Much has been written and spoken about how to develop and deploy projects using people and their ideas. The FAA's National Airspace System, Systems Engineering Manaul has something to say about this as well
Three steps are needed for success, with the last step being the most critical.
It starts with Brainstorming. Getting ideas out on the table so we can discuss them
Then comes Brainwriting, where the ideas are built into testable concepts. This iterative process of peer review, peer criticism, and peer contribution is very powerful. It is NOT a love fest where everyone is supportive of any idea. But a serious consideration of ideas amoung peers, professionals, and everyone acknowldeging the importance of the mission. This next step is not for wall flowers or the hurt puppies we sometimes encounter in meetings or other channels of communication.
Then the most important process of all, actually tesing the ideas to see if they will withstand the rigor of actual use. This is where many in the softer side of project management, or those who really like to just explore come face-to-face with the reality of spending other peoples money, on a planned time line, with a commited set of capabilities.
The notion of an adversarial group review process is missing from most IT shops, sometimes for the right reason, but sometimes for the wrong reason.
At the bar during a recent DOD Program Management Conference, a colleage (former cost director of a major government agency) came to the conclusion there are three sources of project failure do to unforseen events.
- We didn't know
- We couldn't know
- We don't want to know
Don't be victum of #2 and #3. Go find out all the problems, all the impediments, all the unplanned impacts including cost and schedule that will derail your project.