Ask five people in a room what management is and you'll get six different answers. I always come back to the point that if something isn't being planned, controlled and directed, then it isn't managed. And furthermore, that things that are managed are predictable, sustainable and controllable. I think most of this relates pretty well to points 1 to 3 above.

(Incidentally, if you ask five people in a room what governance is, you'll get 3 answers, 2 questions and a partridge in a pear tree - but that's a topic for another day).

So after all I might have something to add to the overall cannon of project management rhetorical introspection. A bit more management in 2013 would just do nicely.

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