Myth #7: The ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Project Framework Is Adequate For All Circumstances – Part #2 (Lesson 23)
Factors that influence the choice of framework and approach
Just as projects come in all shapes and sizes, so do the variables that affect the choice of how best to approach that project. Questions to ask include:
- What is the strategic value of this project to the organisation?
- How complex is the proposed solution?
- What level of risk has been anticipated?
- How mission-critical will this solution be?
- How familiar is the team with the technologies, processes, frameworks, etc.?
- How long is the project likely to take?
- What is the likely project cost?
- How large will the core project team be?
- How many other people in the business will need to be involved?
- How many business units/departments/divisions are affected?
- How many end users does the project impact?
- What is the organisational culture?
- How aligned are strategies, goals, and objectives across the business?
- How do leadership styles vary across the organisation?
On the one hand, it does not appear that hard to define the project approach. On the other, however, many project managers struggle to choose the right approach. This is evidenced by the repeated failures that we hear so much about.
Why project managers struggle to define the project approach
As stated earlier, great project managers succeed where merely-good project managers often fail.
Why is this?
Factors other than those already highlighted elsewhere in this email series can also come into play. For example, a project manager may have:
- Always worked on projects of a particular kind/size/vertical industry.
- Worked on similar projects but under different conditions.
- No experience on this kind of project (neither may the organisation).
Project managers who have always worked a particular way are likely to struggle to design and document an approach that suits the peculiar circumstances of a particular project.
In any of these scenarios, the project manager (and in fact, the whole project management team) is likely to struggle to select and put in place an adequate approach that will deliver success.
What to consider when defining the project approach
Where does a project manager start when the project conditions are outside of what is considered ‘normal’ in their organisation?
Again, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question; but here are a few questions to get started with:
- Firstly, think about what makes this project different:
- Are the objectives vague because the project is breaking new ground?
- Are the risks unusually high for this project?
- Are the project timeframes extremely short?
- Next, consider how flexible the delivery of the desired project outcomes is to the organisation:
- Does the project need to be delivered in a single ‘big-bang’?
- Will it be acceptable to deliver the project in different stages?
This is not an exhaustive list of what to do in this circumstance.