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Project Management Gets Lean

IT can't afford to do projects the old way. Lean project management gives a better picture of success or failure.

Compliance Vs. Participation

It's tempting for process-oriented individuals to think that if they just had the right tools--maybe the latest and greatest PPM suite--people would start falling in line. Not so. Consultant Adamopoulos pithily notes that tools don't follow processes that people don't follow.

So how do you get them to comply? The short answer is, when they're not sold on a project, people will still comply for one of two reasons: because they want to keep their jobs or because they don't have the energy to fight.

But when you continually compel smart people to comply, expect occasional ambushes and passive-aggressive behavior, Manns says. The silly stuff that can ultimately lead to failure.

So instead of compliance, think "participation." Compliance makes everyone feel like a prisoner, constantly thinking of ways to escape. But participation--where individuals are part of the process, where they really have a voice--makes everyone feel like they're part of the solution. It's not being done to them; they have all created their future together.

One strategy we've seen over the years is to involve all levels of staff in the original decision-making process. Much like a worker in a Toyota factory is empowered to pull the lever to stop production, a fully involved participant in a business project should be fully empowered to raise the flag when something doesn't make sense--and he must know he will be taken seriously.

Even when you get solid change management, business direction, and project management principles in the room, it's hard to sustain the direction. Matt Anderson, director of program management at Cerner, which makes and sells software and services to healthcare providers, makes the point that once folks adopt a new set of principles or practices such as agile, they want to declare done and then focus their attention somewhere else.

How satisfied are business users with quality of IT projects delivered?

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