And so it began . . .
My Favorite Company, embarked on My Favorite Project to revolutionize My Favorite Industry and leave competitors in the dust. When competitors got wind of this plan, mysterious things started to happen. And before too long, mysterious turned to sinister. Then one day, My Favorite Project was found terminated. A special task force was commissioned to investigate.
Here’s the recap
Victim: ‘My Favorite’ Project
Injuries: Depleted budget, fractured scope and fatal hit to quality
Suspects: Project Manager or Software Product Manager
Possible Motives/Scenarios: 1) The development of a project was a project on its own, 2) an existing product might have benefited from a project to add new functions or features, 3) a project might have been created to develop a new model.
Clues: 1) The product lifecycle consists of generally sequential, non-overlapping product phases, 2) The project lifecycle is a collection of generally sequential and sometime overlapping phases
The Charge – ‘murder in the project degree’
Many facets of the product lifecycle lend themselves to be run as projects, yet in any scenario, the project lifecycle would differ from the product lifecycle. However, someone killed My Favorite Project. Did the Product and Project Managers have different agendas? Did the two not make it clear who was driving My Favorite Project? Or, did the two simply not communicate?
Enter . . . new witness
The defense team had a new witness – a Team Member. The Team Member testified that neither the Project nor the Product Managers were at fault. It was the Program Manager. So who is the Program Manager and what do they do?
Critical to breaking the case, was making the distinction between a ‘Project’ and ‘Program’. A project is ‘a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result’ whereas a program is defined as ‘the coordinated organization, direction and implementation of a portfolio of projects and activities that together achieve outcomes and realize benefits that are of strategic importance.’ The Program Manager therefore is responsible for leading and managing the setting up of the program through to delivery of the new capabilities and realization of benefits. The Program Manager also has primary responsibility for establishing governance to:
- Ensure maximum efficiency in the allocation of resources and skills within the Projects Dossier (portfolio)
- Manage strategic partner contributions to the program
- Manage the communications with stakeholders
- Initiate the appropriate interventions and/or escalations when issues arise that impact the entire program
Several touch points failed. First and foremost, failing to identify the difference between a Program and a Project generated the wrong outputs and placed the wrong people in the wrong role. Strategic partnerships crumbled with lack of guidelines and little communication with the Stakeholders fostered lack of trust. Issue escalation went nowhere. It’s no wonder My Favorite Project failed.
The judge declared a mistrial.