Navigating Performance Measurement in Projects and Programs: Striking a Balance

Projects ultimately aim to achieve both an output and an outcome, effectively serving as the means by which organizations deliver their strategy. Assessing performance is paramount for success. However, the challenge lies in identifying the right metrics to evaluate progress effectively. Let’s explore the key considerations for measuring performance and ensuring meaningful outcomes in your project endeavors.

The standard view for project success criteria is on time, on budget, and to specification. I also add with low risk and high communication and coordination. But these are primarily process measures. They assess how well we are managing the project process. What we should be doing is measuring the outcome. How did the people, process, product, profits, or indeed the planet benefit from this project?

Setting Goals and SMART Objectives

A crucial starting point in performance measurement is setting clear goals and objectives. Utilizing the SMART criteria—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—ensures that objectives are well-defined and aligned with overarching project objectives. By articulating precise targets, teams can focus their efforts and track progress efficiently.

Tracking Performance and Progress

Measuring performance allows teams to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement. Tracking key metrics and milestones enables project managers to assess whether initiatives are on track to meet objectives and deadlines. Moreover, it provides stakeholders with transparency and accountability, fostering trust and collaboration throughout the project lifecycle.

Beware the Tyranny of Goals and Productivity

While it’s crucial to set goals, it’s equally important to maintain equilibrium and avoid succumbing to the “tyranny of goals.” The relentless pursuit of productivity metrics can sometimes overshadow the holistic aspects of project success. Teams must prioritize quality over quantity and remain adaptable in the face of evolving circumstances.

I’ve observed instances in projects where individuals invest an excessive amount of time discussing something that is standard practice. For instance, client onboarding is typically standardized in any reputable Trust and Company Services Provder. Therefore, spending countless hours and resources deliberating a standard process may not be cost-effective. It might be more prudent to adhere to industry standards, ensuring consistency and compliance with best practices, rather than allocating significant resources to something with minimal benefit to the organization or the customer. In this context, it’s essential to clarify the goal—is it merely functionality, or are you striving to extract added value from it?

Acknowledging Differences: Waterfall vs. Agile

It’s crucial to recognize the distinctions between waterfall and agile approaches. The waterfall methodology establishes the goal upfront, and all efforts are directed toward achieving that predetermined objective.

Conversely, in agile methodology, the goal may be less precisely defined and undergoes continuous evolution. This approach involves identifying opportunities and, at times, pivoting in a different direction based on changing circumstances that may offer greater profitability, effectiveness, or value.

Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution regarding the rigidity of goals and intentions. Are we pursuing a broad set of principles or a specific outcome? Are these goals flexible statements of direction, philosophy, or ambition? Each methodology requires distinct performance measurement strategies tailored to its unique characteristics.

I frequently find myself asking clients, “What exactly are we hoping to achieve here?” This inquiry is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the context and the broader picture to inform decision-making.

Measuring Outputs, Outcomes, and Impact

When assessing performance, it’s essential to distinguish between outputs, outcomes, and impact. Outputs refer to tangible deliverables produced by the project, while outcomes represent the intended results or changes achieved. Impact, on the other hand, signifies the broader, long-term effects of the project on stakeholders and the organization. By evaluating performance across these dimensions, teams can gain a comprehensive understanding of their project’s success.

– Reduced processing time or cycle time
– Increased revenue or sales
– Cost savings or decreased expenses
– Improved profit margins
– Enhanced customer satisfaction scores
– Higher retention rates for customers or clients
– Increased market share
– Improved employee productivity or efficiency
– Enhanced product or service quality
– Successful adoption of new technology or systems

Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

Amidst the complexities of project management, flexibility and adaptability are paramount. Agile methodologies emphasize continuous improvement and responsiveness to change, allowing teams to adjust goals and strategies as needed. By embracing a mindset of flexibility, teams can navigate uncertainty and drive meaningful outcomes in their projects.

In conclusion, measuring performance in projects and programs is a multifaceted endeavor that requires careful consideration and balance. By setting SMART objectives, tracking progress, and acknowledging the nuances of different methodologies, teams can effectively evaluate performance while remaining adaptable to changing circumstances. Ultimately, a holistic approach to performance measurement enables teams to achieve their project goals and drive impactful change.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver
I help people, teams and organisations set and achieve goals. Supporting the critical thinking and creating the resources and environment for success.

I am a Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager with over 30 years experience in supporting personal and business change. I was responsible for the incorporation (privatisation) of public sector entities, and as well as being a Gold-Medal winning GB Rower I have also coached business and sports teams to success.

My expertise is in systems, methods, product and process improvement, often getting involved in technology change and data-governance and post merger-and-acquisition integration. My experience spans Technology, Banking, Retail, Public Sector and Charities.

Typical feedback from my work setting-up A Project Management Office and Change Teams is.. Tim’s style, manner and pragmatic approach has been very valuable. His contribution will have a positive and lasting effect on the way we work as a team.

MBA Management Consultant | BeTheBusiness Mentor | ICF Trained Coach | AMPG Change Practitioner | Prince2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills | Mediation Practitioner | 4 x GB Gold Medalist

Rethinking Success: People v Processes and Goals v Habits

In the game of Monopoly, victory isn’t solely determined by the pieces you play or the strategy you devise. Instead, success hinges on the places you acquire and the unpredictable roll of the dice. Similarly, in life, business, and community endeavors, we often find ourselves fixated on the individuals involved, the tangible objects at play, and the pursuit of specific goals. However, perhaps it’s time to shift our focus towards the underlying habits and processes that shape our outcomes.

Too often, we become enamored with the people leading the charge, the latest technologies, or the pursuit of ambitious objectives. Yet, much like Monopoly, the reality is that chance plays a significant role, and the pieces themselves lack inherent character or skill. What truly matters is the framework in which these elements operate—the processes and contexts that influence our journey.

Consider the analogy of farmers nurturing crops. They don’t rely on motivational speeches or charismatic leadership to make carrots grow. Instead, they focus on creating the optimal conditions for success, ensuring that all the necessary prerequisites are in place. Similarly, in our personal and professional lives, success often stems from cultivating the right habits and fostering meaningful relationships.

It’s essential to recognize that success isn’t solely about achieving specific milestones or outperforming competitors. Instead, it’s about embracing the journey—the “stuff in-between” that shapes our experiences and outcomes. This perspective encourages us to prioritize process over outcome, relationships over individual prowess, and context over isolated events.

In a world that often glorifies individual achievement and tangible results, it’s easy to overlook the transformative power of habits and processes. However, by adopting a more holistic approach—one that values the journey as much as the destination—we can cultivate sustainable success in all aspects of our lives.

So, the next time you find yourself fixating on goals or idolizing individuals, remember the lessons of Monopoly. Success isn’t just about the pieces you play or the places you land—it’s about the habits you cultivate, the processes you embrace, and the relationships you nurture along the way. It’s time to shift our focus from the outcome-driven mindset to one that celebrates the journey and the power of habits and processes to shape our lives for the better.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager. Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

Embracing Agile Development: Striking a Balance Between Flexibility and Structure

In a recent insightful conversation, I found myself delving into the age-old debate: should we adopt a waterfall approach or dive headfirst into agile development? What emerged from this discussion was a compelling perspective that seeks to marry the best of both worlds.

Traditionally, the waterfall approach entails meticulously defining business needs, functions, and expectations upfront, often resulting in exhaustive documentation before any development work begins. However, what if we could capture the essence of this approach while still embracing the iterative nature of agile methodologies?

Imagine a scenario where we craft a comprehensive project or product description, akin to a detailed story but more intricate than a user story. This document serves as the blueprint, undergoing rigorous discussions, edits, and amendments until a consensus is reached. It delineates the outputs and outcomes expected from the initiative, laying a solid foundation before any development kicks off.

Enter the Scrummer-Fall hybrid approach—a pragmatic solution that blends the structured framework of waterfall with the adaptive nature of agile. Once the blueprint is finalized, the agile/Scrum process takes over, allowing for iterative cycles of design, development, and review. This iterative approach enables flexibility, accommodating deviations and changes as needed while ensuring that the project remains rooted in a well-defined scope.

By marrying the structured approach of waterfall with the flexibility of agile, organizations can strike a delicate balance between certainty and adaptability. Developers gain a sense of continuity and clarity, while customers benefit from a process that remains open to change and evolution throughout the implementation phase.

In essence, embracing agile development doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning all semblance of structure. Instead, it’s about finding a middle ground—a hybrid approach that fosters collaboration, transparency, and agility while maintaining a solid foundation to build upon.

Let’s embark on this journey of agile transformation, embracing change while staying grounded in purpose and clarity.

Tim HJ Rogers

Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager

Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#AgileDevelopment #Scrum #Waterfall #HybridApproach #SoftwareDevelopment #ProjectManagement

Resilience v Antifragility

“Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder” is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, published in 2012. It presents a groundbreaking concept that stands in contrast to the fragile, something that is harmed by volatility, stress, and disorder. Taleb introduces the term “antifragile” to describe systems, things, or entities that, unlike merely being robust or resilient, actually benefit and grow stronger from shocks, volatility, randomness, and stressors.

The book is part of Taleb’s five-volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, titled the “Incerto,” which also includes “Fooled by Randomness,” “The Black Swan,” and “The Bed of Procrustes.” “Antifragile” extends the ideas of understanding and dealing with uncertainty, risk, and randomness introduced in his earlier works.

Taleb argues that in order to thrive in an unpredictable world, one must understand the nature of antifragility. He explores how certain systems, including biological entities, economic and financial systems, and even personal life decisions, can be structured or approached to benefit from disorder. He criticizes modern societal and economic practices that aim to eliminate volatility and unpredictability, showing that this can lead to fragility and catastrophic failures when unexpected events occur.

Key concepts include:

  1. Antifragility vs. Robustness: Unlike robustness, which implies resistance to change without necessarily benefiting from it, antifragile systems improve when exposed to stressors, shocks, or volatility.
  2. Via Negativa: A principle suggesting that improvement and growth often come from removing things rather than adding new elements. This can apply to personal habits, medical interventions, technology, and policy-making.
  3. Optionality: The value of having options and choosing actions without being constrained by initial conditions. High optionality allows for taking advantage of positive unforeseen outcomes while minimizing exposure to negatives.
  4. The Barbell Strategy: A risk management strategy that involves taking both extremely conservative and extremely aggressive positions, avoiding the middle ground. This approach minimizes downside risk while allowing for significant upside potential.
  5. Skin in the Game: The idea that exposure to risk for oneself (having “skin in the game”) is necessary for fairness, commercial efficiency, and risk management, as it ensures that decision-makers are personally impacted by their decisions.

Taleb’s work on antifragility has influenced various fields, including economics, finance, risk management, and decision-making strategies. It challenges conventional wisdom on managing risk and encourages embracing uncertainty and disorder as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Documentation and getting the balance right.

Some folks revel in the fine details, while others favor a more concise approach. You might be someone who appreciates thorough documentation, or maybe a meaningful conversation is more your style. Ultimately, the value lies in what the client desires and is willing to invest in. Some may appreciate extensive documentation, whereas others might prefer a straightforward discussion.

This is the reason I’ve compiled a selection menu – I’m eager to discover what resonates with you. I’m in the process of designing a picklist for clients to precisely indicate their preferences regarding deliverables.

What suggestions do you have for additions or removals from these lists?

MOST COMMON ARTIFACTS

  1. Project Initiation Document: A foundational overview that outlines the project’s objectives, scope, and stakeholders.
  2. Business Case: Documents the justification for the project based on its estimated cost, benefits, and risks.
  3. Project Plan with Tasks, Milestones, and Dates: A detailed schedule listing all project activities, key milestones, and their respective timelines.
  4. Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies Log: A comprehensive record tracking potential risks, assumed conditions, current issues, and project dependencies.
  5. Weekly Project Update: A summary report detailing completed tasks, ongoing activities, upcoming tasks, and any emerging issues.
  6. Monthly Steering Committee Report: A high-level update for sponsors and major stakeholders, summarizing project status, achievements, and challenges.
  7. Vendor Meeting Coordination: Facilitation of discussions with suppliers to align on design decisions and the delivery of required components.
  8. Weekly Communications Update: A regular update, possibly in the form of a newsletter or infographic, summarizing key project news and progress.
  9. Budget Update: A financial report detailing current spending against the project budget, highlighting any variances.

OTHER PRINCE2 ARTIFACTS

  1. Product Description: Details the characteristics, purpose, and criteria of the project’s deliverables.
  2. Change Log: Records all requested changes and their status, helping manage project scope and changes effectively.
  3. Quality Register: Lists all planned quality checks, outcomes, and actions taken to ensure deliverable meets defined standards.
  4. Lessons Log: A repository of lessons learned throughout the project, used to improve future projects.

OTHER SCRUM / AGILE ARTIFACTS

  1. Product Backlog: An ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product, prioritized by value to the customer.
  2. Sprint Backlog: A set of items selected from the Product Backlog to be completed during the sprint, along with a plan for delivering the product Increment and realizing the Sprint Goal.
  3. Product Increment: The sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a sprint and all previous sprints, which must be in a usable condition.
  4. Definition of Done (DoD): A clear and concise list of criteria that the product increment must meet to be considered complete.

Tim HJ Rogers

Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager

Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

ABOUT MY BUSINESS

My approach is to blend my expertise [Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager] with the strengths of our partners, ensuring that we consistently deliver high-quality, tailored solutions to our clients. My Associate approach not only fosters a dynamic and collaborative environment but also maximizes the value we deliver to our clients and partners alike. There is an optimum combination of factors or qualities which help people and organisations transform. It is a blend of listening, challenging and sharing and comes from expertise, experience, curiosity and a passion to perform. I deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

Which hat have you agreed to wear?

It’s feasible for an individual to take on multiple roles in a project, but it’s crucial for everyone involved to clearly understand their specific role and the expectations associated with it. Misunderstandings and assumptions about responsibilities can lead to issues, emphasizing the importance of clear communication regarding roles, scope, and obligations, especially with contracted parties, for the success of the project.

Project management often encompasses more than just overseeing tasks; it can involve aspects of product development, team management, coaching, and consulting. This multifaceted role can lead to misunderstandings about its scope. To clarify, one might compare a project manager to an orchestra conductor who doesn’t play the instruments or choose the music but ensures the performance runs smoothly. In contrast, a product owner or developer is akin to the composer, creating the content but not conducting the performance.

Project assurance is another distinct role, focusing on addressing business and technical risks to deliver the project on time, within budget, and according to specifications, ensuring it meets both narrow technical and broad business requirements. This is separate from the day-to-day management tasks of a project manager, which include managing people, tasks, funding, and reporting on progress, as well as facilitating discussions on changes.

Understanding these roles – project manager, product owner, project assurance, along with others like Scrum master, coach, and consultant – helps clarify responsibilities and allows for the creation of hybrid roles to suit specific needs, acknowledging the reality that individuals often wear multiple hats in project execution.

  1. Project Assurance: Ensures projects align with business standards and objectives while managing risks and quality.
  2. Project Management: Oversees the planning, execution, and completion of a project, ensuring it meets its goals, deadlines, and budget.
  3. Scrum Master: Facilitates and supports a Scrum team, ensuring adherence to agile principles and practices for efficient project delivery.
  4. Product Owner: Defines the vision and priorities for the product, representing the end-user’s interests and requirements.
  5. Coach: Guides teams and individuals in developing their skills and achieving their personal and professional goals.
  6. Consultant: Provides expert advice in a specific area to help organizations improve their performance and achieve their objectives.
  7. Developer: Builds and creates software applications or systems based on technical design and specifications.
  8. Test Manager: Oversees the testing phase of the development process, ensuring the product meets quality standards and functions as intended.

Both PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) and Scrum Agile methodologies define specific roles that contribute to the structure and success of project management. These roles are designed to ensure clear communication, responsibility, and accountability.

Here’s an overview of key roles in each methodology beyond those already mentioned:

PRINCE2 Roles

  1. Executive: The single individual responsible for ensuring that a project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. The Executive represents the interests of the organization funding the project.
  2. Senior User(s): Represents the interests of those who will use the project’s outputs. Senior Users are responsible for specifying the needs of those who will use the project’s products and for the user acceptance of the final product.
  3. Senior Supplier(s): Represents the interests of those designing, developing, facilitating, procuring, and implementing the project’s outputs. This role is accountable for the quality of products delivered by the supplier(s).
  4. Project Board: Comprised of the Executive, Senior User, and Senior Supplier, the Project Board is responsible for providing overall direction and management of the project.
  5. Project Manager: Oversees the planning, delegation, monitoring, and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, and risks.
  6. Team Manager: Responsible for the production of the project’s products, managing the production team, and reporting to the Project Manager.
  7. Project Support: Provides administrative services to the Project Manager, dealing with project paperwork and offering guidance about the PRINCE2 methodology.

Scrum Agile Roles

  1. Development Team: A group of professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable Increment of “Done” product at the end of each Sprint. A Development Team is made up of 3–9 individuals with cross-functional skills who do the actual work (analyze, design, develop, test, technical communication, document, etc.).
  2. Product Backlog Refinement: While not a role, this is a key activity in Scrum involving the Product Owner and the Development Team. The activity is where the Product Backlog items are reviewed and revised. It is a collaborative effort to ensure that the backlog remains populated with items that are relevant, detailed, and estimated.

Additional Agile Roles (Not Specifically Scrum)

  1. Agile Coach: Helps teams implement and improve Agile practices and methodologies. An Agile Coach is more experienced than a Scrum Master and often works with multiple teams or at the organizational level.
  2. Release Manager: In some Agile implementations, a Release Manager is responsible for the process of managing, planning, scheduling, and controlling a software build through different stages and environments; including testing and deploying software releases.

Both PRINCE2 and Scrum Agile methodologies emphasize the importance of clearly defined roles for the successful delivery of projects. Each role has specific responsibilities and is crucial for the smooth execution of project tasks and achievement of project objectives.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager
Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

The perils of pricing innovation and the dangers of fixed-price promises

In the dynamic landscape of business, where innovation and agility are at the forefront, the approach to pricing, especially in contracts involving novel or complex deliverables, is fraught with challenges. This is particularly true for projects within lean startups or those with a significant technological innovation component, where there is scant historical data to inform cost and time estimations. The allure of fixed-price contracts, with their promise of budget certainty, can quickly become a perilous pitfall for both providers and clients when venturing into uncharted territories of product development.

The Complexity of Novel Projects

When dealing with projects that aim to bring something entirely new to the market, or when the project team is navigating the development process for the first time, the uncertainty multiplies. This dual novelty—of the product itself and the team’s inexperience with it—complicates the ability to accurately predict the project’s trajectory. Unlike replicating or slightly modifying existing products (like baking another chocolate cake following a well-trodden recipe), innovating (such as creating a never-before-seen dessert) lacks a clear path or precedent, making fixed pricing not just difficult but potentially misleading.

The Dangers of Fixed-Price Promises

Fixed-price contracts, while seemingly offering a safety net of predictability, often lead to a minimization of committed deliverables within that price cap. Anything beyond the initial scope typically triggers change control processes, inflating costs unpredictably. This scenario is not uncommon; vendors may underbid to win contracts, fully aware that the actual requirements will exceed the scope of their initial quote. They rely on subsequent change requests to recoup costs and secure profits, exploiting the gap between the client’s expectations and the evolving reality of the project’s needs. This practice not only strains client-vendor relationships but also introduces significant risk and uncertainty into projects, countering the very premise of fixed-price stability.

The Gap Between Hope and Reality

The stark difference between the hopeful optimism of a fixed-price contract and the practical realities of project execution cannot be overstated. The initial low price becomes a mirage as the true complexity and evolving nature of the project come to light, often leading to a reassessment of needs and a surge in costs due to changes. This gap represents not just a financial or operational challenge but a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of innovation. Innovation, by its very nature, is exploratory and uncertain, making any attempt to rigidly define its cost and timeline at the outset a gamble.

Navigating Forward

The key to managing the inherent uncertainties of innovative projects may not lie in avoiding fixed-price contracts altogether but in fostering a deeper understanding and flexibility within them. This could involve:

  • Dynamic Pricing Models: Adopting pricing models that allow for adjustments based on project milestones, emerging requirements, and unforeseen challenges.
  • Transparent Communication: Ensuring open lines of communication between clients and vendors to manage expectations and address changes proactively.
  • Collaborative Risk Management: Sharing the risks associated with innovation, possibly through contracts that balance fixed and variable pricing elements based on project outcomes.

In conclusion, while fixed-price contracts offer the allure of budget certainty, their application in the context of innovation requires careful consideration. The unpredictable nature of developing novel products or services demands a more flexible, transparent, and collaborative approach to contract structuring. By acknowledging the perils of fixed pricing in innovation, businesses can better navigate the complexities of bringing new ideas to fruition, ensuring that the journey from concept to reality is marked by partnership rather than contention.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager
Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

A Balanced Approach towards a reliance on Process for Success

In the rapidly evolving landscape of project management and coaching, understanding and adapting to various methodologies is crucial. Whether navigating through the structured phases of the Waterfall model or the iterative cycles of Agile, the essence of success lies in leveraging these processes to our advantage. However, in a world characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA), striking the right balance between process adherence and flexibility becomes paramount.

Waterfall vs. Agile: A Brief Overview

Waterfall is a sequential project management approach where each phase must be completed before the next one begins. This method is known for its structured nature, making it suitable for projects with well-defined requirements and where changes are less likely to occur.

Agile, on the other hand, is an iterative approach that promotes continuous collaboration and flexibility throughout the project. It allows for adapting to changes quickly, making it ideal for projects where requirements are expected to evolve.

Understanding VUCA

The VUCA framework highlights the challenges and opportunities presented by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. It underscores the need for agility and adaptability in decision-making processes, urging leaders and teams to develop resilience and strategic foresight.

The Gambler’s Fallacy and the Idea of Double or Quits

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the erroneous belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future, or vice versa. In project management, this fallacy can manifest in risk assessment and decision-making, leading to flawed strategies based on past outcomes rather than rational analysis.

The concept of Double or Quits is a risky gamble where one continues to double the stake in the hope of recouping lost resources or achieving a significant gain. This approach can be perilous in project management, as it may lead to escalating commitments to failing courses of action.

Philosophical Views on Process

Processes are essential for providing structure and clarity in both project management and coaching. They facilitate communication, coordinate resources, and define roles, goals, and controls. However, there’s a philosophical debate on the extent to which processes should govern our actions. While they are invaluable for governance and ensuring that activities are carried out systematically, there’s a risk of becoming overly reliant on them, potentially overshadowing the ultimate objectives.

In project management, whether in a Waterfall or Agile environment, the process serves as a roadmap. Yet, the dynamic nature of today’s VUCA world necessitates a shift towards more agile methodologies, where minimum bureaucracy and overhead allow for flexibility and rapid response to change.

Similarly, in coaching, processes like the GROW model offer a structured approach to achieving goals. Yet, the essence lies in the co-creation of meaningful plans that are responsive to the client’s evolving needs.

The Balance

The key is to find a balance where the process aids rather than hinders progress. Lean methodologies and the concept of “Genchi Genbutsu” (go and see) advocate for a reality-based approach, emphasizing the importance of observing and understanding the situation firsthand rather than relying solely on reports and dashboards.

In conclusion, while processes are indispensable for organization and efficiency, their ultimate purpose is to serve the project or coaching objectives, not to become an end in themselves. In our VUCA world, the ability to adapt, to see beyond the process, and to focus on outcomes is what will define success. Let us embrace processes, but also remain vigilant to ensure they do not become our shackles.
Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager. mTogether we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

Business Plans And Planning

1. What Typically Goes into a Business Plan

A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the foundation, strategy, and financial projections of a business. It serves as a roadmap for the business’s growth and is often used to secure funding from investors or lenders. A typical business plan includes:

Executive Summary: An overview of the business, including its mission statement, product or service offerings, and basic information about the company’s leadership team, employees, and location.
Company Description: Detailed information about the business, including the problems it solves, its target market, and competitive advantages.
Market Analysis: Research on the industry, market size, expected growth, market trends, and analysis of the competition.
Organization and Management: Information on the business’s legal structure, management team, and the organizational structure.
Service or Product Line: Details about the products or services being offered, including information on product lifecycle, intellectual property, and research and development activities.
Marketing and Sales Strategy: How the business plans to attract and retain customers, including pricing, promotions, sales channels, and sales strategies.
Funding Request: If seeking financing, details of the funding requirements, future financial plans, and proposed use of funds.
Financial Projections: Includes income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets for the next three to five years. This section should also include a break-even analysis.
Appendix: An optional section that can include resumes, permits, lease agreements, legal documentation, and other relevant documents.

2. Compare a Business Plan with a Business Strategy

Business Plan: This is a document that outlines the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. It is very detailed and usually covers a short to medium-term period (1-5 years). It is often used to pitch to investors or banks for funding and serves as a roadmap for business operations.

Business Strategy: This refers to the high-level plan or set of decisions that aim to achieve competitive advantage and effectively manage resources to achieve long-term goals. It’s more about the direction in which the business wants to go and how it will compete successfully in the market. Business strategy is more about the “why” and “what” part of the goals, focusing on long-term growth and sustainability rather than the detailed “how” of day-to-day operations.

3. Compare a Business Plan with Business Canvas

Business Plan: As described, it’s a detailed document covering various aspects of the business, including market analysis, financial projections, and marketing strategies. It’s text-heavy, detailed, and designed to be presented to external parties like investors and banks.

Business Model Canvas (BMC): This is a strategic management template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It’s a visual chart with elements describing a company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. The BMC helps businesses to align their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs in a more accessible and understandable way. Unlike the traditional business plan, the BMC is succinct, covering key components of a business on a single page, which makes it easier to understand and adjust quickly.

In summary, while a business plan provides a detailed blueprint of how a business intends to achieve its goals, including financial forecasts and detailed market analysis, a business strategy outlines the overarching approach to winning in the market. Meanwhile, the Business Model Canvas offers a high-level, visual overview of the key elements of a business, focusing on how various parts of the business fit together rather than on the detailed operational or financial planning.

Download Jersey Business’ Business Plan Template
https://www.jerseybusiness.je/guides/business-plan-template/

Business Model Canvas (BMC)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Model_Canvas
https://medium.com/seed-digital/how-to-business-model-canvas-explained-ad3676b6fe4a

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager
Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

ABOUT MY BUSINESS
My approach is to blend my expertise [Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager] with the strengths of our partners, ensuring that we consistently deliver high-quality, tailored solutions to our clients. My Associate approach not only fosters a dynamic and collaborative environment but also maximizes the value we deliver to our clients and partners alike. There is an optimum combination of factors or qualities which help people and organisations transform. It is a blend of listening, challenging and sharing and comes from expertise, experience, curiosity and a passion to perform. I deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands

Navigating the “What” and “How” in Agile User Stories: A Guide for Complex Domains

In the world of Agile software development, crafting user stories is an art that balances between specifying the needs (the “what” and “why”) and leaving room for technical creativity (the “how”). This balance is crucial for fostering innovation, leveraging developer expertise, and ensuring adaptability. However, when dealing with complex domains, such as insurance or finance, the traditional approach to user stories can present challenges. How do we ensure that our user stories are clear and informative without dictating the solution? Let’s explore.

The Essence of User Stories

User stories serve as a bridge between the end users’ needs and the technical solutions that fulfill those needs. They are fundamentally about the “what” and “why” – what the user needs and why they need it. This focus encourages a collaborative approach to problem-solving, inviting developers to contribute their technical insights to find the most effective solutions.

The Challenge in Complex Domains

In domains where technical teams may not have inherent domain expertise, the risk of misinterpretation or oversimplification of user stories increases. The intricacies of insurance policies, financial regulations, or healthcare protocols can’t always be intuitively understood without detailed explanation. This gap necessitates a nuanced approach to writing user stories, one that provides clarity without compromising the Agile principle of empowering teams to determine the “how.”

Striking the Right Balance

To navigate this complexity, consider these strategies:

  1. Provide Domain Context: Enhance user stories with sufficient background information. This doesn’t mean dictating the solution but rather ensuring the development team understands the domain-specific challenges and terminology.
  2. Define Clear Acceptance Criteria: Detailed acceptance criteria can offer a roadmap of what success looks like without prescribing how to get there. This includes outlining business rules, data requirements, and expected outcomes.
  3. Leverage Supporting Documentation: Where necessary, supplement user stories with documents, diagrams, or explanatory sessions that bridge the knowledge gap, ensuring the team has a comprehensive understanding of the problem space.
  4. Foster Collaborative Discovery: Engage in practices like “Three Amigos” meetings, where business analysts, developers, and testers collectively explore and refine user stories. This collaboration ensures a shared understanding and innovative problem-solving.
  5. Incremental Detailing: Offer detailed insights into the “how” through iterative discussions, backlog refinement, and sprint planning, rather than embedding it directly into the user story. This approach maintains flexibility while ensuring the team has the necessary information to proceed.

Conclusion

In complex domains, the art of writing user stories demands a careful balance between providing enough context to ensure clarity and leaving sufficient room for technical innovation. By focusing on the “what” and “why,” supplemented with strategic detailing where necessary, we can empower Agile teams to excel even in the most intricate fields. This approach not only leverages the collective expertise of the team but also ensures that solutions are both innovative and aligned with user needs, driving success in projects that span the spectrum of simplicity to complexity.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager
Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

#people #process #performance #projects #programmes #pmo #change #processimprovement #projectmanagement #changemanagement #workshops #mediation #coach #icfcoach #mentor #facilitation #training #jersey #channelislands