Showing posts with label pmp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pmp. Show all posts

Sunday, June 9, 2024

AI Driven PM: At last! A Monte Carlo Analysis Made Possible with AI!

A Monte Carlo analysis stands as one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of project management, renowned for its ability to provide detailed risk assessments and predictions. However, this incredible potential often remains untapped, reserved for high-risk, long-term projects. The reason? The sheer volume of detailed information required to execute Monte Carlo simulations effectively. Yet, in the age of artificial intelligence (AI), we stand on the cusp of a revolution that could democratize this tool, making it accessible and practical for a wider array of projects. 

The Complexity of Monte Carlo Analysis 

Monte Carlo analysis involves running simulations to predict the probability of various outcomes in a project. It demands comprehensive data for every task: 

Task Details: The foundational elements of tasks, including their descriptions, predecessors, successors, and assigned resources. 

Estimates: For each task, we need the best-case, most likely, and worst-case time estimates. 

Risks: A detailed understanding of the risks associated with each task, including their likelihood and impact. 

Risk Information: Further, we need a full spectrum of risk data, from historical risk occurrences to the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. 

Given these requirements, Monte Carlo analysis has traditionally been limited to projects where the stakes justify the effort—think large-scale infrastructure projects or complex software developments with significant uncertainties and potential impacts. 

Bridging the Gap with AI 

Artificial intelligence is poised to transform this landscape. Here’s how AI can address the hurdles of Monte Carlo analysis: 

Data Mining and Integration: AI can scour historical project data to identify patterns and fill gaps. By analyzing past projects, AI can generate realistic estimates for new tasks, even when explicit data is unavailable. This reduces the burden on project managers to provide exhaustive detail upfront. 

Risk Prediction and Assessment: Machine learning algorithms excel at recognizing patterns. AI can predict risks based on historical data and similar projects, providing a more comprehensive risk profile than a human might achieve alone. 

Automating Estimates: Through continuous learning, AI can improve its estimation accuracy over time. Initial uncertainties can be progressively replaced with data-driven insights, making the Monte Carlo simulations more reliable and less speculative. 

A Practical Example: Building a Mobile App 

Consider a mid-sized project: developing a new mobile application. Traditionally, Monte Carlo analysis might seem excessive for such a project due to its perceived complexity and data demands. However, with AI integration, this changes: 

Task Breakdown: AI can assist in creating a detailed work breakdown structure, identifying task dependencies, and assigning resources based on historical data. 

Estimation: AI algorithms analyze previous app development projects to provide best-case, most likely, and worst-case estimates for each task. 

Risk Analysis: AI evaluates potential risks by comparing the current project’s parameters with past projects, predicting issues like delays due to resource constraints or unforeseen technical challenges. 

The Benefits 

Implementing Monte Carlo analysis with AI in our mobile app project offers tangible benefits: 

Improved Accuracy: AI-enhanced estimates and risk assessments lead to more reliable project timelines and resource allocation. 

Proactive Risk Management: By predicting risks early, the project team can implement mitigation strategies before issues arise, reducing the likelihood of costly delays. 

Informed Decision-Making: Project managers receive data-driven insights, enabling better decision-making and more efficient project execution. 


Monte Carlo analysis, once the realm of large-scale, high-risk projects, is becoming increasingly accessible thanks to AI. By automating data collection, enhancing risk prediction, and refining estimates, AI transforms Monte Carlo analysis from a complex, data-intensive process into a practical tool for a wider range of projects. This democratization empowers project managers to leverage sophisticated risk management techniques, ultimately driving project success in our increasingly complex and uncertain world. 

As we continue to integrate AI into project management, the future holds exciting possibilities where the power of Monte Carlo analysis is just a click away, making every project more predictable, manageable, and successful. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Boosting Value Performance Per Day (VPD) with AI

In project management, timely and effective decisions are critical to success. However, the traditional approach is filled with time-consuming tasks that prevent project managers from focusing on what truly matters—creating value. This is where the concept of Value Performance per Day (VPD) comes into play. VPD measures the amount of value a project manager can deliver in a day, directly impacting the project's success.

Typically, a project manager spends too much time on manual tasks to understand what happened in the previous week. This includes compiling status reports from team members, attending numerous status meetings, updating project plans, and manually entering data into various systems. After gathering all the necessary information, the project manager must then analyze it to identify variances and deviations from the plan. Only then can they begin to make informed decisions on how to realign the project and mitigate risks. As Albert Einstein once said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." In this context, the experience comes from meticulously sifting through data, a process that can consume 75-85% of a typical work week.

The true value of project management lies in the ability to identify issues, anticipate risks, and implement corrective actions swiftly. However, with most of the project manager's time spent gathering and reporting data, only a few hours are left for making meaningful decisions. This imbalance delays critical decisions and limits the project manager's ability to add value proactively. Winston Churchill aptly noted, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." The current state of project management demands a change that allows project managers to spend more time on decision-making and less on administrative tasks.

This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can significantly enhance VPD. By automating routine tasks such as data collection, report generation, and status updates, AI frees up a substantial amount of the project manager's time. For example, AI can integrate data from multiple systems like Jira, time-tracking tools, and project management software, providing a real-time, unified view of the project's status. This automation can reduce the time spent on status and reporting tasks to just 15-25% of the week, allowing project managers to devote 75-85% of their time to anticipating issues, mitigating risks, and creating value for the project.

Consider the story of Sarah, a project manager at a large tech firm. Before implementing AI, Sarah spent 65% of her week gathering data from Jira, updating her project plans in Microsoft Project, and preparing detailed status reports for her team and stakeholders. This left her with only 35% of her time to make critical decisions. After integrating an AI solution, Sarah's project management tools were seamlessly connected, and she received real-time updates. The AI analyzed project data, flagged potential risks, and even suggested corrective actions. With these tasks automated, Sarah now spends only 15% of her week on administrative duties. This allows her to dedicate 85% of her time to strategic decision-making, greatly increasing her VPD. As a result, Sarah identified and mitigated a significant risk early in the project, preventing a major delay and saving her company substantial resources.

Another example is John, a project manager in the healthcare industry. John used to spend 50% of every week manually tracking project progress and consolidating data from different departments, such as patient care, IT, and logistics. This left him with limited time to focus on high-value activities. After implementing AI, John's project management system automatically pulled data from various sources, provided real-time progress updates, and generated comprehensive reports. With these tasks automated, John now spends just 15% of his week on data gathering and reporting. The remaining 85% is spent optimizing patient care processes and improving resource allocation. This increased VPD resulted in faster project delivery and better patient outcomes.

To calculate VPD, consider the total value-added activities completed by the project manager in a day. This can be quantified by evaluating the impact of decisions made, issues resolved, and improvements implemented. For instance, if a project manager resolves three critical issues, makes two strategic decisions, and implements one process improvement in a day, each with a quantifiable value, these can be summed up to measure the total value delivered per day. By tracking this metric over time, organizations can gauge the effectiveness of their project managers and the impact of AI in enhancing their performance.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize project management by maximizing VPD. By automating the time-consuming tasks of data gathering and reporting, AI allows project managers to focus on strategic decision-making. This shift not only improves project outcomes but also enables project managers to add greater value through proactive risk management and issue resolution. As we embrace this technology, we move closer to achieving the perfect balance in project management, where value is delivered swiftly and effectively.


Friday, April 26, 2024

Resource Management with AI: A Strategic Imperative for Project Success

Effective resource allocation is fundamental to the success of any project management endeavor. The strategic integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into resource management not only refines these processes but also maximizes the utility of every project component. By harnessing the power of AI, project managers are equipped to navigate complex project dynamics with unparalleled precision, substantially enhancing team performance and overall project outcomes.

AI significantly augments various facets of resource management:

  • Dynamic Skill Matching: AI employs deep learning to meticulously analyze each team member's skills against past project performances, enabling precise alignment of project tasks with the most qualified personnel. For instance, in an intricate engineering project, AI could identify engineers who have demonstrated excellence in specific system integrations or troubleshooting, ensuring that critical project elements are managed by the most adept individuals.
  • Predictive Resource Planning: Leveraging predictive analytics, AI forecasts the resource demands of future project stages, based on detailed analysis of project timelines and historical data. This capability allows for proactive adjustments in resource deployment, such as in the rollout of new technology platforms, where AI anticipates the need for additional technical support, facilitating smooth transitions and minimizing disruptions.
  • Real-Time Resource Optimization: AI dynamically adjusts resource allocations in real time based on project feedback and external factors. During a major marketing initiative, for example, AI could shift resources among teams in response to real-time performance data, ensuring optimal utilization of personnel and maximizing campaign effectiveness.
  • Balanced Workload Distribution: To prevent burnout and ensure equitable task distribution, AI continuously assesses workloads and redistributes tasks where necessary. This feature is crucial during phases of intense project development, where AI ensures that work is evenly distributed, maintaining high productivity and team morale.
  • Strategic Team Formation: AI evaluates historical collaboration data to form teams that are likely to achieve high synergy. In global projects, AI might combine personnel from various departments and regions who have historically collaborated successfully, enhancing problem-solving capabilities and project execution.
  • Automated Scheduling and Allocation: AI automates the complex task of scheduling, considering multiple variables such as project deadlines, individual availability, and priority, streamlining project logistics and ensuring timely completion of milestones.
  • Enhancement of Team Skills Analysis: AI identifies potential skills shortages within teams and recommends targeted training or hiring strategies. This proactive approach ensures that teams are always equipped with the necessary skills to tackle current and future projects effectively.
  • Performance-Based Resource Insights: By analyzing the impact of various resource allocation strategies, AI provides valuable insights that help refine future resource planning. This analysis might reveal, for example, optimal team compositions that consistently deliver superior results, guiding more strategic resource allocation in subsequent projects.

The integration of AI into resource management not only simplifies managerial tasks but also enriches strategic decision-making within project management. This innovative approach enables managers to plan more effectively, adapt swiftly to changes, and optimize resource utilization continually. The result is a more agile and responsive project management practice that not only meets but exceeds project goals and expectations.

Furthermore, employing AI for resource management shifts the focus of project management capacity toward higher-value work, moving away from mundane tasks. This shift is accomplished by improving the quality of resources on projects through better matches of skills needed versus availability. AI's role in resource management is pivotal in fostering an environment where project managers can focus on strategic initiatives and innovation, significantly contributing to the broader business objectives. This forward-thinking approach ensures that organizations remain competitive and capable of thriving in an increasingly complex project landscape.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I am fired up!

In my daily reading, two articles peaked my attention today.  The first was called The Blair Witch Project Manager.  It talked of a horrible project and a horrible experience the person had with a project manager.  He then went on to say:

"I get, though, why awful PMs enthral senior leaders. The PM ‘Body of Knowledge’ features lots of complex tools and techniques that make ‘planning’ seem like rocket science. There are equations for calculating work and projecting trends that look absolutely stunning on a dazzling ‘status tracking dashboard.’ Clever PMs give their bosses the illusion of being totally in control. They’re strut about like business auteurs, so scientifically and artistically advanced that mortals can’t appreciate their genius.
In reality, I can put a couple of Eagle Scouts or infantry sergeants into a PM role and almost always get a much better product. Real PM is just careful planning, clear communication, and some advanced what-if preparedness. It’s supposed to be operational oversight that supports the delivery of work. It’s not what the Bobs of the business world would have you believe; an indulgent exercise in self-promoting cleverness that diverts effort away from real work for entertainment’s sake."

This is the exact message that I am fighting.  You can't put unqualified people in the role and then question the value that the role provides.  He clearly stated in the article that the project manager was trained by their company and that the project manager was not following the process.  Yet, the profession catches the blame.  

The other article is titled Phoenix an ‘incomprehensible failure’ of project management: Ferguson.  In this article, it was clear that executives had mandated a date, did not heed warnings to delay the implementation, and did not establish proper controls.  Again, the failure is placed on project management and not poor leadership.  In fact, what is the impression if you only read the title?

These are two shining examples of the exact reason that I speak, blog, do the radio show, and these e-mails.  The profession continues to be devalued.  These are perfect examples of  wanting to have the results that project management can promise while not allowing the process to exist.  

I was told recently that sometimes I write from a standpoint of assuming that we as project managers have more power than we do.  I feel it is exactly the opposite.  I recognize that most project managers are assigned the impossible and expected to deliver the unreasonable.  It is the power of influence that we can wield.  If we can push a date off or negotiate better terms for our people, then we are doing our job.  The PMBOK and all of the training is to arm us with the proper information.  What I feel the profession lacks the most is the application of those skills to turn cultures around.  This is why I put together the Project Management That Works Masterclass.  It is fueled with techniques, tips, and standards that can influence an organization no matter where you sit on the organizational chart.

In any case, these articles continue to prove that we have a long way to go to teaching organizations the value of the profession.

No Day But Today,


Monday, April 23, 2018

Radio Show Transcript - The Man Who Changed My Career - Rob Thomsett - Recorded March 23, 2018

The Man Who Changed My Career - Rob Thomsett - Recorded March 23, 2018

To get to the web page of the radio show, click here.

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Please remember this is a transcript of a radio show that airs live every Friday and is also podcasted.  Spelling and punctuation may be affected.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:27;06 - 00:04:54;12
Rick A. Morris: And welcome to another Friday edition of the work life balance. I'm Rick Maher is your host and you know this was a supremely hyped show. I was super hyped super ready because we were going to have The Legend Rob Thomsett on the line with us. And we for some reason haven't connected. So maybe he'll dial in maybe he won't. If so we'll get him reconnected. But you know Rob is somebody that I look up to and absolutely 100 percent changed my career. So we're going to be watching out for him. He's in Australia. Time zones. We've been exchanging information. We were we were all set to go. But you know what. We're in project management things happen. We should be ready to go if it pops and that's great. If not no worries. But I'm back from Costa Rica which you know I wasn't on the show last week. We did a replay because I was in Costa Rica with John Maxwell and 250 of now people that I call family and friends on a transformation trip. And so we will actually devote this hour then to the Costa Rica trip and what an incredible trip it was. What an incredible experience it was for us. And I I just can't I can't even describe how incredible this whole thing was for us. The whole point of the trip itself right is transformation. And when you hear somebody say something like that they're going to go transform a country. And that was the vision that John had. What does that mean. What does it really mean to go transform a country. So let's explain kind of the statistics and things that we're talking about. So first what it really means is what we were doing was training facilitators and in training those facilitators we were trying to make sure that they were ready and prepared to train other facilitators for transformation in using Mac. Malcolm Gladwell the tipping point. We want to get 10 percent of the population of Costa Rica sitting down and discussing values we want to make sure that they can sit down and discuss values and have open conversations about values to essentially usher in the next generation. That's what we mean by transformation. And so we trained 15000 people in the course of a week through roundtable methods of values. And we we sat down and did attitude and forgiveness and train these facilitators and now for the next 16 weeks those 15000 people will be working with 65000 people that are already signed up and working and will go through a 16 week program talking about 10 universal laws and then six laws of intentional living. And talking about how small actions can lead to great change. And at the end of every roundtable. So in a roundtable you discuss one of the values for instance we talk about attitude. They read a lesson on attitude they discuss what is the lesson spoke to them and then they rate themselves on their current feelings about attitude. So from one to ten how do you feel then they go through and start to talk about what benefits would you get from raising your value from forward six or six to eight. Who do you admire that has that attitude has a great attitude. And why do you admire them. And then finally what small action are you going to take to improve for the next week and then when they come back the next week they'll talk about how did that action go and what was the result and then they'll take a new value. And so that's essentially what we were doing and training and it was absolutely phenomenal experience to be a part of to to be just first of all welcomed as we were welcomed in Costa Rica. You know I was talking to another John Maxwell coach today. And what we were just kind of talking about the difference between you know organizations that we work with here in the states and organizations that we were working there in Costa Rica.

00:04:54;12 - 00:05:01;18
Rick A. Morris: Now I'll explain. So first was give you an example here in the United States.

00:05:01;19 - 00:06:18;22
Rick A. Morris: So this just literally happened this week that I got back from Costa Rica. So I was working with an executive team and the executive that I was working with was telling me that he was dealing with a lot of attitude issues with his leadership team and they were having a lot of communication breakdowns and I'm a certified behavior consultant and we have a tool called disk profiling that helps teams communicate with each other and helps identify what my communications style is and what your communication style is and helps us kind of build common ground. And it's a really cool tool and I've talked about it on the show in the past. So I suggested Hey let's do this. And you know I said we can even do it in the sense that you know we've got this tool that we're rolling out and I can use it to say you know to understand what kind of reports we need to build whether they need to be highly detailed or whether they need to be more graphical that it will help us understand what type of information we need to give you as a leadership team to make sure that we're communicating effectively. So it's not so much about you know hey we want to find out who you are it was more about how do we communicate effectively with you. And so he thought it was a great idea.

00:06:18;24 - 00:06:30;22
Rick A. Morris: We went and got codes and we went and start to roll this out to the team and the team went to H.R. and blocked even taken the survey.

00:06:30;25 - 00:06:54;06
Rick A. Morris: They were so concerned that somebody might find out that they're tough to deal with. They were so concerned about their own internal growth there. I don't know what they were concerned about to be honest with you though they wouldn't even sit down and take a little 24 question thing so that they could figure out what their communication style is and how to communicate with other people.

00:06:54;27 - 00:06:57;24
Rick A. Morris: And I was blown away by that right.

00:06:57;24 - 00:09:41;15
Rick A. Morris: I mean especially when you're when you should be constantly looking for opportunities to grow and constantly looking inside yourself to find ways to become better especially if you're a leader. Right. Leaders need to be servant leaders and leaders need to be looking inside themselves. And so I'm coming off of this incredible week where a transformation is within me and I'm watching these people you know just absolutely 100 percent breakdown So contrast that to Costa Rica where we give them these values and immediately when we give them these values they sit down and as soon as they see one of these things as soon as they see one the first thing they want to do is sign up their entire company. And so they're coming back to the hotel that we're working in and signing up company after company. I had one lady that was working with us who was our interpreter she was working at the U.S. embassy and as soon as we were done she was like wow my entire company needs to be involved in this and came back and signed up her entire company and we had story after story after story after story of how the Costa Rican people were embracing this so much and wanted to grow so quickly. It was absolutely insane. And so when we look at this and compare and contrast what an incredible incredible opportunity it was for us to really witness a an organization a group of people that really wanted to grow and really want to change. And that's why it's it's going like wildfire through Costa Rica since being back. I've gotten countless you know e-mails and Facebook messages and texts and all that kind of stuff from people that we worked with who are thanking us for coming over and sharing this information with them. And at the same time I'm watching people I'm working with here in the states who are just like I don't need that stuff. Who needs though. Who needs to work on an attitude. Why. Why. Why do I need to work on my listening and just to compare and contrast was was breathtaking to me. So Costa Rica when we talk about transformation it was transformational for me just to see it to be a part of it. I think I learned more from them than they learned from me. I can promise you that. And it's a trip that I absolutely want 100 percent will never ever ever forget. So we're going to take our first break right here. I actually think I saw a phone call come through. We'll see if we can connect with Rob if not we'll continue the story with Costa Rica. You're listening to the work life balance with Rick Morris.

00:13:42;25 - 00:16:18;22
Rick A. Morris: And we are back to the work life balance that we are managing all kinds of things right here we're actually trying to work some magic and get Rob on the line. I talked to him on the break as we're trying to do things overseas and I think we're going to get him on the line here in just a second. But coming back just to wrap up the Costa Rica trip so that was brought together by Mejeremos Costa Rica the John Maxwell leadership Foundation and the John Maxwell team. So there were 250 coaches that that actually paid their own way to go over there and be a part of that trip. It was organized chaos is exactly what it was is we actually ended up joining in and would stand in a line and they would just tell us you know four coaches and you jump in a car you have no idea where you would go. So I ended up in a school. I ended up at a church. I ended up at a hardware store like a Home Depot. Worked at the embassy. We worked all over the place and had an opportunity to just train these people. Which again was was just a life changing experience. So if we ever have ever have an opportunity to do something like that let's do it. So I'm going to transition into a story here really quickly and we're going to do our best here with the connections that we have. But for me there was a point early in my career really around 2002 where I decided or was thinking of quitting project management it was just you know I was frustrated. Weren't meeting for me. I was frustrated I was done. And so I actually walked through a bookstore and was trying to figure out you know maybe a job title would jump off the page for me or you know maybe I'd see a book or something that would inspire me. And so as I was walking through I found this book called Radical Project Management. And you know that the title itself by that was cool I picked it up started to flip through it and it's the first project management book in my life that ever made me laugh number one but number two spoke to me in a different way than any other project management book ever had. And so I ended up buying the book read it cover to cover and started to put the things in motion a lot of the ideas in motion. And I credit that night in that book for saving my career and putting a lot of the early seeds of my success and project management into practice. And that book was written by Rob Thomsett. Which was why I was so excited to finally get them on the line. So let's see if Rob's There Rob you there.

00:16:20;13 - 00:16:21;26
Rob Thomsett: Can you hear me ok?.

00:16:21;28 - 00:16:24;08
Rick A. Morris: I can hear you. Hi how are you my friend.

00:16:24;08 - 00:16:32;02
Rob Thomsett: I'm just. I'm just as excited as you are and I really really appreciate that feedback.

00:16:32;02 - 00:16:47;09
Rob Thomsett: It means something incredible when something you write actually connects to another person thousands of miles away. So I'm really looking forward to this Rick for sure and we lost this segment so I want to make up for time.

00:16:47;12 - 00:17:09;18
Rick A. Morris: And I'll tell you when you weren't on the line when we got started I was getting texts left and right from my friends. Where's Rob. So we're so excited that we got a chance to connect. Politics. Oh no worries at all. We said you know this is project management 101. This is what we do. Man Yeah we're risk ready is what we are.

00:17:10;09 - 00:17:12;12
Rob Thomsett: Absolutely. Absolutely.

00:17:12;26 - 00:17:43;14
Rick A. Morris: But I want to get into the meat because we've only got so much time with you and I feel like I could fill 12 shows with you and so we're going to have to have you back that's just a no brainer but it'll be a pleasure. The quote that I feel changed my entire outlook and you and I haven't had a chance to prep. We barely even had a chance to talk but the quote that I think changed my entire career was when you wrote that projects fail because of context. Not content would you. Would you explain that to the audience for a show.

00:17:43;14 - 00:19:20;14
Rob Thomsett: Sure. So no projects especially in you know what I call now traditional project manager which has its roots back in construction engineering project management people and tree projects as a system which was you know let's get right let's get the estimates right and let's sort of hunker down and execute and just deliver. But when you actually look at what projects they are in effect very open systems. They're part of a much broader either organizational context or a business context. So when I started looking and observing and being part of very complex projects what was happening in the past I would say but rather that interactions with stakeholders interactions with other approaches interactions with sponsors for example that interactions basically outside the project in its armaments which was the cause of the problem prior to that. So that idea. Halakhic is the lack of space around the project. And that's where you project managers or project ventures have to shift the focus because that's where this all of disruption tends to come from. Not always but in most cases that was the sort of idea that context versus content content what the projects will bring on takes and go with the practical needs.

00:19:21;17 - 00:19:28;06
Rick A. Morris: Yeah I think you're on a cell phone. So we're getting some good feedback here but I'm so sorry.

00:19:28;20 - 00:19:56;12
Rick A. Morris: Yeah yeah. I don't know if you're pacing but the the where we take that to what what. I took that to mean as well as is also contacts to be you know the main data date the mandated budgets the things that just tended not matter whereas you know where we're going to deliver the content. But it made me shift my focus to begin to manage up versus manage down. Does that does that make sense.

00:19:56;20 - 00:20:26;24
Rob Thomsett: Absolutely absolutely. I mean there's there's overwhelming evidence that you know for example the relationship between a project manager or sponsor and I believe this for decades is the single most important relationship are going to Johanes. So in that context of managing up with Rick how he spun to build this trusting relationship is critical to the success of any project.

00:20:30;11 - 00:20:46;07
Rick A. Morris: So with what you wrote with context and content you also just broadened my eyes beyond the the iron triangle with the research you did with Cutter Consortium and so tell the other  listeners a little bit about that.

00:20:46;07 - 00:21:02;09
Rob Thomsett: Sure. And again just to interrupt if I don't come through clearly we are at the age of automation and digital and we've still got still can't get Scott to work on this.

00:21:02;10 - 00:21:06;11
Rob Thomsett: I'm a Mac user if that helps people understand my technical capability.

00:21:06;12 - 00:22:00;25
Rob Thomsett: So what I'm get when you look at what's called the iron triangle which is you know a scope budget and time and you actually start seeing that project in this more broader idea. This is an old lives in this big old world. There are lots of other ways of measuring success. The classic example is that that old joke Rick that the operation was a success and the patient died that people people were looking at the wrong images of sick how a project succeeds because the really interesting out of a project is what happens after those lives and what you know what we're doing as project managers delivering a change in isolation and enter the project successful.

00:22:00;25 - 00:24:09;02
Rob Thomsett: That change has to be sustained and accepted by the stakeholders. Guadalupe would that change so that immediately thinking about you know looking at success from seven different dimensions and I'll come to WA from three to seven. But the first one was you know how are the stakeholders in terms of their relationship to what the projects are doing and what it's delivering. So if the stakeholders are on board it doesn't matter if you Sprite's that the project can succeed longer term and then taking that same view of projects is something that matters beyond the day it goes live. That is the projects are about delivering a sustained change. Then you suddenly realize that project's also about benefits. In other words you know again you're on time and on budget but you don't realize the benefits. So that was a quality issue was always one. And pay them on other people. Now sort of picked that up which is great. You know really the low quality then that can kind of tie the projects successful and that's okay. The car industry in the 70s and 80s is a good example of that. And finally the thing that most people find controversial Rick is I added teams is a consideration. In other words if we look at teams as a group of creative people how they how they feel about the product is equally as important. I've seen projects where the entire team is left after the project went live and the organizations was told that all IP and all that credible creative energy. So again that to me that projects not successful so we end up with this 7 7 dimensions of success stakeholder engagement requirements or scope budget time quality benefits and teams. That's where that came from. And now since I read that book and came up with that model I've seen very few projects successful almost full seven dimensions.

00:24:10;05 - 00:24:42;04
Rick A. Morris: Yeah. And you say that it's controversial right to include the teams but as I've grown as a leader really in the last two or three years in trying to do my personal development that the team satisfaction has been you know number one right. It's all about developing the leaders within the people around you and servant leadership. And really I do want to dive into this with you because you know I've got a lot of friends that are in charge.

00:24:42;04 - 00:24:49;21
Rick A. Morris: I've now become certified in Agile. And everybody thinks Agile is brand new. As of 2001 you were writing about it.

00:24:49;22 - 00:25:07;28
Rick A. Morris: I mean your book was published 2002 which means you know this was back in the day when we really had to work to publish a book right so that means you were writing this in 99 in 2000. So you know you are the first person ever to speak out to meet

00:25:09;16 - 00:26:49;23
Rob Thomsett: And look at one stage they're interconnected Rick because what this has been an ongoing news specifically dramatic turn there's been this cultural war between this view which was evidence probably the best way by things like the Sci. where if you just got the mechanics of project management right then you were doing a good job. And this more let's call it systems approach to project management which said that project management was about the management not the management of artifacts but the management of creativity. And that came to me way way earlier than Radikal project mentioned. I wrote a book which Jordan Press published in and print and print us all in nineteen eighty called people in project management which is long out of print a very small book but it reflected the learning side had from 10 years in the federal government here in Australia are trying project managers. The second sentence in the book says having taught 800 project managers over the last decade. The most important lesson this project mentions all about people and so disputed that this is that especially in projects these plug compatible compounds she just plugging in and that's being really evidenced by some of the social okay.

00:26:50;19 - 00:26:58;22
Rick A. Morris: So I think we've got a caller on the line. Let's go and take the caller and then we'll we'll introduce the question to Rob when we get them back who's on the line.

00:26:58;24 - 00:27:09;02
John Stenbeck: Rick that's John's longtime listener and friend what's up brother. How are you. Good. You're doing good. I think was right I was going to sorry go ahead.

00:27:09;14 - 00:27:12;15
John Stenbeck: I was just saying I think we're trying to re-establish that connection there with Rob.

00:27:13;09 - 00:27:14;15
Rick A. Morris: OK. Yes.

00:27:15;05 - 00:27:34;07
Rick A. Morris: There's Rob and and midsentence I pivoted to a call. I do want to introduce you rob to a dear friend of mine. He's the creator of The Agile Almanac Book One and book to the person that I learned a tremendous amount of Agile too. His name is John Stenbeck so Rob me John John me Rob.

00:27:34;07 - 00:27:34;24
Rob Thomsett: Hey John.

00:27:34;24 - 00:28:21;22
John Stenbeck: Hey Rob nice you I've got to tell you I heard Rick speak so eloquently from a keynote stage about radical project management that I felt compelled to acquire copy and then I acquired a copy. I was blown away as he was starting to say just before you guys dropped off the call about the way back in 2001 you're writing about the free agent army the global economy and the four waves of product management. I mean radical project management was a book written by a prophet as far as I'm concerned. So got to hear your thoughts on the update. Clearly you were correct with free agent and global economy and foodways just would love to hear your thoughts about how that's been sold or what's coming that and then I'll take a look at mine.

00:28:22;19 - 00:30:18;28
Rob Thomsett: John again I thank you for that feedback. It means a lot to me. I think we're right now we're in a really interesting space because Agil now has become as it should of a mainstream idea. And let's switch we'll be happy that that's happened. The question that at all. No matter what variation of that whether it's place or know it covens more or just pure scrum is it is a credibly incredibly aligned way of building creative product. However my concern now is that it's become the silver bullet it's got this almost religious fervor around it and use that that term that yeah that sort of hides the fact that it's fundamentally a major cultural journey. And many traditional organizations are not up to that journey. So I have a concern that some organizations in there's tons of evidence already say we're going to go agile and find out that they're actually not culturally ready for it and abandon what is a really valid approach to doing projects. So I think we're almost like a not a crisis point with some guys to radically rethink how they approach their people how they approach how they source project teams you know cause you've got to have kind of occasional as things so I don't think the battles won yet would be I view John I think we've got a long way to go still before Agile becomes the way most people would and I love that she said that because you know there's two terms that I use on the show all the time.

00:30:18;28 - 00:31:08;07
Rick A. Morris: Rob one is Agile theater which is people who are pretending to be Agile but not doing it right. So they're yeah they're playing out theater and the other is the clown which is you know the tons of consultants out there that have no basis no experience that are that are trying to lead these transformations and producing results like we can't tell you when we're going to be done because we're Agile. I can't tell you how much it's going to cost because we're Agile, all these wonderful new things that are providing great material for books but the horrible results for our organizations in just like software in the Great is like CA PPM Primavera Planview those out there people are saying that software doesn't work. No it works just fine. It's just that just as you said you weren't culturally ready

00:31:08;07 - 00:32:35;06
Rob Thomsett: yeah general audience in your view but you know a lot here in Australia where I'm currently based a lot to the biggest banks and now in American terms that talking organisations of 40000 people have publicly stated from the CEO that they are going to go agile and investing substantial amount of effort into doing that. And you know we're sort of really aware of what's happening internally at both these places and see exactly what you say. They've they've hired consultants who who never worked at the scale it is required that they're not looking through any of the second six. So what happens when you go to jail is where you embed inches. How do you transition all your support systems. Yeah it is really interesting and it brings out what I unfortunately believe is that with this application which is the fact that there are still people who see it that way.

00:32:36;28 - 00:32:49;05
Rick A. Morris: Yeah and again so we're going to make this huge announcement but then we're going to go to the lowest cost providers terms of consultant because you know we don't want to spend that much correct.

00:32:49;06 - 00:33:04;06
Rob Thomsett: Look you know that if you if you go back long enough and unfortunately all I can do that easily you know I want to tell a quick story I've got a minute. Yes please do.

00:33:04;18 - 00:33:39;19
Rob Thomsett: Yes I'm sure you both would love it. The Life of Brian it is a multipart talk. Of course yeah of course yeah. So I use this metaphor a lot. Mindlin Brian is mistaken for the Messiah and he's trying to get away from the soldiers he he gets Gulotta play hard and was and in about four minutes later the saddle falls off and some of us always say that it was so a true symbol of the Messiah had this big fight about what's the true symbol of the Messiah.

00:33:39;24 - 00:33:45;15
Rick A. Morris: Remember that saying yes yeah yeah yeah.

00:33:45;22 - 00:34:57;23
Rob Thomsett: So you were having. I've got clients who are fighting right now with a space you know sky. Their job is better than scrum. And this this happened way back in the late 70s early 80s when structural analysis was the big thing you know doing data fly diagrams Ed Gordon and Tom Dimarco and Gaynor's Sasso and they were actual culprits is about whether that gang of assassins rectangles representation of process was better than Tom DaMarcus circle representation you know and I love this stuff. But what it was underneath it was the fact that whosever you know agile religion was going to make more money and that's the sad thing that is that keeps worrying me about where radicals got to it's now become mainstream which means is now owned by the large consulting companies instead of a group of creative individuals which is where it came from. So it's become institutionalized and that can be the seeds of its failure frankly.

00:34:58;02 - 00:35:18;18
Rob Thomsett: You know one of the things I've seen your your whole model of context and content and I've seen this when is addressing you know the agile thing and like you talk about Agile theatre and those other islands and stuff because organisations simply forget the context.

00:35:18;20 - 00:35:47;06
Rob Thomsett: This is really what's going to have to happen then so hopefully you know cooler heads smarter minds something's going to prevail and we're going to realise that again I'm come back to you know your your free agent army and the global economy context is going to force it but you have to treat human beings as human beings not as cogs in a wheel and so your influence on the way he sees the world and speaks to project management has been profound and so on.

00:35:47;09 - 00:37:09;24
Rob Thomsett: And I don't really care about that but I'm grateful it to me so that got to the real essence here. You've got to the real essence of what our job is about. I was with a client and I've done this a couple of times when we were looking at bringing more agility into the organization. And you guys would have faced this all the time and you would have and you've got this traditional PMO which I'm sure you're familiar with that that has gates and has processes where you've got to insert forms and conform to certain rules before you can move on. And the debate becomes underneath that is a much bigger question which which Agil directly addresses and no one talk about and it comes down to trust us to ultimately what Agil saying is do you trust a group of people who have open flows of information to them to their key business clients to do the right stuff or do you need to still put controls around people because fundamentally you don't trust people and the thing that agile is fundamentally built on to make is this inherent belief that people will do the right thing if you give them the right context.

00:37:09;25 - 00:37:31;02
Rick A. Morris: And to me there are too many organisations who believe that yes so it's theory x theory y and that's my favorite conversation to get into with companies. You know I do a lot of software implementation and so you have the people there like take everything off the screen lock it all down because if they can click it they will and they'll mess it up right.

00:37:31;02 - 00:37:53;12
Rick A. Morris: Or allow them to explore. Allow them to become better allow them to learn. Right. Yet it is so frustrating to watch that super locked down. My favorite is like where can you lock down these dates and it's like well who's going to log in at 3:00 in the morning and go change a bunch of scheduled dates. Like I don't want to look at the project schedule anyway. Come on. Yeah.

00:37:53;20 - 00:38:46;03
Rob Thomsett: Yeah. You know it's it's you know it's interesting and you know the number of times I've said this to executives and watch them watch them struggle. Right. You can see it in their eyes. I say look you got a simple choice to make. You either punish the majority for the behavior of the minority or you accept that the majority of good and deal with the minority by exception and that that fundamental truth is something most organizations. Yeah we look at a Netflix or some of the Spotify they solve that problem. You know they've gone to the assumption that everyone's basically good intent and will deal with what doesn't work on an exception basis but logic corporations can pick that cultural view.

00:38:46;05 - 00:38:51;29
Rick A. Morris: In my experience you design to the 95 percent not for the five correct.

00:38:52;04 - 00:38:58;11
Rick A. Morris: And the more that you and I talk the more I think we need to have some sort of DNA test because you actually maybe my dad.

00:38:58;12 - 00:39:23;21
Rob Thomsett: I'm not sure that milk is going to tell you when in the old days when there was conferences that talked about this sort of stuff rather than you know had a run down shot. There was a very small group of people Rick and I was privileged to be part of it that all felt the same way. And you know welcome to the club.

00:39:24;06 - 00:39:26;18
Rob Thomsett: And what does that represent. Right.

00:39:27;08 - 00:39:49;16
Rob Thomsett: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you say you talk about the edge or clad in all this stuff. The thing I like to talk about is the ceremonies. Everyone thinks that our job is about the ceremonies to stand up their retrospectives. We're getting some we have been down Chow's blah blah blah. It isn't. It's about a fundamentally different way of working.

00:39:51;06 - 00:40:08;27
Rick A. Morris: I love it. Well unfortunately for the first time ever. Just so you know I've been doing this show for two years Rob. And for the first time ever I was offered to skip a full commercial break just to keep the conversation going and I took that opportunity with you but unfortunately we have to take a commercial break here so we're going to do so.

00:43:16;18 - 00:43:28;14
Rick A. Morris: And we're back to the final segment of the work life balance on this Friday and we're visiting with Rob Thomsett now with seven consulting he's from Australia and he's just been delighting us with stories.

00:43:28;14 - 00:44:11;12
Rick A. Morris: And you know Rob you know how I feel about you buddy. It's been such a delight to talk to you. You know I was flipping through radical project management again just preparing and I'm trying to find the spot again and I don't think I will. But you know I teach an elevator speech to our project managers because I hate to hear project managers try to describe what they do for a living because it sounds like a scene from Office Space right. It's horrible. And so I teach them to say you know that we make dreams come true and that it's a simple thing but you know what. I think that was influenced by you as well. I don't know if it was in my psyche or subconscious but that you had something like that in Radical project management as well correct.

00:44:12;03 - 00:44:34;06
Rob Thomsett: Yes yes in fact it was in both Radical and third wave and it was also in people in project management project management making dreams come true. Yeah. It's it's the management creativity and it's the focusing of creativity on helping people get to a better space. Absolutely wonderful job here.

00:44:34;06 - 00:44:48;17
Rick A. Morris: Here I think I thought I came up with that and I think you're the one that just threw it into my subconscious so I'm going to have to start crediting you with that again. So anybody who's ever heard me say that that came from Rob for me and thrown that out as well.

00:44:48;17 - 00:44:54;17
Rob Thomsett: But I so Rick ideas are like children. If you let them go.

00:44:54;19 - 00:45:02;03
Rick A. Morris: Exactly right. Right. That's our job. And I'll tell you what if that if there's one that we can spread all over the place. That's the one that needs to spread.

00:45:02;17 - 00:45:23;02
Rob Thomsett: Yeah. Yep. You know I'm 70 now and I've done this for over 40 years and I wouldn't I wouldn't do another job. You know the stuff that the creativity and the brilliance of people I've worked with is just inspirational to treasure.

00:45:23;03 - 00:45:35;16
Rick A. Morris: It really is and once you in and that's what I do love about this career is we get to do some of the coolest things and see some of the coolest things ever I mean ever.

00:45:36;09 - 00:46:13;24
Rob Thomsett: Yeah. And energy. And you know in most cases you get to see people at their best which is aligned together working together to achieve some something bigger than themselves. You know one of the things I've always believe rakers is when computing started and I.T. project manager we chose the role the all made metaphor for we chose buildings rather than movies. To me a much better analogy to what we do and especially in the age our world is like movies except these movies changed people's lives.

00:46:14;03 - 00:46:23;10
Rick A. Morris: Wow. So one of the questions we'd like to ask all of our guests that come on the show is what some of the best advice you would say you've ever received.

00:46:24;17 - 00:46:33;03
Rob Thomsett: Oh that's very interesting. Is this advice about project management or a broader broader in general tech.

00:46:33;06 - 00:46:42;16
Rob Thomsett: So without a doubt the most significant thing I've ever left is no one ever pays you enough not to be yourself.

00:46:43;08 - 00:46:46;17
Rick A. Morris: I like that you help you want to tell the story behind it.

00:46:47;06 - 00:48:05;02
Rob Thomsett: Yeah. Look you know especially if you go back 20 30 years. It was this sort of idea that you came to work and you hung up your real self on a rack and did some sort of corporate persona. I remember they all stories about the IBM way the suits and all that sort of stuff. And now as you know of being a musician all my life and I've had a rage a sense of humor. I used to sort of hide that from people I worked with and one day someone said to me why are you doing that. You don't get paid enough. There's a guy called Pete Alonso a wonderful man. And I started being who I am at work with clients as I as I am at heart. And to the last part. I have to really like that because I was described recently by a c c c as as a passionate eccentric. And he said we need more of this. So you know you got to be true to yourself you've got to be authentic. And people see respond to it. Yeah that really really mattered to me that listen you know I love it I love it.

00:48:05;18 - 00:48:40;07
Rick A. Morris: And yeah and quite frankly it's your humor. So again I was at a very vulnerable time in my career. I found that you know nobody was listening nobody was doing anything and it was your humor that allowed my humor to come out. You know the whole dark side of project management which I found hilarious by the way in Radikal project management. But it was it was your humor in being able to describe things that I actually took the stage in and just kind of let my wit lose a little bit which is where I feel like my speaking career took off.

00:48:40;25 - 00:49:16;17
Rob Thomsett: Yeah I can I can hear it in your voice. Rick I can actually hear your voice. I can see and hear the smile you know Stephen Colbert you know who I really love once said if you're laughing you can't be afraid. You know I'm deeply suspicious of people who don't have a sense of humor. But then having said that I'm also aware that sometimes my sense of humor does it does throw some people out but the answer is I just had to learn to live with that.

00:49:17;09 - 00:49:25;24
Rick A. Morris: Well that's just not our kind of client right. And we probably wouldn't have any fun doing work for them anyway. That's the beauty of us being our own our own consultants.

00:49:27;02 - 00:49:40;15
Rob Thomsett: That's it. That's correct. I mean you know the other thing I'd like to say you asked me that question. That's a big one. That is the biggest one but the second thing is is asking for help.

00:49:41;06 - 00:50:28;15
Rob Thomsett: I just you know this film's about it of course but I don't want to get into gender. But you know I find admitting you know something and asking people to explain it to you is a really really important thing. You know I'm having a debate with seven consulting at the moment that you know we really do take a really smart organization. We only hire the top 10 percent project managers of Australia. But the danger of that is because you've had the best. I think they know everything that makes sense. Absolutely. And so the I guess to summarize that to me a good day even at age 70 a really good day is a day you learn something. And you know Rick and John are still learning stuff which is that it's the best that's the best for me

00:50:28;27 - 00:50:50;25
Rick A. Morris: like I've I've gotten involved with the John Maxwell team is the big thing that I've done and John says you know he's he's got fewer certainties. The older he gets but he's more certain about those things than he ever has been. And I think that's a beautiful statement.

00:50:50;28 - 00:50:56;11
Rick A. Morris: He should have met me when I was 20 because I thought I was awesome.

00:50:56;19 - 00:51:36;18
Rob Thomsett: Yeah. And you know if you're a project manager and you fall into that trap and I talk about it. If you remember Rick the last page of radical I talk about crossing the line where the most important project management along the alert which is where the project managers ego becomes entangled with the project and they start owning the project on behalf of the sponsor and on behalf of the stakeholders. And once they cross that line that their last project manager exists to make other people's dreams happen not. Does that make sense.

00:51:36;27 - 00:51:46;04
Rick A. Morris: Absolutely yeah. We don't own any things down our budget on our scope on our people. So what is it want. We only own the blame for when it goes wrong.

00:51:46;05 - 00:52:26;28
Rob Thomsett: That's all we are don't tell any of the listeners want to have a look at that. Just put up a series. I'm going to do a lot more of this because you know Rick as you know people don't tend to read books sorry John. I just don't anymore. Studies linked in this as a voice for some of my writing so there's a series up there I just put up recently on LinkedIn on LinkedIn profile on change and the one point I'm saying to PMS is you don't have to live with the change that you deliver. So you have a moral responsibility to understand what you're doing impacts other people. And some PMs don't get that still that makes sense.

00:52:27;22 - 00:52:38;05
Rick A. Morris: Absolutely. Well Rob listen it's been a pleasure. The time has flown by. Unfortunately we are out of time which just means we have got to have you back. You get that.

00:52:38;10 - 00:52:44;29
Rob Thomsett: Absolutely. And I'll get the technology working better next time we can. John please accept my apologies for being a bit late.

00:52:45;02 - 00:53:12;09
Rick A. Morris: Not at all. Not at all. But any time any way out I'll hook it up with you again we'll get it back. But that's been robbed time said the legend himself to me and I can't thank you enough for being just you man I appreciate you're in we'll have you back but that's our edition of the work life balance. This week we'll talk to you guys next Friday when I've got Coach Beckler coming back and we'll talk about leadership and motivation. But that's it for this Friday. We'll see you guys next week.

00:53:12;09 - 00:53:15;05
Rick A. Morris: You've been listening to Rick Morris.