A project promises that today’s investment creates, in time, a better future. The further out the time horizon, the greater the project impact.
Put another way: a project trades hope for a promised dream.
Not many professionals that I know willingly trade in for a dream.
Project life cycles, whether waterfall, Agile, iterative, package-based, or blended, all recommend to invest time to review of what was.
At project selection, a review of what was, what is, and what should never be, to borrow a term from Led Zeppelin, is critical to identify risk to resource commitment.
In a drive to spend budget before losing budget: a symptom on chronic, poor enterprise portfolio budget, managers many times drive to start a project, and start it immediately. Project inertia becomes more important than intent. Attention to the what was done, as well as what is going on, peers into the challenges other efforts faced. That review lends proper insight to articulate stakeholder’s risk.
The time value of money states your money today is worth more than any future promise. If offered a choice between a one dollar coin today and the promise of a one dollar a year from now, pocket the coin today.
No one knows what will happen the same time tomorrow, let alone some time in the future.
Time challenges all phases of a project life cycle. Project managers try their best to understand, contain, control, manage, and report the effect of time:
- Launch date,
- Burn rate,
- Change control,
- Scope management, and
Add the cost to estimate and manage the items above in measured fashion and time, itself, becomes a resource burden commitment.
What information exists reduces floundering around risk.
Your Time is Gonna Come
Time impacts a project business need. How a project team identifies times decides if time is a resource waste or resource investment.
People either value time or squander time, managed correctly, time is a resource investment, but like any coin, has two sides:
- Time is a commodity.
- We all have time, but time is scarce to all. No one can store time or save time for future use.
- Time is a finite resource.
- We all adhere to one universal measure: seconds, minutes, and hours expire at a constant rate.
Every professional, project management association advances a time commitment to review prior projects. Reviews include projects similar in size, scale, challenge, scope, ambition, and objective.
We can only save time when we pool, share, or invest time through collaboration.
Historical information, processes, and procedures represent time investment along with the people and perceptions shared.
The project that commits time to review historical information on what exists, before project launch, before project planning, at project initiation, itself, presents the difference between a project getting things done versus getting things accomplished:
- Getting things done wastes time
- Getting things accomplished values time
Page on Project Management
Asset reviews can include a complete environment scan, comparable review, expert opinion, or lessons from a prior attempt, the business, product, service, or project research of similarity is a worthy resource investment for three reasons:
- Resource spend to learn what was done, good or bad, helps the project sponsor assess the risk, recall: positive risk is opportunity;
- Resource spend to uncover information to abort, for whatever reason, helps the organization budget commitment on a project that, ultimately, becomes irrelevant; and
- Resource spend is now available to invest in other portfolio projects or capital need
An organization with a fully-leveraged library saves project management resource and that saves business resource.
Either external research and review or prior project internal, organizational asset review, time is a resource investment.
An organization’s shared learning is a competitive asset. So, take a page from Led Zeppelin, who borrowed heavily from others, at times, without acknowledgment, to create something grand from something tried.
SharePoint and OneNote [update 2016 and far better than SharePoint] are great business or enterprise collaboration platform for project management knowledge. With SharePoint, Microsoft Office integration and cloud-based solutions SharePoint has some great out-of-the-box application.
Adopted as an organization capability, project due diligence becomes an organization enabling capability. Free, Microsoft, online training supports project SharePoint adoption and expands your team learning.
Your time is gonna come to convince others that a project should not ramble on dreaming over the hills and far away. Don’t continue to let your project go over like a lead balloon, invest resources upfront.
Deliver more projects.
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