June 10th, 2003
Productivity Tips Newsletter
This issue offers a fresh perspective into the different 'worlds' of effective project management.
from Priority Management
In Part One, we learned that the dependency factor (each project task has predecessors and successors) causes significant challenges that we don't often find in the Operations World.
In the Operations World, we are all familiar with the basic planning and organizational tools. We have calendars, to-do lists, notes and files. There are paper based organizational systems as well as electronic systems. Some of these tools are less formal - Post-its, backs of business cards, etc - but that's another story.
For projects, we need all of these tools and a whole lot more. The complex nature of dependent work requires more sophisticated tools such as PERT Charts (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) or Network Diagrams, Gantt Charts, Work Breakdown Structure, Earned Value Analysis, etc. Unfortunately there are a lot of project workers making the fundamental mistake of trying to manage a project with only a half-filled toolbox. We are comfortable with the tools we have. We try to hammer nails with our fists!
In a project, this kind of change will almost always have some downstream impact. Once again, dependent work is more complex. We not only have to cope with the immediate aspects of the change, but we also have to analyze the affect it will have on each of the successor tasks and the overall schedule. And how does that seemingly insignificant change impact the people who are supposed to be working on those other tasks?
Have you ever noticed? The people who most often inflict sudden changes in a project do so from an Operational perspective? In other words, you manage to handle changes almost instantly in your Operational World. Why not in a Project? Why indeed!
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