One of the most challenging decisions for an executive is to decide what programs and projects to invest precious dollars. Over the years there have been several solutions provided by vendors to help decide the right investment strategy. However, there has been virtually no tools or techniques to help optimize spend or to determine if the spend amount is right for what is being delivered. I know people are going to say we use the ROI as a metrics to make decisions. What I am talking about goes a little deeper than that. Could the ROI have been higher? Is the cost of delivery optimal? Could the project have been delivered 10% more efficiently? I ask these questions because, lately, it seems like the complexity of systems have increased and the costs have gone up at a higher rate. Why do I say that? In order to discuss this; the technology space should be looked at as a whole instead of projects versus production support.
Let’s look at technology as 3 distinct activities for discussion purposes, namely; Governance & Planning, Execution & Delivery and Operations & Support. Conventional wisdom states that if we spend time and effort in planning everything else should be easy. However, after 20 years of focusing on planning and investing in planning tools, it has become very clear that the majority of organizations have an execution problem. Execution is clearly the key as it impacts both of the other areas. Sub optimal execution is the primary reason costs are going up. This is critical since most organizations spend the most on execution activities.
Most organizations have invested in planning tools that provide execution support as an afterthought. These tools have not provided an easy way to collaborate, communicate and manage execution. If execution is where you spend most of your money, shouldn’t you be investing it processes and tools to improve execution. Are you invested correctly?
Organizations are complex and need tools that
- Enforce processes
- Provide structure
- Enable easier management
- Provide mechanisms for all levels of staff to manage their deliverables and time
- Enable 2 way communication
A lot of organizations have cobbled together a hodge-podge of tools for execution and another set of tools for support. In this day and age, there needs to be a single integrated tool that is simple and easy to use that provides all of the functionality.
Here at SIMBYM we have recognized this need and have made available an Integrated Technology Management tool to help with execution and increase efficiency.
Our system offers a simple, integrated and flexible approach to enable efficient and effective process and project execution. Users can collaborate in a single environment and share information on tasks, documents, risks, issues, defects etc. Processes and projects can be configured without the need for custom programming. Ownership of the process can be pre-configured for different aspects of the process while still having the flexibility to change. Process changes are automatically propagated downstream. Templates can be used for commonly used documents and attached to process tasks. The staff sees all their project as well as support activities as well as the collaboration tools on the same screen making it easier to perform their job.
We invite you to look at our website at SIMBYM.com and let us know how we can help you improve execution.
I sometimes sit around and ponder about how things evolved. Why are things the way they are and what are the next steps in this evolution. Here are my thoughts on Technology Project/Program Management.
Let’s start in the 90’s, since I consider technology project management before that as primitive. Project Management began to evolve in the 90’s. More structured methodologies were coming up and technology was starting to be looked as a great way to improve efficiencies and help drive revenues. Project Management methodologies were taking root. More projects were managed by a project manager. Most technology managers at that time owned the project and looked at the Project Manager as someone who helps them track things and prepare reports. As projects became more complex, the concept of program and program management came into being and eventually the concept of portfolio and portfolio management followed. The role of the PM evolved to take on more responsibilities. PMO’s were formed and the PM took on the overall responsibility for the project. The waterfall SDLC methodology was becoming popular. Other development methodologies followed. Agile methologies have become more popular recently. The PM became responsible to plan and deliver projects and is expected to perform “super human feats” while still using tools and processes built for a bygone era. Large projects failed more often than they should and the PM was left holding the bag. This is where we are today.
Something has to change, what’s next? The next logical step is to get to what I call “Distributed Project Management”. What does that mean? The process of both planning and execution needs to be broken down into component pieces with teams of resources with the appropriate skills accountable for their specific area. To use a football analogy, you have your head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, running back coach, wide receiver coach etc. The head coach is responsible for the overall planning and execution but the details are managed by others. Management of projects needs to be distributed and there needs to be specialist managers (not necessarily with PM background) managing specific deliverables. Now the PM can be the head coach and focus on making sure each team is delivering and addressing cross team issues instead of micro managing each deliverable.
Some of you may say that you already do this. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. There is a lack of accountability hindering execution in most organizations. The team managers do not have tools at their disposal to perform their jobs. Tools that provide the ability to easily break down projects for distributed management are needed. When I say that, I mean break down projects predictably so that portfolio managers and team managers can manage across projects easily. That is the next evolution for Project and Program Management. The organizations that master these techniques and implement the appropriate tools will execute their strategies successfully. These organizations will be able to keep their technology spend under control. The ones that have trouble with this will find it difficult to compete against those who do.
Re-published from LinkedIn post.
I cringe every time I hear the words “Best Practices”. You are in a meeting talking about a solution and someone asks, “What are the best practices?” It is an implication that the people in the organization are not capable of solving the problem. I dislike these two words with a passion only topped by the urge to find the best solution. Any organization that is satisfied with practices already implemented by its competitors is stifling innovation and has already acknowledged that their product or service is not as good. This is not the culture you want to establish.
I am not advocating you to ignore how others have solved similar problems. Every analysis should examine past approaches. However, the fact that several others have used a similar solution does not mean it is the right solution. Focus on using the past approaches as a guide. In a lot of cases you may go in a completely different direction. When you find out you are in this situation, congratulations! You have started innovating. Do this a few times and you have established a culture of innovation. It starts with deleting the words “Best Practices” from your vocabulary. At SIMBYM we are turning the Technology Management upside down, see how we are doing it.
SIMBYM (pronounced Sim-Bime) is proud to announce the launch of our new product. SIMBYM is an enterprise class process and technology management system that integrates all aspects of managing processes and projects into a single integrated solution. We have strived to address the pain points experienced in everyday activities for all resources involved in technology and process management with a “Simple and Integrated” system. If you or your organization have struggled with the following,
- Planning projects, changes and releases
- Assigning and tracking resources
- Collaborating across the organization and within teams
- Propagating process changes
- Tracking tasks and deliverables across multiple projects
- Managing issues, risks, SDLC deliverables and defects
- Using multiple applications to work on a single project
- Searching for the right SharePoint site
- Getting access to the right systems and projects
- Finding the right SDLC methodology or document template
- Weeding through folders to find documents
- Multiple versions of documents floating around
we can help you. The SIMBYM product uses our patent pending process to provide a simple and integrated solution to define, plan and execute business processes and technology projects. Users can collaborate in a single environment and share information on tasks, documents, risks, issues, defects etc. Processes and projects can be configured without the need for custom programming. Ownership of the process can be pre-configured for different aspects while still having the flexibility to change. Process changes are automatically propagated through the system. Templates can be used for commonly used documents and attached to process tasks. The system offers a simple, integrated and flexible approach to enable efficient and effective process and project execution.
For more information on who we are and what we offer, please visit our website. Please visit us at SIMBYM.COM for more details and contact us. We are looking forward to support the growth and success of your organization.