Planning for Success

Hello, and welcome to all project managers, not bmps. My name is Sergei brodkin. I am a certified recovering project manager and this is my advanced project management course. Welcome back. This course is about project management to the zero and introduction to a new hybrid methodology that brings together all best practices accumulated over the period of 100 plus history of project management as we know it. Here’s why project management is important today. This knowledge provides your organization with the ability to change survive and grow in this complex and changing global economy and volatile world and thus stay competitive. And successful organizations are looking for good project managers. And if you are a good project manager, this course will give you a chance to become a great manager. And if you’re serious about improving your performance and performance of your business, and you apply what you learned right away, you will see positive changes almost immediately. Good to hear. So where do we start you may ask, I am assigned to a new project and I want to make the delivery spectacular. Today we will talk about how to start the project from the right foot. That is to lay the foundation of your project success. The planning phase is the most important phase of any project. I use planning to just lighten the text and this whole story and to stay close to the Deming circle sequence which is plan do check act. In reality there are several things included in planning and traditional project management. I suggest that it consists of several phases and several gates. But we do not need this overhead and project management to the zero as long as we maintain project management to the zero approach overall. Regardless of the methodology, there are things in project managers and project management that are must haves and there are things that I must avoid if you want to succeed. I looked at the project famous statistics on the web and that’s when the idea of Mary Anna Karenina came to mind not marrying her personally but marry her to somebody that you know, and you will learn who is the lucky guy is in a minute. But paraphrase a little Tolstoy for now, the he’s opening words from his novel Anna Karenina, we may safely summarize that all successful businesses are alike, each unsuccessful business is failing in its own way. In other words, successful projects share common sets of attributes which lead to success, while any of them a variety of factors can make a project struggle for survival. Thus, this undercurrent in principle states that deficiency in any form a number of factors, dooms a project to failure. Consequently, a successful project is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided. Try this for a change, put the lesson on pause and ask each other what were the reasons why projects failed in your company, write them down on the whiteboard. And most probably, you will come up with those deficiencies which are like follows unclear requirements, lack of top management support, poor communication, poorly defined goals at scope change, scope, creep, lack of project visibility, unrealistic expectations, poor estimates, inadequate risk management and so on. You may run out of space here because the complete undercurrent in the list of project deficiencies leading to failure is really long. But with some variations depending on the nature of your business, it is almost identical from company to company. And this is exactly where we will make this marriage proposal I mean from vilfredo Pareto to under Karenina. The list deficiency as everything else in real life can be prioritized as the tail many in the vital few in this course, which is very short, we can only focus on the 20% that of the factors that will define your success 80% of your success. And those 20% of the factors most probably will be requirements, top management support and project communications. Almost everything else can be rolled up into this three categories and they are Some of your projects will be pretty determined at this stage. Now that we have successfully married the two nice people, we will continue along this path I mean not marrying but focusing on the vital few. If you want to go deeper than the vital few, you are always welcome to my site, which is open 24 seven and you will read more about project management to the zero on that site. If you ask a certified recovering project manager, what are the SI iba critical factors of project success, you will most probably hear requirements, requirements and requirements. And there is only a grain of joke in this truth, incomplete or unclear requirements are the ultimate root cause of project failure. And we may rightfully split them into sub categories and actually have maybe three sub categories like technical requirements, project management requirement and business or strategic requirements. technical requirements are self explanatory, they must be clear, but other than that there is nothing to talk about here in project management course. Let’s now talk about the most common requirements project management requirements or project management triangle that we mentioned before. As this is an advanced course, you probably know what project management triangle is all about. or in the worst case, you can easily find it on the web. Here is one counterintuitive detail that you may need to know, when starting a project. Any project you must determine at the outset, which of the three project constraints you must respect in order to call your project a success and which one of the three you are willing to drop. Yes, you will inevitably blow one of the constraints to drive it home. Let’s log this as the Pro Tip of the day. When planning your project, budget, timeline and scope, you have to decide before you even start your project, which of the three you’re going to borrow, doesn’t sink in. Consider another triangle a very real life one, the triple requirements of a dream job, think of a dream job. And most probably you will agree that your dream job should be well paid, exciting, and legit. Now think about your own job. And most probably you will admit that at best, it meets two of the three criteria. If you have a job that meets all the three criteria, share it with the rest of us. Likewise, of course, let the rest of us here if you have ever delivered the project safely within the triple constraint. And if you demonstrate an exemplary delivery, with full scope, under budget, and ahead of time, then most probably your project has been luxuriously overestimated, and is probably inefficient as a business venture. And this is not what project management two dot zero is about. And by the way, here is another pro tip for you sounds like we’re having a field day today are looking for really experienced project manager to run a critical project. Do not look for someone who has a so called proven track record of delivering on time on budget and preschool. That can only mean that he has never managed a challenging project or he’s lying or both. Come to think of it. counterintuitive as it sounds, but if you are required to have a complicated surgery, and you are looking for a surgeon you should not consider a surgeon with a clean record like with zero fatalities. That would probably mean that he refused to take on any complicated cases. I wouldn’t fancy being his first the seasons project manager as they call them will probably know that the in order to deliver project successfully the project manager must go beyond the project management triangle to be certain about the constraints that you are willing to relax you have to understand what is the purpose of your project? It is most probably rooted in the strategy of the company but why are we doing it what is the why of your project and you have to figure that out before you start any real work on the project. There may be several reasons why the project exists and possible strategic reasons are the obvious make profit and other one is also very common is to kick out the Competition, and another one could be research and development to test the new technological solution on the real market. If the Why is clear, then the project manager will be able to take correct strategic and operational decisions on the spot. What makes things complicated and for project manager in particular is that there are always two reasons why something is being done. One is a good one, and the other one is the real one. So the project manager has to figure out the real reason and for political reasons. Your sponsor may not want to share it with you, but you have to find it out. And if it is possible, the best case scenario, you have to include the purpose of the project in the project charter, the one most important document of your project. Now, what is that about? You may say, another written document, God forbid, printed out and signed. We’re all a giant and lean and green all over the place. What are you talking about? Well, yes, that is my message from pm two dot zero. Project Charter is a very important document and might as well sometimes be printed and signed. It’s like projects birth certificate, and you are now a foster parent. By the way, congratulations, in our age, with everything already computerized, almost entirely paperless. And now contact less, I am sure all of you do have your birth certificates in physical form, stored somewhere in a safe place. Likewise, project charter is a very important document. Project Charter isn’t the pm book as well. And perhaps you had project charter as mandatory document in one of your previous rules. If you still have this aftertaste, because it’s usually a huge document. That is because it was before you learned about the project management to the zero version of this document, which is project charter is a one page document, which defines the project goal constraints and possibly the true purpose. Although the project charter, technical and theoretical is the Authorization Document that you receive, from your sponsor, authorizing you to run the project and to use the necessary assets and funds. In reality, this document really exists. But if you want to improve the chances to succeed, you will write it yourself and have it signed by the highest manager who has a vested interest in the results of your project. This manager is your real sponsor the signature on the chart that indicates that this person has some serious skin in the project game. You may be surprised to learn that when you try it with the boss who told you that you are now a project manager or the project manager Actually, he will refuse to sign it. Even worse, he may push it one level down to one of his reports. And that’s a very bad beginning for your project. Because now your project profile is lower and you have considerably less chance to be prioritized for resources and everything else that you may need run in your project. Bottom line, you must make sure that the charter is signed by the right person and with the right details. Thus, the project charter ties together all the three key things that you need to take care of when starting the project. There are project constraints, project strategy, and project communications because project charter is basically your first document that you use for communication with your team and with other stakeholders. The project charter has yet another important function, at least for us sitting here today. It concludes today’s session, which was planning for success in project management to zero. Your main takeaways from the sessions are define the project constraints, define the true purpose of your project and create the project charter which will have the first two items properly documented and signed by the highest manager who has skin in your project that will guarantee 80% of your project success. I’ll see you in a week. And next week we’re going to talk about estimates and why those estimates that you get from your own team are almost always wrong. But they will finally be correct when you do it with project management to the zero approach. See you in the Question and answer one question and one answer today. So here’s the question you see multiple hats is worth multitasking while many people multitask successfully. Why then we hear that people with ADHD who may be considered continuously multitasking by default, are often more successful. My short answer to this question is multitasking of any shade is a fallacy. In most cases, it is just an attempt to demonstrate one’s business and importance in many cases is the manifestation of one’s inability or unwillingness to concentrate on something special single target and remain focused for the day or until you deliberately change your focus. Even if you are forced to focus on multitask on several tasks, which is the case and the problem for many managers is when you are even forced to do that you reduce your efficiency considerably, not increase it for at all. If you look at this graph, you will see that whenever you have a task to accomplish, even with the smartest brain, you need time to ramp up and eventually ramp down. When you normally work, you ramp up, then you reach your optimal level of performance. And stay there until you decide to switch your attention to something else. And if you switch it once a day, you stay close to 100%, but never 100% productive. But if you are a manager and you’re multitasking, actually not multitasking if you’re a manager and you are interrupted during the day, because you’re wearing several hats, your productivity is way below 100%. But it could it could be necessary when you are deliberately multitasking. Believe it or not, most of the time you spend is spent on ramping up and ramping down. And so it’s not a surprise, it shouldn’t be a surprise in the end of the day that you are exhausted but have achieved nothing. Although many people secretly admit that they enjoy being crazy busy because they feel important and requested and so on and so forth. serious, serious research, nevertheless demonstrate that people with ADHD are not different from anybody else. Productivity wise because our brains are more or less made of the same material and wired the same way. And it’s called in high def it may be called a simplex system, which means that nobody can realistically focus on two things at the same time. And nobody can meaningfully maintain two conversations at the same time. Of course, there are some peculiarities about the ADHD affected individuals. But I am a certified recovering project manager not a certified psychologist. That’s why I can only suggest what I know from my own experience for once. They haven’t this condition may be used to the way their brain work. And that’s why they’re less frustrated in the end of the day. And that’s serious. And other difference is that they happen the people with a DHD happened to be more sensation seeking as individuals and as compared to the general public. And that’s why quite a few of them end up as entrepreneurs of some sort. And finally, for whatever reason, their brain may be considered an overclocked clocked processor, which does not necessarily make them more productive, but in a way they manage to analyze more information per second and distinguish the 20% that will lead to 80% of their success and but that is beyond project management, even project management to the zero. And with this, I wish you a very hyperactive week. And we’ll see each other again in a week from now.