Now that the New Year is upon us, several changes must take place in the project management world for us to keep earning our salary.
- We need to learn to speak in terms of deliverables (tangible, measurable outcomes, in units meaningful to the stakeholder) as the basis of project success. Not the consumption of resources and the passage of time.
- Even more important, stop this nonsense of speaking about success in terms of budget and schedule. Especially since most IT projects have not margin to start with, so they're late before they start and probably have budget over runs built into the baseline plan. Then the supposed pundits tell us that there is a problem in the IT project domain.
- We need to start managing projects with the Integration of cost, schedule, and technical performance measures that must be the basis of measuring project performance. This means integrated Earned Value Management and Technical Performance Measurement.
- We need to stop using the notion of a Black Swan as a lame-o excuse of not doing our home work. Care must be take to recognize the paradigm of the "Black Swan." This means the risk is not known to the observer at the time of the observation. This is an observer view. It does not mean the Black Swan is un-observable. It means we're possibly just too lazy, don't have enough money, or enough time to go find it. If it is observable in the absence of the observer, the "black Swan" is there.
- We need to stop this notion of PMI versus the world over project management certifications. Especially the supposed "competency" based certifications for project managers. Instead start hiring on verified past performance in the domain and context of the problem at hand. The advocates of anti-PMI are just old curmudgeons anyway.
- The IT project management world needs to stop whining it can't stay on schedule and on cost. Adopt the agile processes of development, ruthlessly adhere to Earned Value Management for measuring physical percent complete on incremental and iterative boundaries (be they a week or a 6 month rolling wave). Instead, install the proper cost and schedule margin (derived from the probabilistic model) appropriate for the risk at hand, and start acting like adults. Adopt the phrase - "Risk management is how adults manage projects" - Tim Lister as the basis of "grown up" management.
- Start learning how large construction, Department of Energy, FAA, some parts of the Department of Defense, and NASA manage projects (almost all software intensive) and start applying these lessons learned in your domain. Go to conferences, skip the "self actualization" session, attend the EV, scheduling, risk management session and start be a Project Manager again.
- Move beyond the touchy feely approach of many PMI chapters and back to the "tough love" of delivering on the promises of the baselined Integrated Master Schedule, built from a credible Work Breakdown Structure, analyzed by a Monte Carlo Simulator, with embedded risk management, and tangible evidence of progress to plan.
In other words start being project managers and stop playing around with all the peripheral stuff that has little to do with spending other peoples money.
Happy New Year