Waarom zijn projecten vaak gedoemd tot mislukken binnen de eerste 5 minuten?

project-failure

Projecten zijn vaak gedoemd tot mislukking, en vaak zelfs binnen de eerste 5 minuten van de project start. Namelijk bij de initiële communicatie van executive naar project manager. Een voorbeeld ter verduidelijking.

Wanneer een nieuw project opgestart wordt, krijgt de project manager te horen dat het project € 250 000 mag kosten, en opgeleverd moet worden voor 25 mei. De meeste project managers gaan in dit geval deze informatie simpelweg aanvaarden als feitelijke instructie, en gaan hiermee aan de slag.
Waarom? Dit is puur menselijk gedrag. Het project wordt opgestart door een executive binnen de organisatie. Iemand met hoog aanzien en hierarchisch hoge positie. We gaan er van uit dat deze senior manager weet waarover hij/zij het heeft, en dat budget en deadline dus fixed zijn.

Volgens het logisch boerenverstand zal in bovenstaand voorbeeld de scope variabel zijn. Dit is echter niet de verwachting van de executive. Integendeel, hij verwacht een full scope project.

Twee mogelijke acties om dit te optimaliseren / vermijden:

  • De senior executive kan zijn communicatie anders aanpakken. Bovenstaande voorbeeld kon ook als volgt lopen: “Laat me weten tegen wanneer dit project opgeleverd kan worden. Idealiter voor 25 mei voor maximaal € 250 000. Indien niet mogelijk, laat me de opties weten en dan bespreken we verder.
    Dit is een compleet andere aanpak, die de project manager meer autonomie zal geven om met de nodige argumentatie tot een win/win situatie te komen.
  • De project manager hoeft niet onmiddellijk een commitment te geven op een project outcome en de opgelegde limieten. Beter is de nodige analyse te starten en vervolgens een dialoog te starten op basis van feiten en argumenten. Weet dat een project steeds 3 pijlers heeft die vast/variabel zijn. Voorbeeld: “Na interne analyse is gebleken dat het project niet opgeleverd kan worden voor 7 juni, en dat de kost waarschijnlijk eerder € 300 000 zal gaan kosten. We kunnen de scope van het project verfijnen om vroeger op te leveren en minder kosten te maken. We stellen daarom voor om feature X en Y uit de scope te halen. Welke richting wil je uitgaan?
    Waarom is dit een betere aanpak? De informatie is feitelijk en transparant. De project manager kan rustig de dialoog aangaan, de beslissing blijft bij de executive. Beslist de executive toch voor een full-scope, dan weet hij ook dat de kost omhoog gaat en deadline van 25 mei niet meer realistisch is.

 

(voorbeeld naar inspiratie uit “Stop Playing Games” van Rick A. Morris).

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