Geoff Crane posted a piece about "Achievements for Projects." Setting aside for the moment all the Face Book stuff, Geoff has discovered what the Defense industry and those following that guidance have been using for some time now.
The Integrated Master Plan. Let me start with a previous post Milestones, Resist Milestones. The structure of the Integrated Master Plan has three layers.
- Events - these are maturity assessment Events. Reviews of work in preparation for moving on to the next set of work. These Events have predefined levels of maturity for the deliverables that will be assessed. This means we have a description of what "done" looks like at any particular Event. Preliminary Design Review (PDR) has a predefined set of maturity assessment criteria. These state what it means of have a "preliminary" design.
- Accomplishments - these state the significant accomplishments needed to enter the assessment that takes place at the Event. For example (using an IT project), if we're going to have an Pilot Rollout of the transaction processing system, the Event would state PILOT TRANSACTION PROCESS SYSTEM COMPLETE. Then the Accomplishments would state what are the entry condition for this to be successful.
- Criteria - are the exit criteria for the Work Packages that create the content for the Accomplishments.
These are the elements of the Integrated Master Plan (IMP). In MSFT Project, these are zero-duration activities (not marked as milestones), that describe the increasing maturity of the products and services.
So Why This Approach?
This seems like a lot of work for a project, why not just have a schedule of the work and everyone start working?
- What done looks like is rarely connected with the passage of time and consumption of resources. That's what a schedule describes.
- The Integrated Master Plan has no dates. It's the Map of the flow of value for the deliverables.
- It states the needed maturity of these products or service in order to make physical progress.
Now The Grammar of the IMP
In Geoff's post shows an Instant Message.
Ignoring for the moment the questions of how did the IM author know that the approval of the detailed design of the spacecraft prototype was planned to be started, the accomplishments needed to start, and the criteria for the work performed to start are not mentioned.
Grammar of Done
One of the common errors made in project management planning processes is to not speak in clear and concise units of measure. You assume people have an understanding, when in fact they don't. The IM example above is an example.
- What are the conditions for the approval?
- What is the prototype "really?"
- What will be constructed?
Here's a Grammar framework used in the IMP paradigm
Social Media On Projects
So Geoff has it right. Social media can be used to communicate information (limited of course) to the project. But the actual achievement is defined, measured, and verified in the Integrated Master Plan and the Integrated Master Schedule for the Work Packages that perform the work needed to achieve the outcome.
The IM channel is just an announcement of the arrival at DONE for a particular Event, Accomplishment, or Criteria