Project management

This category contains 57 posts

There’s trouble in MoSCoW

Most project teams I work with prioritise their work in a simple order: most important, second most important, etc. But sometimes people still use the MoSCoW method, and I find this leads to problems. MoSCoW stands for Must, Should, Could, Won’t—it’s a way of categorising deliverables into one of four buckets. The Musts get done … Continue reading

Separate strategic assumptions from goals

Previously I wrote about the importance of having a clear goal, in the form of a value statement. But in practice it’s tempting to confuse a goal with what I call a “strategic assumption”—and we shouldn’t do that. When I ask a project team what their goal is they usually suggest a number of things, … Continue reading

Being accountable for delivering value

There are lots of things that make an effective team, but one of the most important, I’ve found, is to make sure they have a clear and meaningful goal. Part of this is to separate the goal (or the benefit, or the value)¬†from the way they’ll achieve it (the solution), and then make them responsible … Continue reading

Frequent delivery is the test of a plan’s quality

There are many ways to measure a plan’s quality. Some of these are: flexibility, how realistic it is, and the number of internal or external dependencies. But in the end for most people a plan is about delivering some end result within some stated time. A plan shows both approach and time—How and When. It … Continue reading

Traffic lights, roundabouts and decision-making

Last week I saw a presentation from Bjarte Bogsnes of Statoil, at a meeting about Beyond Budgeting, which offers “a management model that is more empowered and adaptive [and] releasing people from the burdens of stifling bureaucracy”. Part of they ethos of Beyond Budgeting is to bring decision-making back to the people who have direct … Continue reading

Complexity helps solve Olympian problems

I sometimes feel a small sense of wonder at how revealing complexity can actually help, rather than hinder, problem-solving. This complexity can be revealed by zooming out from a problem and looking at the bigger picture. I’ve previously written about how this approach can help us deal with risk and uncertainty better. Or it can … Continue reading

More functionality for burn-up charts with Google Sheets

A few months ago I published an easy way of making burn-up charts with Google Sheets. It’s less sophisticated than any paid-for product, but it combines the flexibility and familiarity of a spreadsheet with traceability (which I find is essential if you need to check back on things). Since that time I and others have … Continue reading

Questioning the RAID log

Like all good project professionals, whenever I’m managing a project I find it’s essential to keep a track of intended and incidental Benefits, Lessons learned, key Actions, and of course Resources. That’s why—in line with the best of my project manager peers—I always keep a BLAR log. Oh, hang on. Let’s try again… Like all … Continue reading

Projects need to think beyond outputs

A common distinction made between projects and programmes is that projects deliver outputs (things) whereas programmes deliver outcomes (benefits). I think this is a dangerous separation, particularly in digital projects and programmes today. The view is most evident in the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) approach, which has been long advocated by the UK government. But … Continue reading

The distorted lens of risk registers

Where do you list your project risks? The more traditional project management approach tells us to use a risk register, and that’s certainly what happens in a lot of projects. But from my point of view it’s a trick question, and that’s not just because “risks” are not singular. We might write some so-called risks … Continue reading