Why we created Project-Tools

Rationale

Sounds familiar...

Most organisations have more than one project going on at a time.

Add to this the day to day operational needs of the business, "special projects" and '10 minute' favours, those planned managed projects can very easily fall behind.

If you've ever experienced delays and missed targets, I'm sure you will have asked the obvious: Why were they late?

The answer is simple: Finite resources over finite time can only deliver finite projects.

Whenever a senior manager / owner / director instructs resources that are already working on other planned deliverables to drop what they're doing and instead carry out their requests, it is obvious that the ongoing planned deliverables will suffer as a direct result.



gantt

It's about time

Having witnessed the above scenario many many times over the past 3 decades, I decide it was time to do something about it.

I therefore created the WRF (Work Request Form) & associated process. The initial implementation dates back to 2005 when I was asked to come in and head up a group of internal technical consultants for one of the world's leading financial information organisations, who were overstretched, mismanaged and frequently missing deadlines.

Referring to best practice guidelines (e.g. PRINCE2 & ITIL) and adjusting to meet the specific needs of the business, we worked out what essential information was required to enable the decision makers to determine whether a requested piece of work should go ahead or not. We aligned the necessary information within the form against the process and held Advisory Boards to review the requests and from thereon provide feedback to the stakeholders. The system worked well and gave good visibility back to all interested parties. The most notable result was that we could see what projects could be delivered with the available resources and it gave us the justification to acquire additional resources in order to deliver the ever increasing project demands of our customers.

Since then, the WorkRequest process has been refined & implemented within other organisations where the identical problem was occurring: Techies and front line managers doing their best to deliver to the needs of the business, senior management stepping in and redirecting resources and voila: the N ongoing carefully planned and managed projects suffer due to the intervention of the hierarchy.

This is the problem. Something needs to be done about it. In a word it needs to be: Managed.

Project-Tools provides that capability via a carefully defined method & philosophy that helps those in charge to see the many ongoing project needs of the business and furnish them with realistic timescales that can be relied upon.

The first step is gaining visibility of the work. This means that ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE, INCLUDING ALL LEVELS OF MANAGEMENT, MUST state what they want, in clear business terms. This may well sound extremely over-simplified, but ask yourself the question: does this happen 100% of the time where you work?

By ensuring a simple set of standard questions are answered, in business terms, the business can make a decision as to whether the requested piece of work makes sound business sense.

Again, it sounds simple, but the business needs to be 100% in control of what is happening within the business at all times.

It's like the UNIX philosophy: "Write programs that do one thing and do it well". Taking this approach in business, we get the right people: Specialists, to do their one thing well. We use the right tool for the job. This means allowing the techies to carry out their tasks in their specialist technical field all the way up the chain to directors directing the business.

Directors work on the strategic direction, goals, mission and road maps for the business.

By getting ALL levels of staff to request work in business terms, it allows those responsible for the strategic direction to review the requests and determine if they fall in line with their strategy.

Assuming the request is of sound business sense, it can be analysed from a technical, cost and timescale perspective. This information is then passed back to the business to allow them to make their decision upon the cost benefit analysis and ultimately give the Go / No Go decision as to whether the work should go ahead. Thus keeping all of the strategic decision making in the hands of those responsible for it. Again, using the right tool for the job.

Yes, this is extremely straight forward and common sense and yes there are other (fee paying) systems out there that can be tailored to do just that, but Project-tools has been specifically developed to meet this one need and (because I believe in this philosophy 100% and want it used) I've decided to make it free!