Processes Need To Be Managed
In our blog Address Project Processes & Improve Project Performance, we discussed how to calm the storm by improving project processes. Our clients have experienced an end to cost overruns, schedule delays, and customer frustration through the application of process improvement to project management. This leads to less fire-fighting and deeper relationships with teammates and customers. To achieve these results, both the processes and the project must be managed over time.
When only the project is managed, the processes within the project can have poor productivity (taking longer than expected to complete the work) and low quality (either many mistakes are made, or the result doesn’t meet customer requirements).
Orchestrating on-time delivery at the expected cost with broken processes takes heroic effort, and can sometimes not be possible to achieve. It also takes an artificially high budget that includes enough buffer so that when processes do fail to deliver, there’s enough time to adjust and recover. It might even take a little luck!
Managing processes not only means improving them once, but also maintaining them throughout their lifecycles. Process maintenance can mean updating and repairing processes. As the project progresses and changes, as the customer changes scope and spec, and as the world around the project changes, processes need to adjust as well to stay relevant and effective. Process maintenance can also be an opportunity for continuous improvement. “Staying relevant” can mean upgrading processes to take them to the next level of performance.
For example, waiting for added information or resources, or searching for information or resources, can impact productivity, which is a measure of how fast we can accomplish work, leading to project delays. Hurried work or misunderstood or incomplete specifications can impact quality, which affects customer satisfaction and can in turn cause project delays and/or cost overruns.
By managing processes just as closely as projects are managed, the root causes of impacts to project performance are addressed and the above symptoms can be relieved. In a future blog, we’ll discuss how to identify these root causes for productivity, and how to address them. We will also do the same for quality issues.