Work Management Execution
Are you managing the work? People? Or an Organizational framework?
I am always fascinated by the way many corporate cultures can thrive on turning everyday work into the most complex, convoluted, costly, and time-consuming way to get anything done in their organizations.
It’s like taking something as simple as getting dressed in the morning, where you just pick out a shirt and pants or dress and shoes and you’re good to go; and turn it into a complex process by which you must:
- Predict the weather for the next day.
- Consider the season you’re in,
- Choose things within the color palette of that season
- Determine the right accessories
- Assess the right kind of shoes
Now that you have the basic outfit chosen you also must take into consideration all the What Ifs that may happen during the day:
- The weather changes part way through the day
- An invitation to an engagement after work
- A last-minute special meeting or lunch that day
- And on and on and on…….
Now we’ve taken the simplest process that we do every day and turned it into an exhaustive, complex process in which you couldn’t possibly predict all the scenarios that you might run into that could make the outfit you chose for the day completely ineffective.
How do we simplify our thought process and mindset to tackle any type of work, project, or process no matter the complexity in a way that provides confidence of consistent delivery in a simplistic way?
In regard to this matter, there are two opinions.
- Traditional Approach – which takes a formal plan for all scope of work and completes a formal set of processes along with a formal testing timeframe and rigid requirements for final deployment.
- Iterative Approach – which takes a phased approach of planning smaller scopes of the work, process, or project and completes a simplified set of processes along with a unit test in a shorter timeframe to deployment.
The Traditional approach is linear and very formalized whereas the Iterative approach is parallel and collaborative. The following graphic shows the difference in timeline effectiveness:
Traditional vs. Iterative Approach
The interesting observations I’ve made in interviewing customers over the last year around how they really get work done, deliver on projects, and automate their processes are that they all follow a common process:
The answer to getting organizations to function more effectively and truly understand what it takes to get work done and deliver on the important aspects of the business that produces consistent quality delivered as expected is to marry these concepts together.
There is a need to have a structured approach to more complex projects and processes to create consistent quality delivery as planned or expected.
However, the way we traditionally plan these projects in all the common tools out there is very linear and that’s not how organizations work and get things done.
After all, let’s be honest, the only reason we have these structured Project methodologies that we track in various tools is for reporting.
At least that has been the tradition over the last 30 years I have been managing people, processes, projects, and various types of work.
This forces people to estimate what they believe the work will be defined as and plan it, which is inherently linear.
In contrast to that, when you observe a successful launch of a program, delivery of a project, or the management of an efficient process and ask how the team got there; it will be anything but linear.
It will reveal that the team collaborated on the plan, worked through some design considerations, made changes on the fly, made decisions as they went in a continually collaborative way, executed the tasks, and solved problems in real-time in parallel to moving other tasks along to ensure they all met the end target on time and on budget.
They did this by defining smaller scopes of work for the project in a prioritized fashion and delivering over a shorter period in phases.
They then created continuous improvement processes that made corrections as needed to these programs, processes, and projects in a collaborative effective manner.
In combining the idea of an Iterative Methodology with a flexible Real-Time Collaboration approach, you get a work management framework that will enable your organizations to do the following:
- Deliver more projects with higher success rates,
- Build time and people-efficient processes in a real-time continuous improvement environment,
- While managing the day-to-day “lights on” tasks seamlessly in the stream of structured work flowing through the organization.
I challenge you to try this in one department or group in your organization and witness the freedom of not managing a structured framework but managing the ability to execute more effectively by trusting your people to get the work done the best way possible.
I guarantee you will learn things about your organization and the processes of your company that you never knew before.
It will open your mind to the potential of what you really could do as an organization contributing to the overall company or innovating your company as a whole.
As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts on this new and innovative way to manage organizations more effectively as we move into uncharted territory around creating nimble, fast-growing, global, and profitable companies.