Projects drive change, so project managers are change agents. In the current swift markets and businesses, it’s crucial to head change teams with agility and embrace change. Keep learning and educating yourself. Welcome to the International Project Management Day 2016, the annual virtual conference hosted by IIL. In this second part I share lessons from 3 keynote speakers, and a couple of other presentations I attended.
Levers of Project Agility: Effective Sponsorship
Ardi Ghorashy is sure that despite agile processes in our projects and other agile management practices in other business areas, the quality of the sponsor is largely affecting the ability of benefits realization. Effective sponsors remove impediments, provide resources, and mitigate risks.
- The managers are inexperienced in sponsorship and assume they can figure it out.
- Lack of ownership and commitment.
- Sponsors are too busy, have too many other priorities.
- They’re overly critical, and challenge everything for the sake of challenging.
- They lack knowledge – technology, environment, business area.
- They Lack clout to champion at higher levels and maintain executive focus.
- They are incompetent in managing crises.
- The sponsor is a blamer, fault–finder, too much focus on losses.
- There’s no established relationship with the project / program manager.
- The sponsor can’t give and/or receive good feedback.
- The sponsor shows too little engagement.
- The sponsor shows too much engagement.
Learning Agility as the New Differentiator
Bill Richardson (IIL trainer and consultant) applies to guiding principles for learning agility:
- Learning is a process, not an event.
- Knowledge <> understanding.
- Novel is the new normal.
When performing under new or first time conditions you’ll have to rely on your team, and your education and training. You may have heard of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) to characterize the current project environment. As a project management, you have to act in this VUCA world. You bring your applied intelligence (savvy), emotional intelligence (EQ), and career motivation to the table. Your job changes, in-place assignments, hardships, people feedback, workshops, courses, reading have developed you into you are now. That gives the ability, willingness, and opportunity to learn from experience, and move focus, fast, and flexible.
Richardson uses Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, in charge of the Hudson landing plane.
Are you a project management professional being passionate about your job, or do you perceive it as an accident? Agile thinking is about the quickness of mind, resourcefulness, and adaptability in coping with new and varied situations. Crucial are:
- Creativity to deliver results in challenging first-time situations.
- Authenticity to know your own true strengths and weaknesses.
- Openness to examine problems in unique and unusual ways.
- Empathy with diverse types of people you work with.
- Curiosity to like to experiment and comfortable with change.
Five strategies enable the agile learner:
- Performing: remain engaged, adept at handling stress and ambiguity.
- Reflecting: consciously extract learning by being hungry for feedback.
- Innovating: courageously challenge the status quo.
- Monitoring: hardwired negative behaviors especially defensiveness.
- Exploring: trying new things while being comfortable with progressive risk.
Innovating Around the Box: The LEGO Approach to Innovation
David C. Robertson, Ph.D. already shared the secrets behind LEGO‘s success that came from its adoption of a new way of doing innovation in many places. In this IIL keynote, the author of Brick by Brick explained the LEGO history that led to the choice to innovate around the box, and do more with less. A box with plastic pieces was necessary, but not sufficient to stay in business. A fire truck, Emmet, Bionicle, and Ninjago to steer company’s profit up again.
What is the LEGO approach to innovation?
- Define: What are the key products or services you want to offer?
- Decide: What is your business promise?
- Design: What are the other innovations you need?
- Deliver: Innovate around the product.
David Robertson: There is innovation inside the box, innovation outside the box and then….there is innovation AROUND the box #IPMDay2016
— Patricia Stone (@psantos818) November 3, 2016
You Should Have Asked: The Art of Powerful Conversation
Stuart Knight (president Stuart Knight Productions), challenged his audience. How do the people you just talked to actually feel? A high-paced energized to talk about understanding the importance of being fascinated.
Obstacles to powerful conversations are:
Speak to one stranger every day, and your life will change
Five goals to powerful conversations:
- Learn something new from the person you’re talking to.
- Make the conversation meaningful for your audience.
- Make your conversation the most memorable of today.
- Always try to discover common interests.
- Make it more fun.
Be your own cheerleader
Why Proactive Water Stewardship is Good for Planet and Profit
Nelson Switzer (VP & Chief Sustainability Officer, Nestlé Waters North America) started off with showing the shocking figures of agriculture, mining, and semiconductor production water footprint. The risks are enormous: pollution, civil unrest and polarized communities, climate change, a shift in water pricing, etc.
Do we understand the material water issues that affect the ability to operate your enterprise? Do you understand the scale of the water impact on the people around? How would it impact the actions you take? Water is local and irreplaceable.
Water stewardship is acknowledging the responsibilities and implementing the actions, individually, and collectively that are needed for the sustainable management of shared water resources within a watershed. It contains three steps (that actually will be resumed as a never-ending circle):
- Collect the data needed to understand the context.
- Optimize performance and build relationships.
- Partner to solve shared water challenges.
If you want to learn more on the need for water stewardship, the next TED talk is useful.
Scaling Agile Metrics – Tracking Metrics that matter
On team level you have metrics like:
- Team health radar (for each team, and roll-up view).
- Velocity predictability by team and program roll-up.
- Escaped defects by team and program roll-up.
- Impediments count and lead time.
- Release health metrics (number of releases, parts per release, defects, timeliness, cost, value)
- Cost per team and cost per release train.
On a higher level there may be a program leadership team with a sponsor, solution lead and program lead. On the portfolio level there’s the strategic management. If you apply SAFe or DaD, you will see the same structures.
Metrics on program level:
- Program level Team health, such as the SAFe release train health radar.
- Program delivery health (feature / deliverable burn down).
- Release health by quarter.
- Budget & cost burn rate by month.
- Program velocity and predictability by quarter.
- Organizational items (lead and cycle time).
- Customer and employee satisfaction.
On portfolio level:
- Portfolio health / SAFe radar
- Lean portfolio radar
Scrum: Disrupting the Automotive Industry
Using the Scrum framework and Lean Production methodology, Joe Justice founded Team WIKISPEED, enabling a completely different pace of development in the automotive industry. Speed up. From a design stage of 3-12 years, followed by a build cycle of 5-14 years for models taken into mass productions, to an entire car every 7 days.
Volunteer teams swarming in micro factory with a product owner and scrum master, planning their own day to deliver cars from ideas in a single week sprint. Scrum in hardware asks for experimenting. Car manufacturing can help teams in other industries as well, Buildathon is a great hack your way into scrum in hardware.
Joe highlights EduScrum too in the compilation ‘keynote’ video on making the world a better place with Scrum. A cool closing video for the IPMDAY 2016!