The right question for any suggested improvement, change, or suggesting we stop doing that need to produce an answer to ...
Does this suggestion increase the probability of project success?
This means tracing the suggestion to the outcome of the project being better, faster, cheaper, or some other tangible measure of improvement.
What does project success look like?
The delivery of agreed-upon capability within established resource constriants, e.g. funding, schedule, facilities.
Five factors are used to assess the success
- Capabilities - do we know what capabilities will be needed, when they'll be needed, for what cost, to meet the business plan, competitive market position, or any other assessment of success?
- It's the capabilities that enable the customer to do valuable things for their customers, themselves, or their citizens.
- Requirements - do we know what technical and operational requirements must be in place to fulfill the needed capabilities?
- It's the capabilty to do something of value that the customer bought.
- Resources - what resources will be needed to deliver these capabilities, fulfilled by the requirements within the expected cost and time needed to meet the business or mission goals for the Return on Investment?
- ROI = (Value - Cost) / Cost
- As a business or funding agency, this ROI is a primary assessment of success.
- Did we get what we planned to get for the money we thought we would spend on the day we thought we would? All within the expected probabilistic confidence range?
- Execution - do we have a means of measuring progress toward producing value for the customer?
- This value needs to be available at a point in time to meet the plan for the business or the mission
- This time and cost of the available capabilities is an essential need for any business.
- Without a goal such as this there is no real crticality to the project. If the project is not critical, then any approach can be viable. The probability of success is really not an interesting question to ask.
So Now What?
When we hear about something new, anything new, how can we test it that suggestion against business needs, mission needs, governance, or strategy. This starts with establishing the domain in which the suggestion might possibly work. Then proposing the framework in which it has worked or might work. Then a proposed way to assess the possible benefits of performing the sugegsted solution.