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THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
www.InspiralPathway...
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2
The Planning Fallacy
Part 3
Bounded Rationality
Part 4
Complexity
Part 5
Hesitate to encourage reflection
Doug Wheller on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
Part 6
Understand the project’s ecosystem
and
Manage in alignment with
the project’s ecosystem
If you want to go fast, go alone
if you want to go far, go together.
John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
Part 7
Bring...
LenzuòWikimedia(CCSA)
Part 8
Learn constantly & Embrace
uncertainty
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 2
The Planning...
Wembley Stadium
Two times over budget
Photo by Forgemind ArchiMedia (CC BY)
Concorde Supersonic Airplane
Twelve times over budget
Photo by Steve Fitzgerald on Wikimedia Commons (GNU Free Documentati...
Sydney Opera House
Fifteen times over budget
Photo by Anthony Winning on
Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)
The Planning Fallacy
The Planning Fallacy
From Dina Pomeranz
Some factors contribute to the
planning fallacy
AND HOW
WE CAN TAKE THEM INTO ACCOUNT
IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
By using the h...
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 3
Bounded Rati...
Bounded rationality
Mr Spock from Star Trek
Bounded rationality
Homer Simpson from the Simpsons
The Americans have
need of the telephone,
but we do not. We
have plenty of
messenger boys.
1876
Sir William Preece
I think there is a world
market for maybe five
computers.
Thomas J Watson Sr by IBM. Licensed under
CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikim...
2004
Bill Gates
Spam will be a
thing of the past
in two years’
time.
It is much easier, as well as far
more enjoyable, to identify and
label the mistakes of others than
to recognize our own.
...
Hindsight Bias
Human evolution scheme by M. Garde (Original by José-Manuel Benitos)
Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Confirmation Bias
www.telegraph.co.uk
And now for a musical interlude
NAME THAT TUNE
Available on YouTube
Because you need to
hear this bit!!
It was of course
Beat It by
Michael Jackson!!
“Michael Jackson1 1988" by Zoran
Veselinovic
BY-SA 2.0 via Commons
The curse of knowledge
www.reddit.comLR-PTY on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
The curse of knowledge
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 4
Complexity
w...
Complexity
Nerovivo on Flickr (CC BY SA)
Complexity Illustrated
The Fish Soup Development Story
Courtesy of Ricardo Wilson-Grau
The fish soup development story
• Lilly, Milly & Billy’s parents discovered their
grandmother’s long-lost recipe for fish
...
Inputs or resources
 Parents get together fish, fresh vegetables,
water, barley, spices, a pot, a source of heat
Activiti...
• In the real world, the results are likely to be much less
certain.
 Grandmother’s recipe is lost.
 The recommended fis...
Parents
control
Inputs or resources
 Parents get together fish, fresh vegetables,
water, barley, spices, pot, source of h...
In such a complex situation
 The relationships of cause and effect are cannot be known with
certainty until the outcomes ...
The reality of multi-stakeholder
cross-cutting projects is
substantially complex
• The relationships of
cause and effect c...
In complex situations
Time
WHAT CAN
YOU DO?
The humble project management
toolkit
for better results in an uncertain world
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 5
Hesitate to ...
Hesitate
to encourage reflection
No thanks! We are
too busy
Hesitate
to encourage reflection
Unknown source
Widen your options
Reality-test your assumptions
Attain distance before making a decision
Prepare to be wrong
Use the W-R-...
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 6
Understand t...
Understand your project’s ecosystem
• The project landscape
• Project objectives and processes
• Organisational practices
Manage in alignment
with your project’s ecosystem
Circles of control, influence and interest
Understand The Project Landscape
Know your project’s niche
Adapted from Outcome...
Place most effort in the spheres of control and
influence
Outcome
Mapping
www.outcomemapping.ca/
Project
Manage in alignme...
Understand project objectives and processes
Identify what is simple and what is not
Simple Complex
Planning
Monitoring
Evaluation
COMPLEXIMETER
Emphasise planning
for the simple aspects of a project
Manage in alignment wi...
A carefully planned system to automate
simple tasks
John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
COMPLEXIMETER
Monitoring
Evaluation
Planning
Emphasise monitoring and evaluation
for the complex aspects of a project
Adap...
Manage adaptively using a
systematic framework
The Action
Learning Cycle
Image from Nadya Zhexembayeva via LinkedIn
Understand organisational practices
Assess your organisation’s fitness for purpose
Viable System Modelling (VSM)
1. Operat...
With project objectives, project processes and the project landscape
Align your organisational practices
Defence against the seagull effect
Jes on Flickr (CC BY SA)
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 7
Bring in div...
If you want to go fast, go alone
if you want to go far, go together.
African Proverb John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC ...
Bring in diverse perspectives
Identify and involve partners at all stages as far as
possible
Outcome
Mapping
www.outcomema...
Bring in diverse perspectives
Bring in diverse perspectives
Bring in diverse perspectives
The Six Thinking Hats technique encourages critical
thinking in your team
Bring in diverse perspectives
Reference Class Forecasting
THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT
FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D.
Part 8
Learn consta...
Learn constantly
It is impossible to begin to learn that
which one thinks one already knows.
~ Epictetus (55-135): Greek s...
Learn constantly
(knowledge) (Action)
(Awareness)(Acceptance)
Using multiple learning modes
Elements of Lifelong learning
...
Practice and teach what you learn
Learn constantly
We must learn to love change,
for it is the only thing that is
certain.
~ Tony Robbins: American Self-empowerment Guru
Emb...
A not very sticky glue
A
Tablecloth that was
too weak
A not very effective
heart drug
Here are some failed inventions
Embr...
Embrace Uncertainty
ViagraCellophane Post-it notes
That went on to become massive successes
Can seem very scary
Embracing Uncertainty
BUT
Things are a lot less scary
When you have a robust navigation
system
This navigation system comprises of
Embracing Uncertainty
• Your vision
• Your mission
• A diverse set of navigation aids
Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 28, 1963
I have a dream!
Your Vision is your dream
Your Mission
The personal contribution we can make
to our vision is our mission
The mission is that “bite” of the vision s...
The Humble Project Management Toolkit can
provide us with a robust navigation system
For better results in an uncertain wo...
REFERENCES
Dan Ariely (2009). Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions. HarperCollins
Brené Brow...
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
The Humble Project Management Toolkit
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The Humble Project Management Toolkit

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A presentation divided into eight parts on the 'humble project management toolkit' - a set of tools which helps us to effectively manage projects in the face of uncertainty. In these presentations I describe the 'Planning Fallacy'- why projects always go over budget, over time, and fail to deliver to specification. I introduce two of the main causes of the Planning Fallacy: our cognitive biases or 'thinking errors' and complexity. I outline the 'humble project management toolkit,' describing some of the many approaches to project planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation that are stored in the toolkit's six 'compartments':
1. Hesitate to encourage reflection;
2. Understand the project's ecosystem;
3. Manage in alignment with the project's ecosystem;
4. Bring in diverse perspectives;
5. Learn constantly; and
6. Embrace uncertainty

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The Humble Project Management Toolkit

  1. 1. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. www.InspiralPathways.com
  2. 2. Part 1: Introduction
  3. 3. Part 2 The Planning Fallacy
  4. 4. Part 3 Bounded Rationality
  5. 5. Part 4 Complexity
  6. 6. Part 5 Hesitate to encourage reflection Doug Wheller on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
  7. 7. Part 6 Understand the project’s ecosystem and Manage in alignment with the project’s ecosystem
  8. 8. If you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together. John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC SA) Part 7 Bring in diverse perspectives
  9. 9. LenzuòWikimedia(CCSA) Part 8 Learn constantly & Embrace uncertainty
  10. 10. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 2 The Planning Fallacy www.InspiralPathways.com
  11. 11. Wembley Stadium Two times over budget Photo by Forgemind ArchiMedia (CC BY)
  12. 12. Concorde Supersonic Airplane Twelve times over budget Photo by Steve Fitzgerald on Wikimedia Commons (GNU Free Documentation Licence)
  13. 13. Sydney Opera House Fifteen times over budget Photo by Anthony Winning on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)
  14. 14. The Planning Fallacy
  15. 15. The Planning Fallacy From Dina Pomeranz
  16. 16. Some factors contribute to the planning fallacy AND HOW WE CAN TAKE THEM INTO ACCOUNT IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT By using the humble project management toolkit
  17. 17. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 3 Bounded Rationality www.InspiralPathways.com
  18. 18. Bounded rationality Mr Spock from Star Trek
  19. 19. Bounded rationality Homer Simpson from the Simpsons
  20. 20. The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys. 1876 Sir William Preece
  21. 21. I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. Thomas J Watson Sr by IBM. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 1943 Thomas J. Watson
  22. 22. 2004 Bill Gates Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.
  23. 23. It is much easier, as well as far more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. ~ Daniel Kahneman: Israeli-American psychologist and 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences
  24. 24. Hindsight Bias Human evolution scheme by M. Garde (Original by José-Manuel Benitos) Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  25. 25. Confirmation Bias www.telegraph.co.uk
  26. 26. And now for a musical interlude NAME THAT TUNE Available on YouTube Because you need to hear this bit!!
  27. 27. It was of course Beat It by Michael Jackson!! “Michael Jackson1 1988" by Zoran Veselinovic BY-SA 2.0 via Commons
  28. 28. The curse of knowledge www.reddit.comLR-PTY on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
  29. 29. The curse of knowledge
  30. 30. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 4 Complexity www.InspiralPathways.com
  31. 31. Complexity Nerovivo on Flickr (CC BY SA)
  32. 32. Complexity Illustrated The Fish Soup Development Story Courtesy of Ricardo Wilson-Grau
  33. 33. The fish soup development story • Lilly, Milly & Billy’s parents discovered their grandmother’s long-lost recipe for fish soup. • The old dusty recipe book listed all the ingredients and exactly how they should be cooked. And they all Lived Happily Ever After Once Upon A Time • Mum & Dad did not have much expertise but they did have some cooking experience. • The family gathered around the table and everybody agreed that the fish soup was the most nutritious and delicious soup in the whole wide world. • The family ate fish soup once a week for the rest of their lives.
  34. 34. Inputs or resources  Parents get together fish, fresh vegetables, water, barley, spices, a pot, a source of heat Activities  Mother or father carefully prepare and cook all the ingredients Output  Children are given the most nourishing fish soup in the world Outcome  Children consider the soup delicious and eat fish soup once a week for the rest of their lives Impact  Children are healthy adults The fish soup results chain
  35. 35. • In the real world, the results are likely to be much less certain.  Grandmother’s recipe is lost.  The recommended fish is not available in the market every week of the year.  The family’s buying power varies from year to year.  Children are different and change as they grow:  Lilly becomes a vegetarian.  Milly goes on a diet.  Billy is simply rebellious.  Outside factors & actors influence the children – school, TV, friends and so forth  Fish soup alone once a week is not sufficient for good health If only life were so simple!
  36. 36. Parents control Inputs or resources  Parents get together fish, fresh vegetables, water, barley, spices, pot, source of heat Activities  Mother or father carefully prepare and cook all the ingredients Output  Children are given the most nourishing fish soup in the world Parents influence Outcome  Children consider the soup delicious and eat fish soup once a week for the rest of their lives Parents worry Impact  Children are healthy adults The fish soup results chain revisited
  37. 37. In such a complex situation  The relationships of cause and effect are cannot be known with certainty until the outcomes emerge.  To produce a nutritious soup that their children will eat once a week for the rest of their lives, the recipe is less important than the parents’ relationships with each son and daughter, and theirs with their social environment.  More than cooking experience • parent’s must rely on their • sensitivity and creativity.  And they must accept • uncertainty about the results.
  38. 38. The reality of multi-stakeholder cross-cutting projects is substantially complex • The relationships of cause and effect cannot be known with certainty until the outcomes emerge Inspired by Jeff Conklin, cognexus.org Time
  39. 39. In complex situations Time
  40. 40. WHAT CAN YOU DO?
  41. 41. The humble project management toolkit for better results in an uncertain world
  42. 42. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 5 Hesitate to encourage reflection www.InspiralPathways.com
  43. 43. Hesitate to encourage reflection
  44. 44. No thanks! We are too busy Hesitate to encourage reflection Unknown source
  45. 45. Widen your options Reality-test your assumptions Attain distance before making a decision Prepare to be wrong Use the W-R-A-P Process: Hesitate to encourage reflection
  46. 46. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 6 Understand the project’s ecosystem and Manage in alignment with the project’s ecosystem www.InspiralPathways.com
  47. 47. Understand your project’s ecosystem • The project landscape • Project objectives and processes • Organisational practices
  48. 48. Manage in alignment with your project’s ecosystem
  49. 49. Circles of control, influence and interest Understand The Project Landscape Know your project’s niche Adapted from Outcome Mapping Learning Community resources (www.outcomemapping.ca/) Sphere of interest/concern Sphere of influence Project Sphere of control
  50. 50. Place most effort in the spheres of control and influence Outcome Mapping www.outcomemapping.ca/ Project Manage in alignment with the project landscape
  51. 51. Understand project objectives and processes Identify what is simple and what is not Simple Complex
  52. 52. Planning Monitoring Evaluation COMPLEXIMETER Emphasise planning for the simple aspects of a project Manage in alignment with project objectives and processes Adapted from Ricardo Wilson-Grau
  53. 53. A carefully planned system to automate simple tasks John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
  54. 54. COMPLEXIMETER Monitoring Evaluation Planning Emphasise monitoring and evaluation for the complex aspects of a project Adapted from Ricardo Wilson-Grau Manage in alignment with project objectives and processes
  55. 55. Manage adaptively using a systematic framework The Action Learning Cycle
  56. 56. Image from Nadya Zhexembayeva via LinkedIn
  57. 57. Understand organisational practices Assess your organisation’s fitness for purpose Viable System Modelling (VSM) 1. Operations 2. Internal coordination 3. External interactions 4. Strategy
  58. 58. With project objectives, project processes and the project landscape Align your organisational practices
  59. 59. Defence against the seagull effect Jes on Flickr (CC BY SA)
  60. 60. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 7 Bring in diverse perspectives www.InspiralPathways.com
  61. 61. If you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together. African Proverb John Mauremootoo on Flickr (CC BY NC SA)
  62. 62. Bring in diverse perspectives Identify and involve partners at all stages as far as possible Outcome Mapping www.outcomemapping.ca/ Project
  63. 63. Bring in diverse perspectives
  64. 64. Bring in diverse perspectives
  65. 65. Bring in diverse perspectives The Six Thinking Hats technique encourages critical thinking in your team
  66. 66. Bring in diverse perspectives Reference Class Forecasting
  67. 67. THE HUMBLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT FOR BETTER RESULTS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD JOHN MAUREMOOTOO, PH.D. Part 8 Learn constantly And Embrace uncertainty www.InspiralPathways.com
  68. 68. Learn constantly It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. ~ Epictetus (55-135): Greek speaking Stoic philosopher
  69. 69. Learn constantly (knowledge) (Action) (Awareness)(Acceptance) Using multiple learning modes Elements of Lifelong learning From the European Life Long Learning Institute
  70. 70. Practice and teach what you learn Learn constantly
  71. 71. We must learn to love change, for it is the only thing that is certain. ~ Tony Robbins: American Self-empowerment Guru Embrace Uncertainty
  72. 72. A not very sticky glue A Tablecloth that was too weak A not very effective heart drug Here are some failed inventions Embrace Uncertainty
  73. 73. Embrace Uncertainty ViagraCellophane Post-it notes That went on to become massive successes
  74. 74. Can seem very scary Embracing Uncertainty BUT Things are a lot less scary When you have a robust navigation system
  75. 75. This navigation system comprises of Embracing Uncertainty • Your vision • Your mission • A diverse set of navigation aids
  76. 76. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963 I have a dream! Your Vision is your dream
  77. 77. Your Mission The personal contribution we can make to our vision is our mission The mission is that “bite” of the vision statement on which you are going to focus.
  78. 78. The Humble Project Management Toolkit can provide us with a robust navigation system For better results in an uncertain world
  79. 79. REFERENCES Dan Ariely (2009). Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions. HarperCollins Brené Brown (2013). Daring Greatly. How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Portfolio Penguin. Sarah Earl, Fred Carden and Terry Smutylo (2001). Outcome mapping: Building learning and reflection into development programs. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Raul Espejo and Alfonso Reyes (2011). Organizational Systems: Managing Complexity with the Viable System Model. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Bent Flyvbjerg, Massimo Garbuio, and Dan Lovallo, (2009). Delusion and Deception in Large Infrastructure Projects: Two Models for Explaining and Preventing Executive Disaster. California Management Review, vol. 51, no. 2, Winter 2009, pp. 170-193. Atul Gawande (2010). The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. Profile Books. Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2011). Switch: How to change things when change is hard. Random House Business. Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2014). Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work. Random House Business. Richard Hummelbrunner and Harry Jones (2013). A Guide to Managing in the Face of Complexity ODI Working Paper, ODI, London. inProgress (2012). Integrated Monitoring: a Practical Manual for Organisations That Want to Achieve Results. Daniel Kahneman (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow. Penguin. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2008). The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Penguin. Ben Ramalingam (2013). Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World. OUP Oxford, UK. Second Barefoot Collective (2011). The Barefoot Guide to Learning Practices in Organisations and Social Change. Produced by The Community Development Resource Association (CDRA), PSO Capacity Building in Developing Countries and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Cass R. Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler (2012). Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. Penguin, UK. Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmermann, Michael Quinn Patton (2009). Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed. Vintage Canada Diana Whitney & Amanda Trosten-Bloom (2010). The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A practical guide to positive change. Berrett- Koehler Publishers. Bob Williams and Richard Hummelbrunner (2009). Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner's Toolkit. Stanford Business Books, Stanford, California, USA.

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