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Stephen Wise Blog

Integration Professionals. We dramatically improve traction.

American in Paris

Focus on Outcomes

Traction Tips

A weekly action idea to improve traction on your important initiatives by Stephen Wise.

  The new and wonderful musical, An American in Paris, is doing the rounds. It weaves multiple love stories with a Jazz and Ballet fusion leading to true love outcomes.  

Milo falls for Jerry, who's in love with Lise, who is engaged to Henri. Lise shares mutual affection with Henri but falls in love with Jerry. Jerry's friend Adam is also falling for Lise. Lise the ballerina, is oblivious she is the focal point of all the story lines. Despite the complications, true love wins out in the end. In the opening scenes of the musical Jerry sets his strategy to find and win Lise. However he gets lost, becomes indecisive, and is distracted by other interests. Has this ever happened to you in business? Getting lost in the details, uncertainty over the correct next step, or being distracted by new opportunities? Unfortunately, I see it every day. So, here is my guaranteed formula for success. 1. Focus on driving the outcomes 2. Accept Uncertainty 3. Agile Mindset

Focus on outcomes

Craft a hi-level plan. List the activities required to achieve the desired outcomes.

Accept Uncertainty

Accept uncertainty. Our ability to achieve goals proscribed in the plan can vary significantly.

Agile Mindset

Re-work your plan frequently.  Consider changes in the environment and your leanings along the way. Switch around your priorities. re-evaluate desired outcomes to reflect new realities.

Weekly Traction Action

Fuse the improvisation of Jazz with the perfection of Ballet to manage your corporate outcomes. Your weekly action: 1. Ensure all your desired outcomes have an accessible, hi-level, end to end plan. 2. Schedule regular times to evaluate whether you are on track and make course corrections to get back on track. I recommend or implement these actions all the time on client initiatives. Hopefully, it will work to improve outcomes for you too.

I love Email

Please send me an email and tell me about if you have success or trouble with this action. I’m always interested to see what can happen out in the wild.  

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

https://IntegrationProfessionals.com

7 things to carry in your Project kit

Here are 7 things to keep on your person or nearby that will help you excel as a Project Manager. 1. White Board markers A magic device that propels a conversation and creates a record. 2. Wristwatch Place a wristwatch in front of you so you can keep your eye on the time so that the important items get covered and you end meetings on schedule.

Integration Professionals Project Kit 

Integration Professionals Project Kit

3. 2 kinds of Pain reliever - ASA and Ibuprofin Make a drawer in your desk available for your project team with necessities. Learned this one from a wedding planner. Could also include stain remover, candies, taxi chits. 4. Project contact list with email, phone, and mobile contacts Missing a team member?, late for a meeting?, need urgent help from an executive? – always carry a printout of your contact list with email and phone info. 5. Project Issue / Risk log , Schedule, Change Log, and Budget Summary Some people like to carry around a complete Project binder. I’ve boiled it down to a few key items that I update periodically – the purpose to have written notes to be able to give unplanned “hallway” updates if you bump into an important stakeholder. 6. Post-it notes and Black Sharpie markers See number one above and add steroids. Get all meeting participants working on a plan, issue, or risk concurrently, if appropriate. Keep one idea per note. Print in large block letters. Post on wall and re-arrange to suit. Use a camera phone to snap the results. 7. Coffee-cards for instant recognition Giving out $5 coffee cards just to recognize folks for attending a meeting smacks of desperation – but it is still appreciated. What items should be added to the list? Add your ideas by replying below. 

Stephen Wise

  http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

Re-Frame Project Success for the Strategic Business

Project success is most often measured by answering two questions. (A) Did we meet the schedule goal? And (B) Did we meet the budget goal? A good indicator project success will improve over time is periodic review of the Time and Budget Dashboard by management. This approach is valid but not sufficient for framing project success over

 the long-term. 

Time and Budget Dashboard Integration Professionals Stephen Wise 

Time and Budget Dashboard[/caption] It is very common that once a project is closed, it falls off management reporting dashboards. This is a serious mistake! Strategic success is dependent on the outputs of the project, not the inputs of Time and Budget. The outputs / benefits of the project are measured after project close and take the dimensions of customer satisfaction and business success. It will take several months or quarters after the project is finished until customer satisfaction can be measured. It will take even longer until business success can be measured. By re-framing the measurement time-horizons for projects and their outputs, we can provide more effective visibility and accountability at the management level for the strategic success of projects. The re-frame is to include medium-term and long-term results as part of project tracking and reporting.

Team success

can be measured in the Short-term. That is Time, Budget and other metrics such as scope, quality, stakeholder engagement, and others.

Customer success

can be measured in the Medium-term. Customer success is the metrics that indicate how well the product is meeting actual needs and how well the product is providing customer net benefits.

Business/Strategy success

can be measured in the long-term. Business success is the metrics that indicate how well the overall strategy is benefiting the enterprise, such as market development and risk 

profile. 

Measurement Time Horizons Integration Professionals Stephen Wise 

Measurement Time Horizons[/caption] Organizations have made great strides implementing project methodology and management reporting on time and budget. However a systemic flaw is introduced by reporting only short-term project success measures. There is correlation between success in short-term and success in the long-term but there is more to the picture. We need to re-frame and extend the time horizon for tracking project success to include medium and long-term measures. By linking Customer (medium-term) and Business (long-term) actual measures to project reporting we will gain improved insights on the projects that have either advanced or held-back the realization of strategic objectives.

Stephen Wise 

http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

Earned Value Management - turning on the headlights

Earned Value - Why do I need it?

To paraphrase the words of the Project Management Institute’s standard, when I rely only on a project schedule of tasks, finish dates, and % complete, I will not know where the project is or where it is going. I will simply know where the project was supposed to be and where it is supposed to be going.

What is Earned Value?

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a technique that looks at the relationship between a) actual cost expended, and b) actual work completed, and compares this to c) original budget and work timeline. More formally, the three data points you must understand and memorize are: a)      Actual Cost (AC) – What amount of resources have been expended to complete the work at a given point in time. b)      Earned Value (EV) – Snapshot of work completed at a given point in time. c)       Planned Value (PV) – The Baseline – How far along the project work is supposed to be at any given point in the project schedule.

How do I implement Earned Value? (My cheat sheet below)

  Step 1 (Planning)

  1. Create a Work Breakdown Structure.
  2. Ensure all tasks on the schedule are assigned.
  3. Estimate time to complete each task.
  4. Determine how you will determine that tasks are complete as the project progresses.

 

Step 2 Periodic monitoring

  1. Obtain cost and / or hours expended.
  2. Obtain status on task completion.
  3. Forecast Cost and Schedule performance.

My usual workflow is to enter the planned and actual data into MS Project and then export the time-scaled data to an excel chart. An excel chart (example below)  isn’t 

required, but I highly recommend it as a support to your table of data – a picture is worth a thousand words.

  S-curve  

Combine the data into actionable forecasts

By using Earned Value techniques, you use Project Management discipline to provide key feedback and forecasting to the project team and executives. See four sample 

questions and formulae below.

  EVM formula table

Limitation

Earned Value is not sensitive to the quality of the deliverables. You can be near the end of the project and forecast on budget and on schedule even if the deliverables are poor and the customer will not accept the final product. The expectation is that the PM is using other tools and techniques to manage and control quality.

Stephen Wise

http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

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