In the previous chapter, we took a closer look at Principles of Project Management. We hope that you now understand the concepts, attitudes, and values that are necessary for project management. Knowledge and tools were not enough to lead a project to success. On the other hand, preparedness is the most important, but preparedness alone is not enough to make a project successful.
In order for a project to move toward success, it needs to perform better. Better performance is vague, and it may be difficult to know what to look for and how to look at it. The PMBOK defines eight areas of project performance.
There are eight areas that must be recognized in order for a project to perform effectively, and these are called "Project Performance Areas.
None of the areas listed here can be addressed individually, but must always be recognized and addressed simultaneously throughout the duration of the project activities. What activities are needed in each of these areas will vary depending on the circumstances and conditions of the individual organizations, projects, and people involved. It is not a question of which to focus on or how to deal with each of these areas, but rather a starting point to recognize them as important areas (items) in the performance of the project.
Note that "development" here is not limited to system development, but refers to the creation of products, services, and goods. The concept of project management can be applied not only to work such as system development.
Let's take a look at each of these performance areas, what they are, how they should be faced, and how to deal with them effectively.
The term "stakeholders" can be paraphrased as "the interested parties involved in the project." Projects are done by people, for people. Building a good relationship with stakeholders and ensuring that both parties are satisfied will have a positive impact on the project's performance.
Stakeholders can be, specifically, teammates on the project team, the company or organization in which the project activities take place and its departments and members, external organizations surrounding the organization and their personnel, clients, customers, and end users. It may be a few stakeholders or it may involve millions.
To notice a good relationship with your stakeholders, conduct effective stakeholder engagement. Engagement means "deep relationship" and continues from the beginning of the project to the end with the following cycle.
→ Identify → Understand → Analyze → Prioritize → Engage → Monitor → Identify → ...
First, identify who the stakeholders are. Then understand and analyze those stakeholders. You cannot face all stakeholders in the same way. Focus and prioritize stakeholders who have power or interests. We will communicate with each stakeholder on an ongoing basis to build deep relationships. Stakeholders will change over the course of project activities. We will identify new stakeholders and measure engagement (depth of relationship) with each stakeholder to assess whether the relationship is good.
A "team" (project team) is the group of people who carry out the work of a project in order to achieve the project's goals. If the team is performing, the project should be performing. How can team performance be improved? Management and leadership are key.
Management focuses on the means for project activities. For example, establishing procedures, planning, coordinating, and monitoring work. Leadership focuses on people. It includes activities such as motivating, listening to, and empowering people. Both of these are important.
For a team to perform, it is important for the team to grow. This requires that the entire team is aware of the vision and goals, that roles and responsibilities are clear, that it is clear what the team's job is, that team rules and mannerisms are shared, and that each individual is able to grow.
In addition, high-performing teams have several things in common. An environment of open and secure communication. They understand and share the objectives of the project. They feel a sense of "ownership" of the project's deliverables. They feel that they have discretion and are empowered to make their own decisions, rather than being managed in detail.
A "development approach" is the way in which project deliverables (products, services, etc.) are created and developed. Approaches include predictive, adaptive, or a hybrid of the two. Lifecycle refers to the flow of phases that take place during project activities, for example, "plan→design→build→test→deploy→gather". Depending on the development approach chosen, the lifecycle takes shape.
The predictive approach is useful when all requirements for deliverables are available at the start of the project. Uncertainties are minimized as much as possible in the early stages of the project, and the bulk of the planning is done in advance. The bulk of the work is performed according to the initial plan.
In contrast, the adaptive approach is useful when requirements are highly uncertain, variable, and changeable. There is an initial vision, and requirements become more detailed or change with user feedback or unexpected events. The remaining tasks (backlog) are prioritized and developed collaboratively during a regularly repeating development period called an iteration.
The hybrid approach is a combination of these approaches and has characteristics of both. An example of a hybrid approach is when a product is developed using an adaptive approach, but deployment is done in a predictive manner. Another example is a project that has two deliverables, one that is developed using the predictive approach and one that is developed using the adaptive approach.
Planning" is the process of identifying the path to the creation of project deliverables and defining the methods and means to achieve them. It is the process of agreeing on what development approach will be taken, when and how the deliverables will be provided, estimating time and cost, and establishing a schedule and agreeing on a budget.
Also, during the planning phase, it is necessary to take into consideration the organization of the project team, who and how to communicate with, identification of physical resources (goods, software, environment, etc. that must be procured in addition to people), when and how to procure them, what to do if changes occur, and identification of metrics (indicators that need to be measured). It is also necessary to ensure that the plan itself is consistent with other projects.
Project work" refers to the activities that establish the processes in a project and enable the project team to focus on what needs to be done. It is not the individual tasks themselves, but the overall coordination to ensure that the tasks are performed efficiently and effectively.
Processes include procedures for decision-making, documentation for information sharing, and meetings for consensus building. The larger or more important a project is, the more processes tend to be involved. It is important to examine whether the processes are really necessary for the project and to eliminate waste.
It also allows the project team to focus on what needs to be done. Be clear about what the team should focus on and maintain that perspective. Maintain good communication and high engagement within the team. Ensure that goods and human resources are available. Monitor new work and changes. And to encourage knowledge sharing so that learning continues throughout the project.
The word "delivery" means to deliver, to deliver, to deliver. Delivery in the context of a project is likely to mean provision and delivery. Project activities related to delivery are those activities related to delivering the value or deliverable that the project is trying to realize, with the right scope and with better quality.
The realization of value, which is also the objective of the project, begins only when the deliverables are "delivered". In order to deliver value correctly, it is necessary to assess whether the delivery is consistent with the project objectives. Value delivery is necessary where deliverables meet requirements, scope, and quality.
Measurement is the activity of evaluating project performance and taking action as needed to maintain better performance. Evaluating activities that are repeatedly planned and delivered and comparing planned figures with actual figures helps to address differences between the current status and expectations and to make the right decisions.
Measurement provides a perspective on how fast project work will progress, allowing you to review plans for the investment of human and financial resources, provide stakeholders with the information they need, and confirm that the project will deliver deliverables that meet their requirements. This allows you to review your human and financial resource plans, provide stakeholders with the information they need, and confirm that the project will deliver the required results.
Uncertainty means unpredictability. We don't know what will happen, we don't know until we try, we don't know what the situation is, we don't know what the future holds, and we don't know how it will work. It also refers to the risks associated with these things. It is scary.
A project is not something that if you gather the right information and plan correctly, it will always follow through and work out. Rather, it requires constant gathering of information, constantly facing uncertainty and not knowing how things will turn out, and the strength to deal with trouble as it arises.
Facing a project with the assumption that there is uncertainty, the possibility of failure, and trouble that cannot be avoided allows us to deal with risk, consider trade-offs, and work to improve our team's capabilities.
We have looked at eight "project performance areas" that must be recognized in order for a project to perform effectively. While each of these areas has its own definition, they are interrelated and linked to each other. You might say that they are "eight things that teams must not forget in order to achieve better results.
In particular, the last item, "Uncertainty," is also linked to "Dealing with complexity," "Optimizing risk response," and "Being adaptable and resilient," which also appeared in "Principles of Project Management," and seems to represent the complexity and uncertainty of modern projects.
The "12 Project Management Principles" and "8 Project Performance Areas," which summarize the true spirit of modern project management, are likely to provide important hints for successful implementation of uncertain projects.