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Project Management, Performance Measures, and Statistical Decision Making

Herding Cats

There is a current rash of suggestions on how to improve the performance of software projects. I work in the Software Intensive System of Systems domains in Aerospace, Defense, Enterprise IT (both commercial and government) applying Agile, Earned Value Management, Productive Statistical Estimating (both parametric and Monte Carlo), Risk Management, and Root Cause Analysis with a variety of capabilities. Figure 1 - Planned Estimates versus Actual Performance from [1].

How to Talk About Estimates

Herding Cats

What is an estimate? An estimate as a noun is an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something. An estimate as a verb is to roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of. But those estimates, nouns, and verbs themselves's have other attributes. Every month there is a Month End reports, both showing cumulative cost to date, cumulative schedule performance, and Physical Percent Complete.

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4 Fallacious Reasons to Estimate and Why Those Are Fallacious

Herding Cats

There's a recent post titled Four Fallacious Reasons to Estimate. It lists the usual suspects for why those spending the money think they don't have to estimate how much they plan to spend when they'll be done producing the value they've been assigned to produce for that expenditure. And like many posts and tweets about estimating, it's made from this point of view, not the business point view, not from the point of view of those paying the developer. Related articles.

Principles, Processes, and Practices of Project Success

Herding Cats

Practices and Process are Fads. A Process is a series of steps and decisions involved in the way work is completed. Here's my version in the form of questions that when answered form the foundation for the Practices and Processes. What does Done look like in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers? What impediments will be encountered along the way to Done and what work must be performed to handle these impediments? Related articles.

Project Management Process & Phases

ProProfs Project Management

In simple terms, the Project Management process is the art of managing all components of a project from starting to closure using a structured scientific methodology. According to the PMBOK guide, which is considered the bible for project managers, project management is scientifically done by managing project documents through 49 processes that are grouped into five project phases. . The processes in this phase are: . specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) .

A Compendium of Works to Increase the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Here are my collected works, presentations, briefings, journal papers, articles, white papers, and essays, used to increase the Probability of Project Success (PoPS) I've developed and applied over my career in the software-intensive system of systems domain. Managment Processes. Integrated Master Plan: The Foundation of Program Success , College of Performance Management, May 21, 2014. The Nine "I's" of Program Success ," College of Performance Management.

2003 45

Increasing the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

This means having a set of Principles, Process, and Practices to test the suggestion against. These Five Immutable principles are time phased into Processes that provide answers to the Five Principles. and the connections between each Process are made to form a Closed Loop control systems needed to manage any project. With some details for each process area. To support these Principles and Processes, a set of Practices are needed. Related articles.

2017 69

Value First, Requires Margin and Contingency

Herding Cats

The principles of microeconomics of decision making in the presence of uncertainty mandates you make estimates of how to achieve that Value in terms of cost and schedule, those three (and all) variables are random variables, usually driven by a stochastic process. This process can be stationary (unchanging distribution) or non-stationary (a changing distribution function). Related articles. There's a popular notion in Agile that says Focus on Value.

Definition of Done

Herding Cats

These Measures have Little meaning to the Decision Makers. Do those capabilities meet the Measures of Effectiveness needed to accomplish the mission of the system in operational units of success closely related to the achievements of the mission or operational objectives evaluated in the operational environment, under a specific set of conditions? These are attributes to assure the system has the capability and capacity to perform. Related articles.

2017 38

Integrated Master Plan - Revisited

Herding Cats

Transparent – Comprehensible display of what needs to be done and how completion is measured. It is essential that the IMP represent the work that must be performed. If the IMP is being prepared as part of a proposal, then the Request for Proposal (RFP) and RFP attachments will be the primary documents to define the work to be performed. The IMP shows the Accomplishments and the measures of Accomplishments that are essential to get through a design review.

Increasing the Probability of Program Success

Herding Cats

And to make those risk-informed decisions in the presence of reducible and irreducible uncertainty we need to ESTIMATE. So, If your making decisions in the presence of uncertainty and you're NOT estimating the impact of those risks on the probability of success, then you're not managing the project - usually paid with other people's money as an Adult. So let's look at the principles, processes, and practices that will be in the White paper when it is complete.

Risk Management in Five Easy Pieces, with Apologies to Jack

Herding Cats

Managing Cost, Schedule, & Technical Performance Risk Is The Basis Of Good Project Management. Certain information about key project cost, performance, and schedule attributes are often unknown until the project is underway. These risks can be mitigated with a good risk management process. A good risk management process is proactive and fundamentally different than issue management or problem-solving, which is reactive. Risk Management Process Model.

Risk 37

Performance-Based Project Management®

Herding Cats

Performance–Based Project Management ® integrates five critical program management process areas with – Cost, Schedule, and Technical Performance Measures. The inclusion of Technical Performance Measures (TPM) separates this approach from conventional methods based solely on managing cost and schedule. The result is increased visibility and credibility of the Independent Estimate at Completion (IEAC). Related articles.

Five Immutable Principles of Project Success

Herding Cats

No matter the engineering processes used to produce the outcomes from the project. Without these measures, Done will usually mean . Without these measures, Done will usually mean we ran out of time and money. . The test of the hypothesis for projects are the Measures of Effectiveness, Measures of Performance, Key Performance Parameters, and techTechnicalformance Measures used to assess progress to plan for the project. No Estimating?

Performance-Based Project Management®

Herding Cats

Successfully managing projects, not matter the domain, the size, the development or engineering method starts with a set of Principles, Practices, and Processes. The Processes need to be tailored to your domain. Principles and Practices of Performance-Based Project Management® from Glen Alleman. Related articles. Information Technology Estimating Quality.

Fallacy of the Day

Herding Cats

Project Controls are Management Actions, either preplanned to achieve the desired result, or taken as a corrective measure prompted by the monitoring process. Project controls are concerned with the metrics of the project – quantities, time, cost, and other resources and their measurable beneficial outcomes for the project. In the Project Controls paradigm, Value is a measurable attribute of the project controls process - a Closed Loop Control measure.

Wilo's Law and Mature Communications Processes

Herding Cats

To make some conjecture that some process will fix the problem - Estimates are the smell of dysfunction and NOT Estimating will fix that dysfunction - is naive at best and willfully ignorant of Root Cause Analysis at worse. Avoid Verbal Orders is a critical process in any critical situation. Any successful technical communication needs to have: Measures of Effectiveness. Measures of Performance. Technical Performance Measures.

Physical Percent Complete: Knowing When You Are Done

Herding Cats

The goal of every program manager is to have a set of practices that connect all the programmatic planning, risk, and performance information in a single unified view needed to support the decisions that increase the probability of success of any project or program. Reductionism must be replaced by emergence where the complex system of data and processes and the sum of the pieces and parts provides a deeper insight into the functions of the system. Related articles.

Cancelling Projects: The Project Isn't Being Done Right

Project Health Check

In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. A classic way to consider project performance is via the triple constraint of scope/cost/time, often with quality thrown in the mix. In part 2, we look at how sometimes the Project being worked on is no longer the right Project. In this part 3, we will look at the other cause of cancelling: the Project isn't being done right.

2017 179

Start with Principles, Not Personal Anecdotes

Herding Cats

I've seen estimates abused by bad managers, so let's NOT estimate and that will fix the behavior of Bad Managers." The "bad management" is itself a symptom of untrained, inexperienced, unskilled decision making processes in the presence of uncertainty. . While the human behaviors are real and observable, conjecturing that decisions can be made in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the outcome of those decisions, there is no principle to support that conjecture.

2018 39

Managing in Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The uncertainty is always there, it doesn't go away with specific actions in specific domains, or with the use of any tools, processes, or practices. This is an immutable principle that impacts planning, execution, performance measures, decision making, risk, budgeting, and overall business and technical management of the project and the business funding the project no matter the domain, context, technology or any methods. We need a formal risk management process.

The Problems with Schedules

Herding Cats

Here's an article, recently referenced by a #NoEstimates twitter post. The headline is deceiving, the article DOES NOT suggest we don't need deadline, but that deadlines without credible assessment of their credibility are the source of many problems on large program. Unrealistic performance expectations missing Measures of Effectiveness and Measures of Performance. Unrealistic Cost and Schedule estimates based on inadequate risk adjusted growth models.

2016 42

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq

Herding Cats

The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. The Cone is NOT the result of the project's past performance. Related articles.

2017 33

What Is Risk?

Herding Cats

risks that may prevent the end item from performing as intended or not meeting performance expectations. Measures of Effectiveness, Measures of Performance, Technical Performance Measures, and Key Performance Parameters describe the measures of these expectations. risks that affect the cost and schedule measures of the program. This uncertainty is modeled as a stochastic process of an inherently random physical model.

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq (Updated)

Herding Cats

The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. Estimates are needed but are subject to large level of uncertainty.

2017 30

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Trois

Herding Cats

The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. The Cone is NOT the result of the project's past performance. Related articles.

2007 28

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Deux

Herding Cats

The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates or any other project attribute (in this post, cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. There can be cost and schedule performance measures as well.

2017 30

Is Macroeconomics and Social Science the Same as Software Development?

Herding Cats

In our domain this is the Performance Measurement Baseline, which is a time-phased budget plan for accomplishing work against which contract performance is measured. But margin, management reserve, analysis of alternative is standard project management process of dealing with the indeterminate elements of projects. Related articles. Domain and Context Are King, Then Comes Process and Experience. NoEstimates Agile Economics Estimating Governance

2016 36

Without a Root Cause Analysis, No Suggested Fix Can Be Effective

Herding Cats

In a recent Blog post titled Precision it is suggested Precision (or the implication thereof) is perhaps the root problem of most, if not all dysfunction related to estimation. . Estimates have precision and accuracy, but the reason for these unfavorable outcomes is not stated in the post. But as the second paragraph of the post says The number of people walking around with the natural assumption that someone is to blame whenever an estimate turns out to be wrong is just sad.

2016 57

Misquotes of Deming

Herding Cats

It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth. This is used in support of the fallacy that estimates aren't needed to make decisions in the presence of uncertanty. I spent the week speaking at the College of Performance Management conference where government and industry come together to work on the issues of cost, schedule, and technical performance management process improvement needed to increase the probability of program success.

2016 40

Acting Like an Adult in the Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

Decision-making is the process of choosing among alternatives. For high-consequence decisions with potential outcomes that can have a large impact on valued things, the decision-making process should involve consideration of uncertainties about the outcomes. [1]. For customers paying for the development of software, these things include - cost, schedule (time cost of money), market timing, and performance of the product to name a few. Related articles.

2016 55

11 Critical Project Management Metrics Every Agency Needs to Track

Workamajig

This article looks at the 11 most important project management KPIs you need to track and why. Peter Drucker may have said it half a century ago, but the old adage still rings true: “If you can measure it, you can improve it.”. A robust PM system might tell you how a project is doing at any moment, but it can’t tell you how the organization or its constituent people are performing. Measuring and monitoring project management metrics fills this gap.

2019 76

Value and the Needed Units of Measure to Make Decisions

Herding Cats

Without units of measure of Value beyond time and money, there can be not basis of comparison between one value based choice and another. In the Systems Engineering world where we work, there are four critical units of measure for all we done. Measures of Effectiveness - these are operational measures of success that are closely related to the achievements of the mission or operational objectives evaluated in the operational environment, under a specific set of conditions.

2016 42

Deconstructing The Cone of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The paper on the Cone of Uncertainty is used by many in the No Estimates community as an example of why estimates are of little use. In this paper, there is data that does not follow the Cone of Uncertainty, in that the uncertainty of the estimates does not reduce as the project proceeds. Landmark’s measure of success over these three years had much more to do with customer satisfaction and market share than with meeting knowingly aggressive targets. Related articles.

2007 37

Fallacy of the Week

Herding Cats

Technical outcomes and their performance - what did we get for our money? Have sufficient Technical Performance Measures margin to cover the required performance measure of the Capabilities. You can't make decision in the presence of uncertainty without making estimates about those decisions. It is a fallacy to say that you can deliver on time, every time - in the presence of uncertainty - without estimating. Related articles.

Invoking "Laws" Without a Domain or Context

Herding Cats

2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time, or remains constant in ideal cases where the system is in a steady state or undergoing a reversible process. The increase in entropy accounts for the irreversibility of natural processes, and the asymmetry between future and past. And just to be clear the statistics of the processes in Little's Law are IID - Independent, Identicially Distribution and Stationary.

2016 36

An Introductory Guide to Project Management for HR

Wrike

In fact, HR professionals are increasingly adopting project management tools to improve their processes and workflows. . In this article, we will discuss the benefits of project management for HR professionals and why HR project management is vital for departmental success. For instance, attracting new talent, launching and executing training and development programs, completing annual performance and salary reviews are all projects that HR teams need to complete.

Systems Engineering and Software Intensive System of Systems

Herding Cats

This is a good start, but it needs to produce actionable outcomes , not just principles, but practices and processes. Much of Ackoff's principles are the basis of practices and processes that assure this happens. . The identification of the requirements, the test plans, and the features provided for each release are an essential driver of the product development process. . Related articles. Technical Performance Measures. Estimating Guidance.

Complete Collection of Project Management Statistics 2015

Wrike

Need up-to-date facts and figures for a project management report, article, or infographic? 80% of “high-performing” projects are led by a certified project manager. [4]. 89% of high-performing organizations value project management, 81% actively engage sponsors, 57% align projects with business strategy. [6]. Having a knowledge transfer process in place boosts the chance of project success by over 20%. [6]. Most Popular Agile Tools and Processes: Scrum – 43%.

2015 49