Project Management – Be Assured

Have you ever before heard the expression “the devil is in the information”? I always believed that this claiming was a little odd … till I started to operate in project management. The funny thing is that as soon as I got involved in job administration this expression made so much sense. I can bear in mind getting on one task where the job supervisor was a lot too short-sighted. All she respected was information storage requirements as well as practically absolutely nothing else. For this task manager, the evil one in the information was never ever thought of, outside of the boundaries of data storage anyhow. On one more project, the project supervisor was so certain of his own capabilities to “do his task” that he completely neglected the information altogether. The latter task had some tragic outcomes … including Social Security deposits being returned to the state that sent them, which subsequently caused that state stopping those repayments. Simply put, significant customer effects took place since people were extremely positive in their own ability to adjust to a transforming procedure.

So what does this have to do with job administration? Every little thing. If a task is producing something special, then it stands to factor that there vary that are recognized and some that are unknown. Think about throwing a rock into a lake. You know that the rock striking the water will certainly create a rippling effect on the water’s surface. What you don’t recognize is the number of surges it will certainly create or just how far the surges will spread beyond the first effect. Process monitoring is a way of taking into account all that may occur as a result of the surges in the water.

Let’s state that there is a project is to apply brand-new processing software application right into an existing information processing facility. Externally, this looks rather very easy. The processing center currently exists and also the modern technology is currently in position. So other than infotech and/or info systems installing the brand-new software and some training on just how to utilize it, this is a fairly simple task. This is equivalent to throwing the rock right into the water. We have a rock, we Project Management Professional have water, as well as we understand that the rock striking the water will certainly create a rippling effect. Issue resolved, right? What takes place if all of the individuals of the brand-new software are not literally situated in the exact same handling facility? Suppose there are people that send job to the handling facility, through carrier, due to the fact that they are from another location situated and also consequently not able to make use of the innovation that is offered to others? Maybe this seems unrealistic to you because we live in the 21st century, however I can guarantee you that it’s not.

Here’s the essence of the issue. It’s humanity to make presumptions based upon minimal understanding and/or absence of info … particularly when dealing with a task. This is why in the Task Monitoring Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is just one of the standards for task management, procedure enhancement is included in its Task Top quality Monitoring section. Refine improvement, whether you call it process administration, process style, or process engineering, is essential to ensuring that your task is carried out according to range. If the task is developed according to scope, yet fails when taken into production, the job is a failing and also its scope was never satisfied. A fundamental assumption of a task is that it will certainly function when totally applied.

Allow’s check out process renovation from even more of an organic perspective. I make use of the term natural because we seldom consider procedure administration and task monitoring together. Like job monitoring, process management has advanced into its own technique. At its roots though, process monitoring is just a series of shapes and arrows utilized to illustrate a procedure. This is the intrinsic worth of procedure monitoring. It allows you to show the process prior to it is also in place. Rephrase, you can lay out the process prior to the job is also near to being finished.

I mentioned that at its origins, procedure administration is just a collection of forms and arrowheads used to show a procedure. You can map a process (also called a flowchart) using just three shapes, an oval, a rectangle, as well as a diamond. Each shape stands for a specific part of the procedure. An oval stands for the beginning or end of a procedure … the initial or last step. A rectangular shape shows a task. If you place a rectangular box under another box, the second box identifies a task. A diamond is a call out for a decision. It demonstrates that there is a yes or no inquiry within the process that needs to be addressed. Interestingly enough, this straightforward form frequently is among one of the most powerful in determining spaces (several breaks in a process that can create rework, customer impact, failing, or any other variety of issues) within a job and/or procedure. The arrows are utilized to route the “flow” of the process from one point to an additional.

As an example of the win-win of using procedure administration during a job, I was recently on a job where information was being converted from one system to an additional. The procedure for this is usually referred to as data mapping. You map the information and the areas in the system where they presently live and map them to where they will certainly live in the new system. When this was procedure mapped, the ruby form was used to ask if the information from our department had actually been mapped to the new system. The response was yes. The following activity was to determine exactly how that information would certainly be identified in the new system, to which nobody knew the solution. This was a massive space. If the information had been mapped, then someone ought to have been able to inform us what that data would certainly resemble in the brand-new system. We quickly discovered that no person could validate that our area had been included in the original information mapping. What would the impact had been if after the job no one could discover the information in the new system? Once again process mapping paid for itself, as it normally does.

One more benefit of procedure mapping is the capability to flowchart the conceptualized process. Allow’s state that there are a number of tasks that you recognize require to take place and also exactly how they will certainly be done. What you might not know is who will do every one of the actual job. Think of a finance being come from. Someone is mosting likely to take the loan application; somebody is going to refine the lending application; a person is going to underwrite the lending; and also somebody is going to close the lending. But that is going to file the records and also will they be scanned right into an imaging application? This is an unknown. By flowcharting the process you have the ability to take the activities you understand will take place and afterwards the activities you “believe” will take place as well as produce an image of the process. By using the same forms, yet transforming the color or appearance of the “theoretical” ones, you are able to illustrate the understand tasks from the “how we think it will certainly be” activities. This permits others to opine on the procedure prior to there is a conflict, such as incorrect treatments being written or even worse yet, that part of the process being totally overlooked.

Perhaps one of the greatest 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.