Posted on September 9, 2011 by Joanne Greene-Blose
Another great session today! Great turnout and excellent speaker and discussion. We had Anthony (Tony) Ciero, PM at National Grid, walk us through a tool he created to enable data-driven decisions for the company. In particular the tool facilitated project selection through a prioritization scheme that takes key attributes into account. Total cost, expenditures to date, net present value, options and benefits are some of the attributes used and a scoring mechanism is provided that allows you to weight and then qualify on a high, medium, or low scale.
Each project’s data is compared against a baseline so that the scores given are realistic (i.e. not all high priority). Results are graphed, the optimal project determined and then the remaining projects scored with a variance against that optimum. For example if project B is determined to be optimal, you’ll see that project A would be 20% less desirable than B and that project C would be 15% less desirable than B.
Results are used to both justify and prioritize project selections and to back up decisions when reviewed by the public service commission.
Tony shared with us one case where prior to entering the data into the tool the team had already decided which project would come in last place. After data was entered however the last place project ended up in first! This caused them to ask the questions; were the weights correct? Were the categories correct? Were the scores correct? Or – is it a case of the data is showing what we really should be pursuing, that the last placer really should be first?
Tony closed the presentation by sharing with us why he created this tool (which was something he’d done in his spare time) — he’s passionate about tools and as Aristotle said (in the quotation from his last slide), “Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.”
Stay tuned as we are discussing how we might make this tool available, perhaps in the form of a half day workshop…
Filed under: AM on PM Summaries, Integration Management | Tagged: decision-making, National Grid, PMO, project management, project selection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 1, 2011 by Joanne Greene-Blose
This month it is all about how project managers make decisions. Pondering this issue I came across the interview with Dick Cheney on the decision to go in to Iraq when George W. Bush was president. The president tells the story that he made the decision with assistance from his advisors and Cheney says the president made the decision only after having talked to him in private. Have you not found yourself in this type of situation in making decisions on your project? The key here is the president made the decision not a team of people not Cheney.
As project manager you discuss alternatives with the team leads and/or full team and present the alternatives to the sponsor. This is what happens on major decisions, but, who makes them on the day-to-day decisions? You cannot go elsewhere for every decision or who needs you? The issue of decision-making ultimately rests with the project manager. Yes you consult with other project managers, team leads and even team members but it is you that has to make a decision. It seems that in today’s risky job environment, project managers are unwilling to make decisions. They believe the team makes all decisions and they get studied to death. Team leads in many cases do not make decisions because of the risk involved in making them. So what happens? Nothing; the project falls behind, people get frustrated, and a sponsor becomes involved to the point of micromanaging and many times the sponsor is unwilling to do this because of the risks involved.
First, at the start of the project determine responsibilities and the decision making process.
Second, determine an escalation policy for issues. Issues that need to be solved at the team lead level or even the individual level should be made at that level. Empower the team members to make decisions based on the decision-making process.
Third, you are paid to make decisions, make them! Even wrong decisions are better than no decision. Gather the facts and determine if a decision can be made on those facts. If not gather your resources and get the facts! Waiting only prolongs the process.
Finally, you’re the project manager. The word manager is in your title, it is what you have be trained to do –manage. Make decisions. There are excellent courses that are offered to help you in making decisions and gathering information; seek one out and take it. This month PSA’s AM on PM is having a presentation on decision making analysis. Attend and who knows? You may gain insight on an issue you are working on.
Filed under: Al's Angle, Integration Management | Tagged: consensus, decision-making, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, leadership, Project manager | 2 Comments »