Is Your Project Too Important to Fail?
Every so often a company embarks on a project that is bigger than those typically pursued in the past. They are called “market movers” – those types of projects that can impact a company’s stock price (or continuing existence). They are quite a bit more complicated than the average endeavor. Usually there are significant financial consequences associated with failing to meet objectives. There are more team members than normal, with more moving parts to coordinate, and more overall complexity from start to finish. These are the projects that make (or break) careers. In short, they are simply too important to fail. It is not that your company lacks the technical expertise to be successful on these types of large initiatives; it’s just that there is so much at stake a proven and rigorous project management process is needed to mitigate the risks. These “can’t fail” projects are typically more challenging for a few reasons:
- Because of their importance, they have more executive sponsors than normal
- The project teams are typically larger, cross-functional groups with differing agendas
- Many of these projects involve geographically dispersed stakeholders
- There is a high-degree of risk and uncertainty associated with these engagements
- They require your organization’s most valuable resources to be tightly coordinated
How Do We Address These Issues?
Most companies try to employ their “standard” project management processes to these large strategic initiatives. These organizations tend to believe they just need to “do more, more often, with more meetings”. In practice what they develop is an overly bureaucratic system that collapses under its own weight. PMAlliance has scoured best practices and consulted on hundreds of large, complex and unique projects. We have filtered out the most successful best practices and consolidated them into a single, integrated planning and control approach called ‘Duration-Driven® Planning and Control’.
What is Duration-Driven® Planning and Control?
Duration-Driven Planning and Control is a team-based methodology founded on the basic principle that in order to keep a team committed to a project schedule, they need to have input into building that schedule. Further, to more accurately reflect the fluctuation in their daily work schedule (various responsibilities, multiple projects, juggling priorities, etc.) they should plan their projects according to estimated durations instead of best-case effort approximations. This approach results in a network-based project schedule that more accurately reflects reality and is a higher quality work product. The methodology provides a clear set of guidelines, terminology and techniques to be used by the team during the project planning phase. Duration-Driven Methodology doesn’t stop with the development of a project plan; it extends into the critical importance of project control. The methodology addresses the entire project management lifecycle from initial stakeholder alignment, to schedule development, through the control process. Its comprehensive nature ensures participants gain value from project inception to close-out.
How will my strategic project benefit from this approach?
Duration-Driven Planning and Control is a proven project planning and control process that begins by aligning multiple executive stakeholders with the project team to ensure everyone is clear on what the project needs to accomplish before planning even begins. The methodology encourages the development of a dynamic project schedule through a phased, ‘rolling wave’ process. This approach helps teams segment large, complicated projects into more manageable work packages to allow for greater accuracy and optimize planning time. Practitioners of this approach recognize immediate improvement in both teamwork and communication, while promoting a greater sense of accountability and commitment. The control process is structured in a way to instill a proactive problem-solving mentality instead of the fire-fighting emergency responses typically observed in resolving issues as they occur. Duration-Driven Planning and Control provides project managers with greater visibility to project execution while promoting a less stressful environment for the project team. In summary, Duration-Driven offers your strategic project the best opportunity to be delivered on-time, within budget and to expected quality standards!
How can I acquire these skills?
Duration-Driven Planning and Control is delivered during a 2-day instructor-led event. Throughout the two-day event, practical challenges are posed, participants engage in various group exercises and students learn how they can adapt the general techniques taught in the class to the unique aspects of their projects. At the conclusion of our program, participants will be well equipped to participate in creating comprehensive project plans, implement disciplined processes for maintaining those plans, and utilize management reviews to ensure deliverables are completed in a timely manner.