How to foresee project success
Sep 28 2012
I’m not naturally a pessimist, but things will go “wrong” on your project. Wouldn’t it be great to foresee project success? Let me show you how you can use four “C’s” to manage the inherent conflict in projects and drive exceptional execution.
Projects are all about conflict; time, money, resources, skillsets, needs… Conflict is a fact of life and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing since conflict and adversity can drive innovation.
con·flict?/v. k?n?fl?kt; n. ?k?nfl?kt/ Show Spelled[v. kuhn-flikt; n. kon-flikt]
incompatibility or interference, as of one idea, desire, event, or activity with another: a conflict in the schedule.
If you have had the opportunity to work with CapTech you have witnessed part of the “secret sauce” we use to deliver high quality results – commitment and execution. The Four “C” model is a framework that tests project activities and human dynamics for cohesion, focus and execution.
Any project can be represented by a set of very simple straight lines with two points at both end- commitment and completion. Commitment is a more realistic interpretation of “Task start date” since it captures the nuances of what is being done, ownership and need- think of it as a mini statement of work(SOW) for that project deliverable. Perfect execution is the flawless movement between commitment and completion…what percentage of your projects commitments execute flawlessly? If you’re not executing flawlessly, you aren’t going in a straight line!
So we need a new shape to represent commitments that are in jeopardy. The spiral is the perfect model for human decision making and execution of tasks as it tracks the four stages of effort and produces metrics that can be modeled into KPI’s. So how does the 4C Spiral© work?
The 4C Spiral© tracks the four cognitive building blocks of execution:
- We Commit to do X!
- We failed to do X, now we have to Compromise to get X done.
- We failed to reach our compromise commitment, now we are in Conflict about getting X done.
- Finally someone yelled loud enough, drew the line in the sand, moved mountains and we have Completed X.
So when do you use 4C©?
The Four “C” model is used primarily if you miss your Commitment to Complete timeframe , or when external forces mandate a change in the scope of tasks due to a Commitment being altered. Commitment and Complete are the primary pairs in 4C©. If you meet your Commitments and Complete tasks you never enter the 4C Spiral©. Compromise and Conflict are the secondary pairs in 4C© model and you can have “n” iterations of Compromise and Conflict on the path to Complete.
Why do I need another tool?
Old fashioned “tasks and issues” project management doesn’t cut it anymore; Project Managers need to manage the project resources as if they are a factory, apply Lean and JIT techniques to drive execution and optimize workflow. Typical project management looks to “manage” project resources, the 4C© model allows PM’s to identify and FIX disruptions in the “factories” execution. The 4C Spiral© is an ideal visual representation of going off track and generates the following metrics that allow the team to visualize recovery.
The performance KPI’s 4C© reveals.
- Ratios that track execution to plan.
- Commitments that fall into the 4C Spiral©
- Compromise goals going straight to Complete.
- Commitments that get to Conflict stage.
- Spirals within spirals, when compromises get repeated into iterations.
- Lags that track execution nimbleness and ability to recover.
- Elapsed time between Commitment and Compromise stage.
- Time lag between Compromise and Conflict identification.
4C© Adds a new tool to a Project Managers arsenal, a tool that looks at identifying and solving underlying performance issues affecting resources. Proactively managing and improving resource execution is a key function in the emerging role of the Project Manager. For more information on Project & Program Management feel free to contact your CapTech Account Executive.