You may be asked at some point to take over a failing project. When joining a failing project, you will have to assess the people, processes, and tools. Today, I want to focus on processes.
When I join a failing project, the first thing I want to understand is whether the scope is clear? I look at the documented scope, but I also take time to understand what people believe the scope is. I frequently find there is a mismatch between what is expected and what is documented. At that point, we take the time to align on scope, clearly defining what is in scope as well as out of scope for the project.
When you have a failing project you are faced with the question of whether to perform project CPR or let it die. There are times when a project shouldn’t be resuscitated, even if it’s not failing.
I had a client that had spent $1.5 on an HCM implementation. They were faced with a product that wasn’t aligning to their needs and a software provider that wasn’t responding to the issues. As painful as a decision as it was, they decided to kill the project and go back out to market for a new solution.
Companies are faced with a need to constantly be evolving and improving in order to effectively respond to the market. This pressure to evolve usually results in a long list of projects the company wants to complete in order to stay competitive, improve profitability, or respond to regulations. When I joined the board of the PMI Mile Hi Chapter, there was a list of 20 great projects we needed to undertake in order to improve the value we were delivering to our customers and ensure we were staying relevant. The team tried to take on all 20 projects. At the end of the year, how many were delivered? None. Companies must reduce the number of in process projects. Do less to do more. Too many projects result in:
When I once joined a project as a recovery consultant, the organization had already spent $10 million on a Salesforce implementation. Despite the amount of money invested, nothing was yet in production. It was one of the top three initiatives in the company. One of the first things I do during a project rescue is to understand the project org chart. As the team was walking me through it, they mentioned that we were to meet weekly with the sponsors. Sponsors? As in more than one? On this project, there were three, each from a different department.
Being a team-building enthusiast and agile blabber-mouth allows me to participate from everything from executive meetings to dev. team ping pong tournaments and believe me when I say, I’ve had more fun in meetings than I have playing ping pong. I’ve been in meetings where everyone feeds off one another and we’re able to build, optimize, or plan something amazing. I’ve been in meetings I’ve looked forwards to and left feeling refreshed to go do more! Why won’t I forget those meetings? Because those teams were high-performing, self-organizing, powerhouses with leaders that gave them direction and guardrails. Some of the most engaging leaders and most amazing teams I’ve ever worked with were waterfall folks through and through. Continue reading
Walking into my boss’ office to tell him I was quitting was one of the hardest moments in my career. I was in tears. I loved my job. My boss was wonderful. My team was fun. The company was a great company to work for. But it was time to leave. At university I took the Myers Briggs test. I remember sitting in class, reading about the best careers for an ENTJ. There was one that stood out to me: CEO. That’s what I wanted. Over time I forgot though, distracted by different career options. In my MBA I took a project management course and discovered an entire career field just for me. I poured everything into project management. I began volunteering at the Project Management Institute, worked on finding a project management job, and in general lived and breathed project management. Life as a project manager was great, but there was still something missing. Continue reading
“Independence is the paradigm of responsible, I am self-reliant, I can choose.” – Steven R. Covey. Covey explained that “we come from a place of assuming that the way we see things is the way they should be.” As individuals, we are often so focused on our own paradigm – the way we perceive, view, understand, or even interpret our projects. This can influence the the steps, effort, resources, or budget decisions necessary to make those projects successful. Continue reading
When I hear teams are “doing scrum” or that an organization has “adopted agile” I like to dig deeper and understand the practices that are most impactful in delivering value. Over the years, different teams, leaders, and even coaches have interpreted and implemented dozens of methods to increase agility. This open interpretation aspect of the Agile Manifesto and Scrum Guide are intentional to allow space for each team or organization to adapt their processes and consequently skips over providing traditional structured guardrails.
….Or does it?
Dolphins can have conversations underwater, bats can see with sound, and birds breathe through hollow bones to fly. What if humans could do those things? Would it be worth evolving as a species to talk underwater or fly?
Would it be in our best interest to transform in ways suited for marine or avian life or is it better to simply evolve our existing strengths? If we take Darwin at his word, every species should evolve based on its environment, needs, and challenges, in order to thrive – not the needs, environment, and challenges of other species.
“Change management” and “sales strategies” are phrases not often used in the same sentence. They belong to two different professional worlds and it is doubtful that many change management consultants see sales techniques as important to their work. Interestingly though, when looking deeper into the concepts behind successful sales strategies, there are several important lessons that directly relate to an effective change management strategy. The following are four sales concepts that should be added to any change management consultant’s tool kit to improve their effectiveness with their clients: Continue reading