What does project management look like? If we can visualize project management we can communicate in a different way. It is true that project management is complex because of its integrative nature and novel applications. While there are no silver bullets a picture may say a thousand words. Symbolic images create meaning and knowledge. As a project manager do you wish you had a tool that could show the proper course? For example a compass like Jack Sparrow’s from Pirate of the Caribbean. This compass would point you in the direction or directions that you need to guide your team. This is the Project Managers Compass.
Integration of the Eight Project Management Knowledge Areas
Previously, we talked about Creating Dynamic Project Culture. Global Projects involve new people from different cultures who join together as a temporary organization. The Project Manager needs to facillitate the creation of Global Project Culture. This means that the people share the same vision for what The Product of the project will look like when it is done. They create this vision by communication.
Culture is a shared system of beliefs or values. People may identify with multiple different aspects of culture. For example; ethnic, national, organizational, technological, generational… Project Managers in the Asia Pacific region operate in a diverse environment. Projects in this region frequently have; Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian….. According to the PMBoK “Most Organizations have developed unique cultures”.
Do you remember, the Culture of Greed? This culture was epitomized by Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers and other investment banks as valuing money over any other metric. Today, there is a technological culture that can transcend national borders. For example; social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. Children growing up today anywhere in the world are using the same devices, downloading the same apps, and hanging out and watching the same YouTube videos. People are sharing the same values. The lessons we can see is that Culture is Dynamic. Culture is dynamic and is always changing. The problem is culture and conflict. @Ajamal 2008 “Culture may be a significant factor in project failure and culture is not widely reported in project management literature.” How can we create Global Project Culture? The answer is by cultivating conditions for “emergence.”
Requirements Candidates may emerge anytime during a project. Feedback from execution may produce new requirement candidates. Early in the phase of planning a project we start documenting. The Fourth Edition PMBoK guide process is labeled as 5.1 Collect Requirements. This was actually a new process group in the Fourth Edition. In practice, I thought this was an improvement. As a concept it still needs refinement.
The problem is “Requirement” is that which is required. In the beginning, before scope planning requirements are “Candidates”. The process of creating Scope Validates the Candidates. After Product Scope is baselined, those Validated Candidates are “Requirements”. Semantics matters and being precise is important.
If we approach our stakeholders and we explain to them we are collecting requirements. What is the expectation of the stakeholders? If we ask them directly “What are your requirements?”. How about if that stakeholder’s requirement is not included in the Scope of the Project? Or other situations If someone asks me to list everything that is required, it does not have enough granularity. What we really should be doing at this point is setting the expectations of the stakeholders and creating the environment for a breakthrough to emerge. The metaphor is collecting requirements is an exploration like Great Jazz Music.
Projects are novel. Novelty involves imagination. “I will let you be in my dreams, if I can be in your dream” @Bob Dylan. Imagination is intangible. Project Managers deliver tangibles. How do we translate peoples intangibles into tangibles?
An early step in a project involves getting people together and finding out what do people imagine the project will look like when it is done. This is a fuzzy boundary line. Some may have a formal business analysis provide detailed reports on the reasons and build a business case. But ultimately the person who will accept the product will judge the quality.
Architectural Cast Glass in the World Financial Center. The Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai boasts the highest hotel in the World. It is a stunning building. The building is perfect in the mysterious Shanghai night.
The entrance lobby is simple with architectural cast glass. The glass is clear with some motion in the waves and texture. Read the rest of this entry »
New York City is an excellent place to poke around and find excellent examples of Architectural Cast Glass. In, November 2009 I was working on a Architectural Cast Glass Project and since I had jet lag I was walking around at 5:00 am admiring the architecture. While I was walking down 145 West 44th Street, an amazing piece of Architectural Cast Glass caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry »
Introduction to PartIII Future Visualization of People’s Influence on Projects
In Part I we looked at Social Networking, In Part II is an evaluation of current visualizations. The point has been made that we can use the enormous visual bandwidth to think. Part III is going to add some more evaluations of current Visualizations and Conclude with an example of how we can use existing open tools to gather and visualize data for our projects.
Evaulations of Current Visualization Technology
First we all know there is no escape to Death and Taxes, so where does the US taxpayer money go? If you don’t know than glance at the US Budget 2009. Or how about a real time map of US Stimulus Spending.
A 3 dimensional visualization of semantic language is the “Visual Thesaurus” . This Thesaurus is novel because it allows us to locate words that are related in terms of closeness in 3-d, we can browse and explore them in a very intuitive fashion. There are many other proprietary solutions Tableau Software is very interesting. It has the ability to combine data from many different sources for example spreadsheets and databases, the output is very nice. You can publish interactive visualizations to the web. This software shows great promise for the enterprise user due to the powerful combination. You can download a free trial.
Part II Lets Visualize Peoples Influence on Projects
Dynamic Interactive Visualizations
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) 'The eye, the window of the soul is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely sense and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature
In Part I of this series on visualizations we developed a compelling reason how success is related to our people. To summarize: Success is related to peoples connections to each other, not only their connections but the critical core connections, the quality of those connections and the ownership of those connections. In the second part we are going to delve deeper into the current technology for visualizing information.
The purpose of this Part II blog post is to evaluate current visualization and interaction techniques. Dynamic Interactive Visualization will allow us to abstract the information, effectively analyze data and make decisions. This is an area that is undergoing tectonic shifts and new techniques are evolving every day.
In 2009 we are living in uncertain times. Still, we need to find competitive advantages. Continuous innovation is a tool to create knowledge. We as Project Managers need to understand people and their relationship to success.
People are connected to Project Success
Specifically, we need to understand the people that are connected and critical. The problems we face is complexity. Complicated projects span countries, time zones and cultures. As Project Managers we need to set a goal to expand our knowledge. We have to develop an artifact that dynamically communicates peoples hidden relationships in an explicit visual image. How can we do this? We are going to explore. First, where is mankind in terms of social networking? Second, visualizing social networks. Finally, what would be the ideal solution for Project Managers.