One Less Problem

 

A current popular song is titled "Problem".  Part of lyrics goes: Head in the clouds, Got no weight on my shoulders, I should be wiser and realize that I've got one less problem without ya!  In his book the Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything, Matthew May talks about removing insignificant activities. Dan Ward in his book FIRE, Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation talks about brain draining verses brainstorming. Brain draining is the process of removing features and functions where brainstorming adds features and functions.  Focusing on the right features and functions is a hard task.  Focusing on the right projects is also a hard task. 

Often overbearing stakeholders drives the project and function load.  In an upcoming CHAOS Tuesday, Evan Sorensen will help us understand how to deal with overbearing stakeholders.  In the meantime one of the ways to reduce projects and functionality is our Value Portfolio Optimization and Management Service. This service uses our unique and patterned optimization method to reduce projects and functionality by the means of relativity.  Using our 7 constraint ranking system each project and major function is ranked against each other.  In this way overbearing stakeholders can visually see how the valuable projects and functions get prioritized and delivered.

The other unique feature about the Value Portfolio Optimization and Management Service is the stakeholders themselves help and participate in the relationship assignments.  This helps them buy into the prioritization.  They can visually see that maybe one of their pet projects or features has less importance to the organization than other projects and features.  They also can visually see a project might be put off because of the lack of skilled resources and be replaced by a project that is more likely to succeed because the skilled resources are more aligned with another project.  Management can mix high-risk innovative projects with low risk insipid projects to create a balanced portfolio.

Problem tasks can have high value, low value or average value.  If is often difficult to assess the value and the effect of a task on the outcome of a project or portfolio.  Let us consider a real life situation.  In the last few weeks before the rollout of healthcare.gov some person had the bright idea to make everyone register before getting access to the website.   Now if this feature was presented during one of our optimization clinics we would have asked the question to the management team what is the value, risk, capability, cost, and the other constraints of such an action.  It is crystal clear that it would have been one less problem without this feature.



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Subject Matter

Optimizing Scope
 

About the Author:

Author

Jennifer Lynch

Jennifer Lynch is Communication Manager for The Standish Group. Jennifer’s expertise is to create and execute an industry, press and customer communications strategy designed to increase the visibility and awareness of The Standish Group, its products, services, and corporate citizenship initiatives.

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