It starts with an executive need: a new market evaluation; improve operating margins; a game-changing technology; your competition is eating your lunch. Whatever the reason, a project is how an organization translates an executive strategy.
The ability to scope and deliver a project is a competitive advantage. The best organizations realize project management capability as a strategic differentiator, the lagging organizations only staff project management skills within Information Technology departments.
What is a project:
- a project has a definitive beginning and end;
- a project is a temporary effort, specifically to create a unique product, service, or result;
- a project is not part of business operations, but can develop capability and become part of operations
Note: Do not confuse temporary with short duration and do not confuse temporary as something that does not, ultimately, becoming operational once the project stabilizes or is delivered i.e. a new facility or new production technique
I have come to rely on using the term portfolio planning to describe the translation of strategy to a group of project options an organization can undertake. By using a portfolio view, projects are prioritized using the same risk and return criteria capital expenditures and other financial or strategic commitments are evaluated.
Risk Rots From the Head Down
C-level business executives fully understand financial risk and when I link a portfolio of projects as organization risk then projects take their place as business drivers and begin to reveal that the capability to deliver projects is an organization risk.
- Organizational planning impacts the projects by means of project prioritization based on risk, funding, and the organization’s strategic plan.
- Organizational planning can direct funding and support … on the basis of risk categories, specific lines of business, or general types of project. source: MyPMHome – Project, Program and Portfolio
RSS streams, Tweets, eBooks, email, meetings, phone calls, magazines, social media, and books, to name a few, I propose less noise and more decisions.
So what do you do to filter down to decisions?
When’s the last time you made a decision instead of a deadline making a decision for you?
We are swimming, some might say drowning, in communication saturation. I thought to share with others my goal to manage noise better and hear idea from many of you how you approach information and communication saturation to break from being slaves of the feed*.
Cascade Power Not Information
Knowledge is power, but decision making needs to make a comeback for us to realize our potential. With all this noise, this information, this data, is your decision-making process improved? We now have access to more information than we can possibly process, the constant challenge: you can never have all the information and time is your biggest enemy against knowing everything.
Here is how I see the funnel towards decisions (if I had time I would have made a mad 3D hierarchy pyramid, but alas … I ask you to envision one from mere words. If anyone wants to send me a graphic, I’ll add it) with noise as the pyramid base:
- Noise — all the 0s and 1s/bytes and bits throughout the web, over the airwaves, across the spectrum;
- Research — the initial question,
I wonder if…that sends you to seek answers;
- Information — the all-source return dump from your question or a 1-way flare (information is different from communication: see below)
- Data – the filter to makes sense of what is valuable and what is garbage;
- Communication — the 2-way relay of what you find and what needs further refinement;
- Interpretation — the unaccountable and unseen layers of values, wants, needs, bias, emotions, and agendas (to name a few) that your communication target has filtered your communicate through to draw their own interpretation of the information or data;
- Note: you have no control on how or what you communicate interprets as intended; caution when proceeding
- Conversation — the deeper dialogue to clarify responsibility; and
- Decision — shared commitment
Let’s flip the pyramid with the top now on the bottom, kind of like hanging the world map upside down, an alternative perspective:
Pattern Recognition and Systems Thinking
Professionals are valued and paid to make decisions and to make tough decisions. The gray-haired sage is expected to draw on experience to help interpret and filter to make quicker decisions.
Here are 3 ways to start with decisions in mind:
- Begin with a hypothesis — if the hypothesis is proven wrong, all the better, add the new elements and revisit the hypothesis.
- Identify the constraints to better hone the target — what limits your journey from noise to decision: time? resources? skills?
- Perfection is the enemy of good, go with what you have, of course showing up to meetings prepared also helps…
I value all the great dialogue, writing, Tweeting, and networking you have shared, because this is the power of social media and the wisdom of crowds, as well as Oxbow Incident-type rush to judge that can happen.