Focusing on results can look strict

In projects it’s important to focus on results. The business case is the main result we want to reach. But the teams also need to book smaller results, contributing to the business case, the work packages. Without finished work packages the business case is not fullfilled. So as a project manager I have to focus on getting the results, within time, budget, quality, accepted risk, etc.

So what to do when a work package is delivered later than planned or with a lower quality than agreed? Well, that depends. Of course there is a margin. While giving the work packages to the teams I am used to keeping a time margin, which means that some delay is possible, lower quality can be fixed in the time margin. So sometimes a problem with the delivery of a work package does not immediately mean a problem for the project, because it can be fixed within the overall planning.

But what if a team delivers the work packages not a as agreed for a longer time or with a difference too big to correct? Well, then they run out of tolerance and it is becoming a project problem. So when that happens most important is to find a way to have the team manager sticking to agreements. Unfortunately in IT the most used solution is overwork, the team has to work evenings or weekends. And I really hate it when that happens. On the other hand… why does it happen? The team is not delivering according to agreements (read: accepted work package). So it’s the team that feels the consequences.

Asking the team to work evenings or weekends… does it make you a good project manager, because it’s sticking to agreements? Or does it make you a bad project manager, because you don’t seem to care about the team? I guess I know what the team thinks (see the title of this post), because the team always has good reasons to not deliver according to planning. Work was estimated wrong, the experience level was too low, sheer bad luck, etc.

Probably a good project manager gets the work done this time, but also helps the team in finding out what wend wrong in accepting and delivering the work package and how to fix that in the future. If this works out nice the cooperation between the team and the project manager goes better next time. If not, either the project manager is not as good as he thinks, or the team is uncapable of learning from mistakes.

How valuable is Prince2 Foundation?

Today I passed my Prince2 Foundation exam 🙂

From my point of view it was not difficult. We did an internal Prince2 course with some Componence colleagues a couple of months ago, did some test exams, read a summary book and today I did the exam. The exam is a multiple choice exam and you pass the exam if you answer 38 of the 75 questions correct… yes that’s only half. Also 97% of the people taking the exam also pass.

So is the exam too easy? Or does it mean that when you follow a course, you automatically (in normal situations) have enough knowledge?

Let’s try the new polling option of wordpress….