Jenga Project Management Processes

Sometimes project managers can get a little crazy about the process.
I mean, really. ?Really crazy. ?We add, add, and more. It feels good. I think it’s an addictive feeling.
Then, we find ourselves with a pile (insert?) of (insert?) that looks like a Jenga board about to collapse.
We must police ourselves. Here are some possible symptoms and solutions.
People don’t understand the process
Can you draw your process on one sheet paper so that anyone unfamiliar can read it for a few moments and get a complete understanding?
“I would have written a shorter note, but I didn’t have the time.” – Blaise Pascal
Good design is just like writing. It should be concise and well-structured. It takes effort. ? (I’m now self-conscious about this article!)
It’s putting together something and adding to it until it looks like a pile.
People think the process is stupid
If people think your process has a stupid design, it’s likely that you have done something wrong. Either you haven’t adequately explained the value of your process or you’ve done a terrible job in process engineering.
That was a process you did engineer, didn’t it?
Engineering is the art, science, skill, and profession of acquiring and using scientific, mathematical and economic knowledge to design and construct structures, machines and devices, systems, materials, and processes that safely improve the lives of people. Wikipedia provides a nice summary.
People won’t follow the process
A process you don’t know can be confusing. Have you ever been in a situation when people ask each other what they should do next and the answer is something like “Well, I thought we were supposed do xyz?”
“I don’t believe so. I was told abc last Wednesday.”
Another co-worker then pokes their heads over the cube wall, looking like a Dilbert gopher. ? “No guys, I did Qrs yesterday, and Billy Bob said it was fine.”
People will often circumvent your process, despite the fact that they may misunderstand. ?Wouldn’t you?
If there is an opportunity, the process can be halted and a new process will emerge.
This can be avoided, but if the process isn’t well designed you’ll spend a lot of time trying to force it on people. Boooooo!
Fear is a barrier to trust
Edward Deming is an intellectual hero to mine. ?One of Deming’s 14 points is to drive fear out of your organization and create trust.
Too much process is a sign of trustlessness for those who use it. This is usually a reflection of the manager and not the staff, according to my experience.
This can be caused by an influential person who wants to micromanage and insert themselves or others in a process unnecessarily.
It can also be a result of a culture that trusts staff but is not the norm.
Where would you like to work? ?Where you can be trusted or where other steps in a process are there to stamp what you’ve done, so management can “keep an ear on you?” ? “rubber stamp” sounds familiar, eh?
What’s the Goal?
Each step of a process should add value to the organization. Not just to make someone feel important.
Ask yourself the following question about each step: “Why are you doing this?” What value does it bring? ?Who are they involved and do they really need to be?”
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