Sunday, 27 October 2013

Pip pip old chap.

How about this one then?

I think we should replace the PID with a PIP!

PID - Project Initiation Document
PIP - Project Initiation Period

Never heard of it - what does a PIP look like?

Well its a period of time that is dependent upon the size of the projects - could be days, could be weeks - which is set at the start of the project by the Steering Group but crucially it is not communicated to the project team. Its a period where the team are allowed to get to grips with the project. Verbal instructions are given to the team on what needs to be done on the project - key deliverables, timescales, that sort of thing. Selected individuals are put in charge of producing these deliverables and told to get on with it. This does assume the project team are highly skilled in the subject matter and have delivered on projects in the past. You wouldn't want to put a novice in charge of any of this. But then you wouldn't do that under the PID type arrangements either.

Chaos can then ensue for the period of the PIP. Who's doing this bit, where's that bit, there's a bit missing, nobody is accountable for the other bit. Regular daily meetings control the chaos somewhat. Eventually the situation settles down (hopefully within the PIP) with everyone aligned.

What this would do is remove the illusion that somehow the PID and its controlling board sessions allow you to systematically manage a complex, multi-interfacing project. You have let the complexity emerge in a natural way and allowed the team to get to grips with it in a manner that facilitates delivery.

What you haven't done is drive the project (yet) - which is the usual approach to project management, beat the thing into submission, cost, time, resources. However, what you have done is avoided driving it off the rails before its even got underway ;)

Et Voila ..... an agile PID .......

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Mobilizing the immobile.

Big companies are tough to get moving at the best of times but when you need to sprint rather than jog the frustration is gasket blowing.

Bogged down in process and governance frameworks, in which you need a PhD in jobs-worthiness to understand, the whole setup feels sclerotic. There must be fast track approaches that can enable the vast resources in these companies to mobilise without the need to fill in forms and tick boxes?

Don't get me wrong I fully understand the need for governance on projects, but the type of governance needed relates to actually control over whats being done. Not the sort where the easiest decision - usually by people remote from the project who just don't know what its all about - is to say no. Big companies are full of layers of such checking. I just wonder at the value adding. I suppose it keeps people in a job?

Even when up and jogging these businesses seem to have difficulty getting everyone on the bus and working in the same direction. Enter the power of the PID (Project Initiation Document - see PRINCE). Big business like these types of document - ah at last, something to tell us what to do, who is in charge and when we need to do things! Not unreasonable, but if you know what you are doing on an agile type development, not really a great help in delivering the project or creating the momentum and focus needed to deliver to tight timescales.

But great for ensuring a few boxes ticked .....