“If I assume that every project request is a valid request to address a problem, and not a solution to an unstated problem, then my team can design preferred solutions based on our experience, knowledge of our project portfolio, and of our capabilities, but there are many decisions we have to make understanding only part of the problem.”
With projects there is a great variety of decision-making problems impacting performance. In each instance, an Integrated PM approach, based on systems thinking, will lead to more insightful decision making.
The above diagram is an application of Management Science to the world of projects, and has been used in various industries for many years now. The assumption here is that;
Yes, I know that this is quite an assumption. The fact is, any constraints in these areas will constrain every downstream project within the system. If you want performance improvement, then this is the first place to look.
In spite of all our PMI training, our system is managed in three phases illustrated in the diagram above.
(1) Problem Formation or Problem Scoping, (2) Problem Modeling, and (3) Implementation of Recommendations.
As shown, each phase consists of several steps. In practice, it is an iterative process where we may have to go back to earlier phases or steps to overcome unexpected difficulties, fill in omissions uncovered at a later stage, and alleviate or eliminate undesirable consequences. There are also forward linkages. At each step, we keep future steps in mind and are on the lookout for difficulties we may encounter. It may lead us to alter our initial approach and look for countermeasures, whenever possible.
I will address each of these 10 steps in future blogs. The diagram illustrates how Integrated PM holistically addresses the entire system, utilizing and solving for the concerns of portfolio management, program management, project management, capacity planning, project management and many more disciplines.