How Did We Do? Time to Review and Audit the Project Management

Have you ever heard the phrase “the devil remains in the information”? I always believed that this stating was a little strange … up until I started to operate in task monitoring. The amusing point is that when I got involved in project administration this expression made so much feeling. I can bear in mind being on one task where the project manager was much too short-sighted. All she appreciated was data storage requirements and practically absolutely nothing else. For this project manager, the evil one in the details was never thought about, beyond the boundaries of information storage space anyway. On one more job, the task supervisor was so certain of his very own abilities to “do his job” that he completely overlooked the details altogether. The latter task had some disastrous results … consisting of Social Security down payments being gone back to the state that sent them, which subsequently led to that state terminating those settlements. To put it simply, major customer impacts happened due to the fact that individuals were excessively certain in their own capacity to adapt to an altering procedure.

So what does this involve project administration? Everything. If a task is producing something unique, after that it stands to factor that there are variables that are known and also some that are unknown. Think of tossing a rock right into a lake. You understand that the rock striking the water will trigger a rippling effect on the water’s surface area. What you don’t understand is how many surges it will trigger or how far the surges will spread past the initial impact. Refine monitoring is a method of taking into consideration all that might take place as a result of the ripples in the water.

Allow’s claim that there is a task is to apply new handling software right into an existing data handling facility. Externally, this looks fairly very easy. The processing center already exists and the innovation is already in position. So apart from information technology and/or info systems mounting the new software program and some training on exactly how to utilize it, this is a rather easy endeavor. This is equivalent to throwing the rock into the water. We have a rock, we have water, as well as we know that the rock striking the water will develop a rippling effect. Trouble resolved, right? What takes place if all of the individuals of the brand-new software are not literally located in the very same processing facility? What happens if there are people that send job to the processing facility, using courier, due to the fact that they are remotely situated Project Management Professional and also for that reason unable to make use of the modern technology that is offered to others? Perhaps this seems farfetched to you given that we stay in the 21st century, but I can ensure you that it’s not.

Here’s the crux of the trouble. It’s humanity to make assumptions based on minimal knowledge and/or absence of information … especially when managing a task. This is why in the Job Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is just one of the criteria for task monitoring, procedure renovation is consisted of in its Project Quality Administration area. Refine enhancement, whether you call it refine management, procedure style, or process engineering, is crucial to ensuring that your task is carried out according to range. If the project is made according to range, however stops working when put into production, the task is a failure as well as its range was never ever satisfied. A fundamental presumption of a task is that it will certainly work once fully executed.

Let’s check out procedure enhancement from even more of a natural viewpoint. I utilize the term natural because we seldom think about process management and task monitoring with each other. Like project management, procedure management has actually developed into its own technique. At its origins however, process management is just a collection of forms as well as arrowheads utilized to illustrate a process. This is the inherent value of procedure administration. It allows you to show the process before it is also in position. Rephrase, you can outline the process before the task is also near to being completed.

I specified that at its roots, process monitoring is simply a series of shapes and arrows made use of to show a process. You can map a process (additionally called a flowchart) making use of just 3 forms, an oblong, a rectangular shape, as well as a ruby. Each form stands for a details part of the process. An oval stands for the start or end of a process … the very first or last step. A rectangular shape shows a task. If you place a rectangle-shaped box under one more box, the second box identifies a job. A diamond is a call out for a decision. It demonstrates that there is a yes or no concern within the procedure that has to be answered. Interestingly sufficient, this basic shape frequently is one of one of the most powerful in identifying voids (several breaks in a process that can create rework, client impact, failure, or any other variety of issues) within a job and/or process. The arrows are used to route the “circulation” of the procedure from one point to an additional.

As an instance of the win-win of using procedure administration during a task, I was just recently on a project where information was being converted from one system to an additional. The process for this is commonly described as data mapping. You map the data as well as the fields in the system where they presently stay and map them to where they will certainly stay in the brand-new system. When this was process mapped, the ruby shape was made use of to ask if the information from our department had been mapped to the new system. The solution was yes. The next activity was to figure out just how that data would certainly be recognized in the new system, to which no person understood the answer. This was a huge void. If the information had been mapped, then someone ought to have had the ability to inform us what that information would certainly appear like in the new system. We swiftly figured out that nobody can verify that our location had actually been consisted of in the initial information mapping. What would the impact had been if after the task no one could discover the data in the brand-new system? Once again procedure mapping spent for itself, as it generally does.

Another advantage of process mapping is the capacity to flowchart the conceived procedure. Let’s say that there are a variety of tasks that you recognize need to happen and just how they will certainly be done. What you might not know is who will do every one of the real job. Think of a loan being stemmed. A person is mosting likely to take the lending application; somebody is mosting likely to refine the lending application; a person is mosting likely to underwrite the car loan; as well as a person is mosting likely to shut the lending. But who is mosting likely to submit the papers as well as will they be checked into an imaging application? This is an unidentified. By flowcharting the process you have the ability to take the tasks you recognize will occur and then the tasks you “think” will happen and also develop a picture of the procedure. By utilizing the same shapes, however changing the color or structure of the “theoretical” ones, you have the ability to show the know activities from the “just how we believe it will be” tasks. This allows others to opine on the process prior to there is a problem, such as inaccurate treatments being created or even worse yet, that part of the procedure being entirely ignored.

Maybe one of the best benefits of procedure mapping, within the context of project management, is that it allows you to better control the work of the project. When the core processes are placed in flowcharts, it is much easier to identify control gaps within the process itself. Control gaps are, in and of themselves, risks within the project. Let’s use the above example of a loan being originated. A decision point (diamond shape) in the process is validating that the loan has been underwritten correctly. What happens if no one validates the underwriting? Or, what if the one validating the underwriting is the same person that underwrote the loan in the first place? Segregation of duties has to be a part of the process in order to protect the integrity of the process itself. A flowchart would show if this control has been sufficiently setup or if there is potential for a control failure.

Finally, the use of swim lanes is another value added dimension of process mapping. Swim lanes are used to track a process through all of the areas that need to be a part of it, in order for the process to be completed. Think of an Olympic pool. You automatically picture a pool with swim lanes, each one belonging to a different swimmer. Again, let’s use the loan origination example. In most cases the origination of a loan takes several areas (called cross-functional areas) working together for a loan to be completely processed. This could entail various areas such as sales, loan application processing, underwriting, closing, and file management. While no single area owns the entire process, they all work a part of the process to ultimately complete a single loan. By employing swim lanes, you segregate each area in the process into its own lane. Then, using the shapes already discussed, you track the process moving from one swim lane to another. This not only illustrates the areas responsible for the entire process, but also the decision points, controls, and ultimately the interdependencies. Getting the process map validated by all of the areas involved seals the deal. Once all agree on the process, a responsibility matrix can be developed and the project is in a better state of control because of it.