PM 2.0: Soft is Hard

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. Good to see you back. project management to the zero is the methodology with a focus on the soft stuff, which is people processes and company culture. Like compared to the last century project management project management as we know it, success is achieved by teams, not because of the strict monitoring, control, and material motivators, but rather through team alignment and common values, I am certain that very soon all management will be based on the same principles and on the same approach. And by that time, you will be already well ahead of the pack. By that at the same time project management to the zero is not for everybody and not for every project. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Also, as we may have called it already, I have called it already new approach. Well, everything new is nothing but a well forgotten old. So this new approach may be actually a collection of best practices that we have from PMI methodology or from lean from agile from six sigma, or whatever else will was on the menu of the day. But it doesn’t really matter. What do we call it that what matters most is what do we make out of it and we’ll try to do our best in project management to the zero, not a surprise that I find it very useful and very appropriate to step back in time and retrieve Edwards demings ideas and which are practically the root of all the improvement ideas that we may still be having today. In particular, I suggest using his PDSA like cycle for project management as well. PDSA stands for as a as an option plan, do study adjust, let’s shift the focus a bit and make the project cycle as plan, optimize, do and learn. In case of a one off project the cycle will be a straight project timeline consisting of these four phases. But if you run projects on a regular basis, the PDSA life cycle must become an integral part of your management style, putting you and your team on the path of continuous improvement. Even if you are already excited about the new approach, pm to the zero as much as I am the hybrid Pm 2.0 is not for every project that we can read in the Pim Bock to after many years of mutual PMP edge dial denial. The suggestions in the current version of the project management book of knowledge is tailor both traditional and agile tools, techniques and methods for each project. Good thinking, but how to figure out what is the right mix. My approach to the issue as always, is through the Pareto rule. Although as the PM, you will still have to figure out what would be the depths of the peretta application. Let’s talk more about it. If you are managing a software project that is only a few hundred or a few thousand man hours, and does not affect safety and life of its users or has environmental impacts you can go agile 100%. Moreover, you are guaranteed to succeed I mean you will be successful in project management terms, I suggest that you just cannot fail. The idea is that you can deliver 80% of the expected functionality by applying only 20% of the expected effort. And if you do that you’re doing great, you’ll have plenty of room to improve your software. And this approach is preferable in software because by the time you finish the 80% it’s highly probable that the customer will come back with some new ideas and that will be about the right time to implement them without much change. However, taking the opposite extreme like sending the crew change to the International Space Station that will be 100% traditional waterfall project because you cannot suggest 80% safe delivery of the crew you will not be able to guarantee 100% either but you will be investing all possible effort to get as close as possible to the hundred percent because we value our lives more than anything else. And while the spec and scope remain stable and you do not need any more flexibility waterfall will get the best. So trust me, nobody at NASA, or in CSA will agree to use any shade of agile methodology when preparing the next flight, try to convince me if that’s not true. And if we graph all our projects on the two axis risk and stability, we will get four quadrants like this. There is no clear watershed between the two methodologists. In fact, there is a broad green line between the methodologist. In the end that gray line broad gray line will be the pm to the zero area. And that goes somewhat diagonally on this chart, you as project manager will decide where to draw that line, and where on the chart your project will be located. To finalize the chart, the third quadrant here will probably contain something like building a new municipal building stable specs, scope is stable, no rush enough diamond budget, even if anything goes wrong. The last one here, it’s a high risk and rapid change, and they couldn’t come up with a good example. Perhaps a rescue mission. It could be planned as a project, but definitely will never be managed in the old way. Some rare but critical projects are like that. If you have a good example that we know. Even if the project is 100% Waterfall, you must always remember the importance of the soft stuff, people culture and teamwork. This is because one cannot realistically be a good manager ignoring the soft stuff, not where I live, where I live, where we all live. It’s called 21st century where we live, the traditional project management tools and techniques have not changed for high cost high risk projects. But the workforce already has changed. The way you treat your team undeniably impacts their engagement and thereby the result of your project for high risk project that may be crucial. Even if those projects are hundred percent strictly structured in the traditional way. Ever thought why there’s an air leak in the International Space Station, we may be in for a surprise when the root cause becomes known. One thing I want you to pay attention to. We’re almost done with the lesson. So we will now have a week to think about it and digest what we discussed today. Always remember, you are more the representatives of the new workforce yourself. And probably you expect to be treated differently. And I hope your manager knows that too. Regardless, the way you are treated starts with your own behavior. One thing I would strongly recommend to all of you to consider and drop once and forever the humble tradition inherited from the old school project management mentality that project manager has several hats wrong. If you are a real project manager, you have only one hat and that is the hat off project manager. Depending on the project you may select a different hat but that will be the pm hats hat anyways, perhaps just fitting in style, the project management environment that sure the hat must be comfortable to play several roles, but only the project management roles and you keep this hat throughout the project confidently for example, even in very agile environment, you may be assigned a project that requires a standard structured, rigid approach. Put on your old one zero cap if it makes sense. Once I was advised, instructed rather by my manager that I must personally do the final testing of the software we were shipping to the client. And in case he said if you care about your project, you will do it yourself as project management and then was like flabbergasted, right? That’s the word I was looking for. And that’s, I told him that if you think I have to do it, you go flabbergast yourself, because you’re undermining my QA people, among other things. And this is not what project manager is supposed to be doing. And the good thing and the most encouraging part of the story is, he agreed. He was a smart girl together. And he was a very good and a very dedicated engineer, a senior manager with maybe 25 years of professional experience. And he could be a very good case business case for our lesson number one, you remember the 80 hours work week as a manager. But as a senior manager with 25 years of experience, he was comfortable in an engineering hat in a technicians hat in the testers head, perhaps, maybe even he would think in project management heads, but not in the head of a manager. So I suggest to you, you always remember you had and were only one hat when you’re running the project. And now we’re done with the main course, with this lesson that is, and what’s left, I guess, is the dessert. As promised, here is a little homework for you. But you will see that it’s not difficult. And actually, it’s an enjoyable exercise, and therefore we can easily take it as dessert. We talked about the need to establish trust as the foundation of all your teamwork. And one of the ways to do it is to run the short exercise whenever you have your next regular team meeting. You may have seen all those icebreakers when strangers get together for the first time and Okay, you’re not complete strangers. But I know from experience that this discovery exercises help bring a team together. Here’s a simple recipe. Each team member has a couple of minutes to answer the following three questions. One, where were you born? And where did you spend your childhood today? Do you have any siblings and see share one dramatic episode from your childhood? The questions may vary. But you will inevitably learn something new about your team members, and thus will understand each other better. And that’s where the team trust starts. I had some very positive experience with this exercise. And plus, it’s a lot of fun, you will see. And that’s an important part of project management to the zero. We’re done for the day quiz, and questions and answers. See you in a bit. Ask questions, we have a couple of questions today that are somewhat interconnected. And I think it’s good to take these two questions. Number one, you suggest that project successful project management to the zero is better achieved not through their strict monitoring, control and material motivators. But through team alignment, how’s that possible? How is that realistic? Actually? Well, it is realistic, it is possible. I’ve been through it many times. And I know that it works. I do not suggest to drop monitoring and control. But I suggest to focus not on monitoring. But on the soft side, which is your people team development and process improvement, many managers as this question, because in order to believe it, you have to see it. And not all of us are lucky enough to have been through this new experience. But if you go the soft way you save on several things. One, for example is you don’t have to spend so much time monitoring because you have on the key deliverables, your team doesn’t have to spend so much time reporting to you. And actually before that happens, you have to spend a lot of time explaining to the team what needs to be delivered, and documenting it because otherwise you won’t be sort of legally able to control them unless you have had it all properly explained to them. So it’s a lot of wasted a lot of wasted time and effort and definitely demotivating while at the same time when the team itself knows what to do. They’re much more motivated. So actually, they your team, if it is really cohesive and effective team has to work as your hand when somebody throws a ball at you. If somebody throws a ball at you, you just hold your hand out. And then you have the ball in your hand. And you do not explain to every finger what needs to be done in when and have you done this, this and this and this? No, it just works because your fingers know what to do. And your team, if it is efficient has to be like your hand. And when everything knows what needs to be done, it’s very motivating. And it’s much more motivating than any monitoring and control. Which takes us to the second question. Isn’t money still the best motivator? No, it is not. Again, many managers asked this question because they haven’t seen anything else and you have to see it to believe it. And with monetary compensation, financial perks, it’s easy to calculate them and it’s easy to compare them. That’s why they are sort of more popular. But if you focus on the material compensation and motivators, you will be out of business. Consider this example. And it is not my opinion, there is enough research proven that if you pay your great Best Worker today $1,000 for the great job done, this worker will expect 1010 at least next week, because otherwise it’s not going to be the same effect. And if you do not pay, which is worse if you do not pay at all because you think well I paid once but it’s normal to to do the right. Good job. If you do not pay that will be demotivated next time, your great worker will not want to do what he or she had done just a week ago. So eventually we’ll have you’ll be out of business. And that’s life and think about it. Or let me know if you disagree. You have one week to do that, because that’s the end of our lesson today. And we’ll meet again in a week and in our next lesson, we will start planning our project using project management to the zero approach. See you in a week.