Management and Project Execution

Management and Project Execution

Management and Project Execution
 Management and Project Execution

Management and Execution:  
Why Do Projects Succeed or Fail? Aligning  Functional Goals  Many project teams consist of multiple disciplines from a variety  of sources: technical experts, operations experts,  subcontractors, supply chain management, financial controllers,  schedulers, etc. Each of these team members are placed on the  team to accomplish the project’s objective, yet, they bring with  them the objective for their functional disciplines as well.  
Let’s assume the main goal for the project is the delivery of  project scope. There are necessary conditions as well, like cost  and schedule, but the goal is the completion of the deliverables.  Now, for example, we add the supply chain people to the team.  What is their goal? Perhaps it is purchase cost variance.  Delivering the project is important, but not their main goal. In  which case, we have two people on the team whose goals do not  match. 
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Now, let’s add the financial controllers. Is their goal to  deliver the project? Perhaps it is budget compliance. Now we  have three people on the team with three different goals.  What are the likely behaviors of these team members? Would  they sacrifice their careers to the project? 
Highly unlikely.  Instead, the project team will have contention and behaviors that  don’t contribute to accelerating progress toward a common goal.  Few would argue against the value goal directed work. But in  most projects, the only person on the team with the single  objective of completing the project is the project manager. The  project manager, with limited organizational authority must  somehow sort the conflicting goals and still achieve the project’s  objective.  How Can You Tell if Your Team is Out of Alignment?  The things you should look for is a lack of responsiveness, low  engagement (with the project), and a slow pace in task  completions or problem resolution. 
You may also spend a lot of  time trying to find the person who’s accountable for what, and  find it difficult obtaining resources to support your project (from  your “teammates”).  When functional goals are aligned, each member of the team is  free to act in the best interest of the project, without being  hindered by conflicting goals from other areas. This eliminates  the source of internal conflict, and speeds decision-making and  action.  Alignment of functional goals increases task and project velocity  by removing organizational friction from the project team. It  reduces the time taken to clarify accountabilities and obtain the  right resources. 
It puts everyone who is on the project, on the  project, increasing engagement. That increased engagement  facilitates the improvement of productivity, as well as the  allocation of the appropriate resources to the project, by reducing  decision delay.  So – How do You Align Functional Goals?  You’re probably not going to change the organizations’  measurement system. So rather than take that task on,  implement ways to spot misalignment so you can mitigate or  block it.  In order to create alignment, you must first determine what  aligned behaviors you want, and then identify the conflicting  behaviors. If you don’t know where to start, look at what is  occurring that you don’t want. 
Then pick the opposite behavior.  It’s easier to see problems than solutions, but that’s a place to  start.  In most organizations we work with, I don’t often see a  big conflict between goals, but rather an absence of aligned  goals and guidelines that define good performance. There is  really no context for creating alignment, so it’s up to the project  manager to define these goals and guidelines to get the team on  the same page.  I believe that a shortcut to shaping behavior is establishing  measurements and feedback processes. “Show me how you  measure me, and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave.” So – to get your  team aligned in their behavior, create the right measurements.  
We, in our projects, start out with simple measurements to guide behavior,  like:  • Velocity – the speed of task completions. Are we moving  faster? Actually completing tasks and handing them off?  
• Rework – how often we have to do things over? The rule is  always do it right, don’t sacrifice quality for speed.  
• Frequency of Progress Blockages – how often do we get  surprises? The number of surprises tell us that people are  not raising problems early – an important prevention  behavior. We want team members to get into the habit of  fixing problems as soon as they’re identified. If we find an  area that’s at risk, or completely stopped, we want to the  team to respond.  This is just a starting point to align team purpose and behavior,  but don’t lose sight of the main idea—the team must  have one goal, and your measurements will be useful to ferret  out the conflicts and remove them.  
The more contractors involved in a given project, the more  opportunities there are for confusion.  By applying the principles of the Theory of Constraints and Lean  Manufacturing, it paves a path for success under emergency  conditions.  Now imagine what you could achieve  by applying these same principles to your operations today. Take  a few moments to complete a brief self-assessment.  If you cannot answer “yes” to all these questions, you may be  missing crucial opportunities for improving productivity and  reducing costs.

• Can you see all the bottlenecks in your value chain?  
• Do you find ways to rebalance resources for more output?  
• Can you know which part of the chain sets the pace for  your entire process?  
• Are you able to turn idle time into productive time without  adding new equipment or new staff ?  
• Can you isolate the constraints to accelerate the flow  through the chain?  
• Do you redirect resources to boost output at the  constraints  
• Are the specifications or decision rules you made in the  past relevant to your current operations ?  
• Can you see which rules can be modified to accelerate  output?  
• Do you have unseen opportunities to change materials and  suppliers to your advantages ?  • Can you align multiple processes , multiple contractors  with one common standards?  
• Do you have communications standards everyone uses  and understands ?  
• Are your protocols facilitating accurate ,real –time

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                           Ala'a Elbeheri
GlobeTechConsult_Canada  Ottawa , 7th November, 2014.

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