Robert Phelps – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Tue, 07 Aug 2018 19:04:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 5 Top Causes of Project Change https://infocus.dellemc.com/robert_a_phelps/five-top-causes-of-project-change/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/robert_a_phelps/five-top-causes-of-project-change/#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:00:34 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=33274 Project and program managers do many things, but nothing seems to cause as much grief and heartache as managing scope and change. Sleepless nights, exasperated conversations, and hours in the fetal position are often the results of project management and program management frustrations. To make matters worse, when change does occur, a project manager frequently […]

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Project and program managers do many things, but nothing seems to cause as much grief and heartache as managing scope and change. Sleepless nights, exasperated conversations, and hours in the fetal position are often the results of project management and program management frustrations. To make matters worse, when change does occur, a project manager frequently complains to his/her spouse, who then takes it out on the kids, who then take it out on the family dog. Thus, whenever project change occurs, a dog gets dejected!

 

The Truth about Change

Sponsors, stakeholders, and project managers are confronted with numerous project and program challenges; unqualified resources, limited budget, schedule constraints, and change, just to name a few. Change, usually the elephant in the room, is often the most controversial, uncomfortable, and most significant topic to be avoided, but why? Is it realistic to expect no changes to occur?  Is it reasonable to think every task and activity will be executed flawlessly by highly qualified, available, and proficient resources?  Is it rational to believe environments and circumstances will be prepared, capable, and available to accept solutions? Given the complexity of organizations, environments, and technologies, change management is inevitable despite the negative perception that change is bad.

Complexity Necessitates Change

Think about the effort required to contract with an organization to perform a large enterprise data center migration effort, or a disaster recovery solution, or an application inventory and migration to the cloud project. These can be very large, intricate, and challenging projects on a good day, then mix in the exact description of services desired, the specific milestone requirements, and the contract details and legal verbiage, the effort becomes complex to say the least. Is it really reasonable to expect nothing will change from the conception to completion process? The following are reasons why organizations should plan, anticipate, and expect change and change requests:

1) Incomplete or poorly defined requirements: often a set number of servers to be migrated, amount of files to be moved, or specific inventory parameters exclude data required to accurately estimate the level of effort required. Rather than three move events, perhaps five or six are actually required. Rather than inventorying a pre-set of applications from specific business units, additional business units have apps to include. In addition, what were assumptions at the start of a project, may now be requirements and may dramatically change project constraints.

2) Change in stakeholder requirements or sponsorship: stakeholders may change their minds regarding scope, assumptions, or project deliverables and their opinions may increase or decrease scope, modify timelines, and impact budgets. In addition, the project sponsor may change due to resignations, redundancy, or other factors, and although that is not a guarantee project change will occur, it is something that should be considered and watched.

3) External and resource factors: if there aren’t enough people, money, time, or equipment to do everything desired, a change may be forced in order to get by. Of course, if you end up compromising on schedule or quality, a change to the contract will be required. There may also be other factors outside of your control that impact the scope of the project. External events can be general or project-specific. A general event, such as a state-wide power failure due to a violent hurricane, does not directly relate to the project, but could force a change request. A project-specific event could be a delay in environmental preparedness, change in local zoning regulations, or anything that require immediate changes to the project. While this may be out of your control, it affects the project.

4) Scope error: poor scope management is the main cause of scope creep happening in most projects. It does not matter whether you apply an Agile SCRUM method or traditional waterfall, the impact to project cost and project schedule cannot be avoided. A project scope error usually results from an error in estimating or planning the work in the initial phases of the project. This could include anything from underestimating the time it takes to complete each task to not properly defining the work in each phase. Although most project scope errors cause the project to run behind schedule, they can also result in phases or deliverables being completed ahead of schedule. Using an incomplete WBS for a project would prompt a change request due to a project scope error. Since the project scope was not properly defined, activities may be missed or duplicated, causing schedule and budget problems.

5) Nothing is simple or as easy as it seems. Schedule issues, resource challenges, and strong personalities often present opportunities for change, challenges, or to put it delicately, personal development and growth. What may be anticipated as a brief status update meeting may take considerably longer due to questions, stakeholder comments, or discussions about new risks on the project.  What may have been expected as a quick requirements, risk, or deliverables review meeting, may takes longer than anticipated. Nothing is ever quite as simple or as easy (it seems) as predicted.

References

IT Project Management

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Project Management Should Be An Olympic Sport https://infocus.dellemc.com/robert_a_phelps/project-management-should-be-an-olympic-sport/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/robert_a_phelps/project-management-should-be-an-olympic-sport/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:00:11 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=32062 Managing large or complex projects i.e. data protection, hybrid cloud solutions and data center consolidations, require the skills of athletes, ancient athletes that is; anything less won’t do. Skills, Endurance and Ability Project Managers are skilled, persistent, capable and critical. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational […]

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Managing large or complex projects i.e. data protection, hybrid cloud solutions and data center consolidations, require the skills of athletes, ancient athletes that is; anything less won’t do.

Skills, Endurance and Ability

Project Managers are skilled, persistent, capable and critical. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success (Burger, 2016).

It’s not too difficult to draw the analogy that a project manager is similar to a pentathlete participating in the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The pentathlon tested a warrior’s skills, endurance and abilities in the sprint, long jump, javelin throw, discus throw and wrestling.

Speed, Accuracy and Reflexes Required

The sprint was a 100 meter dash, running as fast as you can to the finish line. The long jump combined speed, strength and agility to leap as far forward as possible from the starting line. The javelin throw was the event where a light spear (over 8 feet or 2.5 meters) was thrown by hand, to achieve the greatest accuracy and distance. To throw the javelin, one must possess great aim, strength and form. The discus throw was the event where a heavy disc (over 4 lbs. or 2 kilograms) was launched in hopes of throwing it further than circlethe competitors. And wrestling, the most popular organized sport in Ancient Greece, was regarded as the best expression of strength out of all the competitions.

The pentathlete needed muscles and reflexes suited to almost any kind of physical feat. It’s no surprise that a pentathlete was considered to be among the most skilled athletes. In fact, the skills required of a pentathlete were thought to be useful in war, so the exercises practiced by pentathletes were often part of military training.

Modern day project managers engaged in complex, challenging and difficult projects must possess many of the same skills as the ancient Greek pentathlete. Consider the project manager sprinting or racing at full speed to get the project started, finished or meet milestones in-between. On your mark, get set, go…and they’re off. Busy organizing, planning, contacting, scheduling and facilitating, hoping they don’t stumble, trip or run out of breath or steam. Often rising early and working late, the modern project manager must be in great mental shape, extremely organized and energetic.

Project managers also jump long distances to fully understand the project scope, schedule, budget, resources and stakeholder requirements, all to deliver projects with excellence. One day they know nothing of the customer, environment, scope, budget and requirements, and the next day they are the subject matter experts regarding every aspect of the project.

Project management practitioners must have great aim, strength and form as they identify milestones, facilitate collaboration and execute delivery with accuracy. With the precision of a javelin thrower, the project manager communicates clearly, controls challenge and change and hits their target precisely, exceeding customer expectations.

armProject leaders handle risk, issues and difficult situations, frequently bearing the tremendous weight and responsibility of expectations.  Often by sheer determination, stamina and resolve, the project manager (like a discus thrower) throws to their side the weight of distraction, remaining focused on the end result and stakeholder satisfaction.

Project management, modern day corporate athletes must wrestle with, compete for, and constantly strive to overcome obstacles, setbacks and delays. Project managers often endure strong arm tactics, reversals and violations of position but remain steadfast in their resolve.

Corporate Athletes

Indeed, project managers often represent the strongest, fastest and most versatile corporate athletes in the workplace today. Their DNA of credibility, collaboration and control provides the best opportunity to exceed expectations resulting in extremely satisfied customers.

For all they do, all they represent and all they endure, congratulate a project manager for being the modern day Pentathlete driven towards success.


If you are interested in learning about Project change, you can read Top 5 Causes of Project Change


The following links provide additional insight on the importance of project management:

The value of project management. https://www.tensteppm.com/open/A1ValueofPM.html

The advantages of having a project manager; how project managers can improve business.  https://www.villanovau.com/resources/project-management/project-manager-advantages/#.WYE-LcLruR0

10 reasons why Project Management matters.  http://2020projectmanagement.com/2015/10/10-reasons-why-project-management-matters/

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