Out Of The Box
Q1. What would you do if you knew exactly what to do? That is, just pretend that you knew exactly how to fix it. What actions would you take?
This question sounds strange, but it is very effective. Keep a straight face when you ask it. The slightest giggle will break their concentration. If you ask them to imagine themselves, for only a few minutes, as being completely able to fix the problem and then list out the actions they would take, ideas will come forth that are very practical.
Q2. Whom do you know who could, without question, fix the problem; maybe a world leader that you admire. What would they do? Let's start with Norm Schwarzkopf!
When one imagines a totally capable person with the problem, it is much easier to think of solutions. For example, if the problem is getting management commitment for a process idea, ask "What would Mahatma Gandhi do in this situation?". The team might respond:
"Well, if he were in charge he would:
Try it; practice it; facilitate out
of the box!
--- Neil Potter
Revising Your Approach To Process Improvement
Risk-based Process Tailoring
As processes become more detailed, it is likely that not all process steps will be needed for all situations. This is particularly true for development life cycle process documents that go into detail about the activities within each major life cycle phase. In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the process tasks described, tailoring guidelines are needed. They help the reader determine the activities required for different project situations.
For example, suppose the process tasks for developing a project estimate were:
Executing all these process steps
may be appropriate when the project estimate is critical. In
such circumstances, any error may lead to a loss in income
or severe penalty charges for late delivery. For other
projects, performing this level of estimation for every
component of a project may not be necessary.
From the table below, one can see the final tailored process (the decision column) and also evaluate the overall risks of omitting some of the process steps. In this example, the project risks related to tailoring the process are:
As experience is gained regarding the benefits and problems of tailoring process steps, lessons learned can be factored into the tailoring risk of omission column.
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The book's strength is its blatant acceptance that running projects well involves many issues, such as how people interact, jell as teams and solve problems.
Here are some random items stolen from Webster's journal:
This is a creative tale full of good ideas for contemplation, with dashes of satire to keep you entertained as you see some of your favorite industry icons (and maybe yourself or your boss) receive a little poke from Mr. DeMarco, all in good spirit.
DeMarco, Tom. 1997. The Deadline. New York: Dorset House.
--- Mary Sakry