“We’ve got over 30 projects running concurrently but I’ve no idea if that is the right number. Is that too many? Too few? Is there a better mix than the ones we’ve selected? Why do we have teams that are under-utilized? ”
Whilst not quoting directly I have been asked those questions by more than one CEO during my time running Project Management functions. Of course there are many factors that influence the scheduling of projects and not all are grounded in objective data.
Appetite for change is one constraint businesses use in restricting the number of projects being initiated to ensure normal operations are not overwhelmed with too much change. Thresholds for expected project value are another limit I have seen applied. However by far the most common factor I have experienced is the constraint of a key resource.
Every organization has pinch points, typically around a core process or platform that only a very few people have sufficient knowledge of in order to understand what is required to implement the desired change. Subject Matter Experts (SME) is a scarce business resource and as such its availability will largely determine the pace at which projects can be scheduled and ultimately delivered.
The challenge facing the Project Office or Manager responsible for constructing the schedule is one of optimizing projects requiring SME around their availability. This can become very problematic when the delivery methodology depends upon close collaboration amongst the team.
Agile and DevOps teams leverage tacit knowledge and highly visualized information to achieve their goals. Collaborative decision-making, whiteboarding ideas, voting, instant feedback are all practices that enable these teams to deliver faster and respond to change better than a document driven approach. However this does mean that the team resources, including the SME, become locked into the single project even if they are not fully utilized.
But what if that tacit knowledge was held digitally and that individuals could engage remotely providing their valuable contributions at a time that suits them? Having the flexibility and tooling capability to allow these tightly constrained resources to engage in this way would remove this common barrier and allow more project teams to proceed and deliver business value.
OpusView from IdeasCast offers this capability and has been designed from the outset to digitize the contributions generated by highly collaborative teams. Features such as Voting and Feedback Requests supported by rich visualization functionality such as Mind Maps and Sketcher enable team members to contribute remotely or at a different time and yet still benefit from the context that underpins the power of co-located teams.
So if you’re responsible for scheduling projects within your organization and are wrestling with the constraints of SME availability come and take a look at OpusView.