Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guiding the Team Through Surprise Free Execution

When effort is put into finding the reason for a project surprise it is essential to make sure that future projects do not repeat the same mistake. Work through solutions with the team, gain consensus and add them to the library of actions to be used for future projects. Some would call this library best practices. I choose to call it same practices to signify that things are done the same way, project after project. Many may argue about something being the best but no one will argue the benefit to predictability when projects do things the same way, with the same expectations and deliverable requirements.

In simple terms the same practices library objective is in reaching absolute clarity of the who, what, when, where and how of every activity. To be clear - this is not the tasks in a project plan, it is the nuts and bolts details of activities and deliverables for every project action. Think of same practices as the source of information necessary to enable full clarity of tasks, objectives and deliverables for everyone working on the project.

Where are these same practices kept and how do you make them available to the team without becoming a burden to the users? The least effective implementations tend to be those that have a best practices document on a shared project drive on the network. It's far better than nothing but it's not optimal for the team. The best implementations are those that are web 2.0 based and contain the process sequence, the people, the plan, the schedule and the documentation all in one simple point and click user interface.

Where there is an ineffective atmosphere in place to guide the development process and same practices, project surprises should be expected. The magnitude of surprises will be reduced with an emphasis on a comprehensive process sequence and deliverable expectations along with a simple environment used to relay this information to users. When full clarity of individual objectives and deliverables are met, surprises will fade. This is not rocket science; it's people science!

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