Navigating project management – 3 resources for dealing with uncertainty

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Navigating project management – 3 resources for dealing with uncertainty.

Discover three resources you can use to boost your team’s project management.

Navigating Project Management: a Dose of Insights

I listened to an episode of : The Project Chatter Podcast, Project management under conditions of inherent uncertainty with Dave Snowden on the recommendations of Anne-Marie Rattray.

Here are my notes.

Knowledge Management & Narration

Knowledge management is about creating the conditions for innovation or improving decision-making. It is not about making knowledge explicit.

Head -> mind -> orality -> use of hands. Knowledge flows.

Apprentice: learning knowledge after ten years’ experience. You also develop knowledge through narrative knowledge. Become an expert in storytelling.

We are rich in data but poor in knowledge. Real deep knowledge is found in failure stories, not success stories. Institutionalise mistakes to learn.

Unfortunately, few people know how to tell stories. They only talk about anecdotes.

What skills do you use to make a decision?

Artefacts? For your story. Discover meaning and knowledge instead of telling a story.

Process Mapping & Organisational Networks

How powerful can informal social networks be?

Informal and formal networks at IBM. Digital environment.

Give people space for context-free, informal information networks. Don’t try to formalise informal networks.

Simply allow people to create trust and knowledge entanglements with informal networks across silos.

Concentrate on stimulating social networks. Look for something that resembles a spider’s web.

Create a process map. Reveal and show reality. Get closer to the organisation’s self-awareness.

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An analysis of a social network I developed via kumu.io


Beyond AI

This is not AI, but machine learning. What are the data sets behind it? Change the rules, and the computer takes time to adapt, whereas a human is quicker.

The focus is on creating AI learning datasets. Feed the machine content, but leave the final decision to humans, not the machine.

Complexity management.

Project & Risk Management

Complex adaptive system = entangled system. The science of uncertainty with different domains: systems thinking and complexity thinking linked to nature.

Project architecture: not everything is ordered.

Uncertainty needs to be managed through risk orders. Use a cascade approach, even for highly structured projects.

You can use MVPs and time block management to manage project constraints.

SCRUM = a preliminary technique for iterating and improving IT projects.

The fast iterative parallel hypothesis to work on?

Multi-ontology approach: identify coherent and parallel hypotheses in complex problems. Keep a parallel track.

Creating the Conditions for Successful Project Management

You can’t deconstruct a complex system to solve a complex problem. Use the scaffolding approach instead. Don’t over-design.

Create emergent properties. Build the basic scaffolding in a project before using it extensively – no need to copy it or be certified in agile.

Start with where the people are. Map them, map the knowledge. Use people as sensors and signal detectors.

The Future of Consulting

Stop using the concept of transformation to set up a consultancy service. Consultants are butterflies; they pollinate.

Consultants must bring expert knowledge and perspectives. 1-5 learning model. Beyond that, partners become vendors. Consultants must return to fertilisation. The strategy is retroactive.

Mega-changes & Micro-questions

The pandemic: we won’t get rid of it just yet. The next ten to fifteen years will be marked by massive disruption and more rapid migration of methods. Extreme discontinuity and uncertainty.

Where complexity is critical, make climate change and micro-issues concrete and understandable to people.

Quickly increase your options for better decision-making on the climate change crisis.

Bounces in Project Management

Project management has more extensive options for making them actionable – anticipatory thinking. Multiple failures are an ability developed by those who produce them, like in Star Trek. Fail fast, learn fast.

Spend a whole day failing. Scrutinise more when you fail than when you succeed. Capture the lessons. Work on your attitude.

Uncertainty: you can’t prevent or eliminate it. You can’t manage complexity. You can’t control it. Navigate it.

Complexity in Project Management

Complexity is built into projects. Create artefacts to deal with it.

Find inspiration in a wide range of activities:

– Read science fiction books and company reports.
– Avoid management books on complexity, except scientific books.
– Read physics books.
– Avoiding neo-generalism, and concentrating on true generalism.
– See the links that others don’t see.
– Take any page of a book or document, and immediately see its meaning.
– Read the original, not the summary of a book.

Collective Project Management

Do without a project manager and replace him or her with a dedicated project management team.

The captain can change. There’s a job for everyone. Everyone can pass the ball.

Navigating Project Management – the Sailboat Retrospective

Do you use this practice to set a common course and debrief any project you’re working on?

What if each of your teams set a common course? ⛵

The sailboat retrospective helps you to set a common goal using the metaphor of a sailboat. The elements that make up the retrospective are :

The destination 🏝️

How will you promote and share the overall results of your project?

The anchor ⚓

What are the obstacles preventing you from achieving this?

The wind 💨

What’s propelling you in the right direction?

The rocks 🪨 / the iceberg 🧊

What potential risks do you face?

The sun 🔆

What makes you feel good?

Steps for drawing up your sailing retrospective as a team

  1. Discuss each element with my team.
  2. Summarise in a sketchnote.
  3. Alternative: use a template from Clickup or Trello – table view.
  4. Use this common heading.
  5. Interact in a friendly manner. Reinforce each other’s learning with your learning team.
  6. Get your project to a safe harbour.

It’s up to you and your captain and crew! ⛵

Navigating Project Management – Future Skills

Did you enjoy this post? Check out Future Skills.

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