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Looking at Project Management From Outside the Box

publicado por Garrett O'Brien

This is the last of 3 articles looking at Project Management from a perspective outside the box.

In the first article, Performing A Needs Assessment on Project Management, we asked questions that focused at the whole process of obtaining and implementing an HRIS system…
Is it really necessary to…

  • change what is working?
  • improve upon what is working?
  • change what is not working?
  • change what is not working well?

In the second article, Reassessing the Management in Project Management we discussed

  • the improvements that can be made that will result in greater flexibility within the project
  • possibly even a lowering project budgets by shifting and honing a few priorities and making some budgetary changes
  • what are we assuming, what should we be questioning

Three diagrams were presented – the first (the top diagram here) provide the budget expectations, effort and resources consumed during the life of a project. The orange boxes represent the expected budget expenditures while the boxes with the budget expenditures represented the various phases of the project. The layout is simple, the bigger the box (the phase) the more budget, effort and resources necessary for that phase. The red box is indicative of where most projects get into trouble – on almost all levels. This phase is notorious for breaking the budget – as well as extending the timeline. This also almost always shifts everything to the right, costing more in time, effort, and many times more resources as well…

The second diagram provides a project life cycle map that is familiar to most involved with a project.

The third diagram displays the differences experienced when applying a systematic and thorough approach to a project. By this, we are focusing more on the company and the company’s processes and needs than we are the system. In most cases the system has already been chosen – which is both good and bad. Good in that there is no delay between discovery and release planning phase.

One thing to keep in mind with both these diagrams: the constant. It is assumed that the buy-in to the project has been attained and kept throughout the project, particularly at the executive and C-levels. If not, then their need to be brought on-board must be factored into all this as well. Given that a committee is needed in some cases, all factors end up rising pretty quickly. The constant is within the scope of these articles – a separate article (or series of articles) on needing – and keeping — executive and C-level buy-in will be published at a later date.

The differences in the last diagram are the result of highly effective practical and managerial changes to the first phase – there are more effort and resources allocated to focus on the company, business processes and the data needs for reporting.. There are two reasons for this difference, as well as some considerations that should be assessed BEFORE considering a new system. What happened before the project that will actually reduce the effort and resources consumed during the project? Are the efforts and resources consumed before the project efficient and economical (providing a good ROI)?

In many projects, the submittal of a RFP is tainted – not from a lack of providing the right information but by providing information that could be tainted (not to mention some businesses make the mistake of not considering the RFP an integral part of the project). What would make the information tainted? Well, isn’t the RFP usually written for the processes and needs the company has AS THEY CURRENTLY EXIST? When the business processes have not been reviewed and / or honed BEFORE the RFP, then the redundancies and weaknesses of the old processes become integrated within the RFP. What may not be necessary could be included in the RFP and what may be necessary may end up being not included in the RFP. With the introduction of a new system, there will be some adaptations made to the business processes and information flow to accommodate the new system but overall, how many dominos will need to be lined-up before they fall? The approach here is not to question the data or the resources but to question and map the flow of the information ‘as-is’ before determining in the needs for a new system. Business processes and data flow determine the flow of the information within the company – no matter what system is implemented… Why be constantly trying to compensate for a bad rudder on a boat? Don’t you want to be sure the rudder capable of directing the boat properly?

Once the processes and information flow is documented with best practices, envisioning what is needed – an mapping it out on several levels – will provide a better vision of what a company needs to include in their RFI and RFP. By assessing the current processes BEFORE searching for a system, many more areas that need focus will become evident… BEFORE you discover them in the project’s red zone or before…

The second consideration is called best practices – though many know of best practices, just as many are stretched to define the best practice of a project, business process and/or system… Does everyone involved on the project team know how to implement a project guided by best practices? For projects, there are several focus areas: planning, work plan, procedures, scope and risk management. What are the agreed and documented business processes before looking for a system? What are the agreed and documented information flows before looking for a system? What are the agreed and documented data needs for reporting before looking for a system? Many projects do this “on the fly” while under the stress of other tasks within the project – and stress narrows our field of vision, which narrows our thinking process… When you do something is just as important as where you do something… As for the projects I have been on that had this all prepared before looking for a system? With more than 25 clients in 20 years, several have changed their approach their project budgets were lower than companies that were almost half their size, they accomplished more with fewer resources and the whole process was a lot less painful… They also happened to be the largest projects – system wise – I was involved in…

Is this really enough to lower the budge costs as well as the effort and resources consumed? As the saying goes, it’s not what you do but how you do what you do that makes the difference…


Garrett O'Brien é consultado por implementações SIRH pelas empresas e as empresas (Fortune 100, 500 e 1000) desde 1991. Seus clientes anteriores incluem Lubrizol, ADP, Case New Holland, a Cushman & Wakefield, MAHLE, Honeywell International, Sodexho, e muitos outros localizados em os EUA Garrett é • Editor e escritor de 4 blogs mundiais focada em SIRH e gerenciamento de projetos, que são lidos em 160+ países • Exec VP para EUA CGServices enfocando multi-fornecedor, o sistema de multi-linha para sistemas HRIS • membro do Conselho de Gerson Lehrman Group Conselho, o que ajuda a instituições dos líderes mundiais se reunirem, engajar e gerenciar os especialistas em uma ampla gama de setores e disciplinas. Garrett se concentra em SIRH global Garrett está trabalhando em alguns projetos em Brasil. Um deles é focando as melhorias necessárias na gestão de projetos, especialmente as fases mais iniciais. O outro projeto se concentra no uso de tecnologia dentro do sistema de ensino para melhorar a educação de tecnologia para estudantes e professores. Ambos os projetos serão locais no Brasil, mas será global em perspectiva. Atualmente, o Sr. O'Brien reside em o estado de São Paulo e funciona a partir de Home Office. Não hesite em contactar-lo diretamente no LinkedIn ( ou por e-mail ( twitter: @thehrisworld @hriscareerworld @thw_research @thwrn_news

Garrett O'Brien


1 Comment

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