Due Diligence – the Key to successful Change?

Aside

Due Diligence – the Key to successful Change?

Someone asked me, “If you’re given the role of Programme Director,  what are the first things you do?”

Frequently, projects and programmes are over specified (too ambitious), over promised, under funded and late starting, with poor plans and negligible provision for contingency, realistic risk avoidance and / or issue management plans – people plan for success invariably failing to anticipate failure – if you don;t assume there are going to be problems, why would you include contingency time, resource and budget to manage them?

Reports of progress are over stated and issues and risks concealed or undhappyPMerstated.

The delivery team are sceptical and soon become concerned that failure will be blamed on them, but, these are the people most likely to know what’s going well and what isn’t, and what is required to address / resolve the challenges.  Happy people deliver good quality and productivity, frightened people don’t turn up!

In complex portfolios or programmes, the slippage of one key activity in one project, activity or task could stop or delay the entire enterprise being a significant dependency across the plans sitting at the intersection of multiple critical paths – the little things matter.

Care needs to be taken in reviewing motives – if a project features multiple suppliers or service providers, none of them wants to be the cause of or the victim of delay, but they will all be looking for opportunities to extend the scope of their obligations and increase their revenue – extensions.  However, extensions in one area often result in scope creep in others and costs rise.

It is essential to start every assignment / new role with a comprehensive Due Diligence exercise which can take anything from a few days to weeks, depending on the scale, circumstances and the state of the portfolio, programme and / or project.

Delivering big changes on time, budget and to expected scope of requirements, is not easy, and although businesses and service providers (marketing companies in particular) may trumpet success, a comparison of the final outcome and the original scope can be very revealing.

AGILE is very popular with both internal and external suppliers; it provides the capacity for lower start up costs; and the attendant need for senior management approvals, early deliveries and continuous improvement, additions to functionality, etc.. However, it also enables projects to run and run, never ending, and work to be charged to the project repeatedly, when there are repeated failures to deliver, and costs to run rampant below the senior management radar.

Should you require any further information, please get in touch.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Cheers John

John L. Evans FCMI, FIC, FBCS CITP, MCIPS.
+44 7957 190 186
+44 203 051 3370

© John L. Evans 2017

 

Right Next Time – Really!?

The key to success is quality which means ‘Right First Time’.

Nothing wrong with continuous improvement but serial failure is not acceptable.

Total quality management (TQM) is an approach to success through customer satisfaction that can be summarised as a management system for a customer-focused organisation, that involves all employees in continual improvement.

Do it right the first time (DRIFT) is a management accounting theory related to production management & just-in-time (JIT); whereby a manufacturer only receives goods as needed, cutting inventory costs.

We expect zero defects in things or services we buy. Buy a new TV & the pixels start burning out, & you demand satisfaction. When  the car goes in for a service, you expect the mechanic to install parts as prescribed. No defect is acceptable when it affects you personally.

So why is it so easy to accept that “shit happens” when producing a product or providing a service.

Zero defects is a great way to resolve the discord between what we expect for ourselves but can accept for others.

AGILE is great if it means continuous improvement,  not so much if it means continuous rectification.  Trouble is, if the supplier has to get it right first time, then how’s he going to justify continuing to milk the cow?

[ERP is a system or systems (people, processes & technology) to facilitate & support JIT & getting things right first time.]

Cheers John

The Biggest Risk of All

Risk is the likelihood that things will go wrong.  Wherever and whenever there is more than one potential outcome, a less desirable outcome is possible.  To manage risk effectively requires the anticipation of outcomes, including less desirable outcomes, and a plan and budget to manage those events.  Simply compiling a list of risks of potential issues and / or problems, without embedding strategies to deal with them into plans, is not effective risk management.

Anticipating every potential issue at the start of a programme may be impractical, however, it is possible to continuously anticipate problems as a programme progresses and to continually update and amend plans to deal with issues as and when they occur, and keep the plan on track, time, cost and quality.

To quote the ‘Scrum Alliance’:

There is no definite consensus on the need for risk management within the Agile method. This has led many to believe that risk management is irrelevant in an iterative model. Some follow the approach of ignoring risks until they manifest into issues; they then manage them through the natural sprint progression.”

And that’s why ignoring risk is the biggest risk of all!

Feel free to retain a copy for your records.

Cheers John

John L. Evans / FCMI, FIC, FBCS CITP, MCIPS

+44 7957 190 186