Should Technical Project Managers Be Technical?

Have you ever before heard the phrase “the devil is in the details”? I always assumed that this saying was a little unusual … up until I started to operate in project management. The funny point is that when I got into job management this phrase made so much sense. I can bear in mind getting on one project where the job supervisor was much also myopic. All she respected was information storage needs and also virtually absolutely nothing else. For this task supervisor, the devil in the details was never thought about, outside of the confines of information storage space anyway. On one more project, the project manager was so sure of his own capacities to “do his work” that he entirely disregarded the details entirely. The latter task had some tragic outcomes … consisting of Social Security down payments being gone back to the state that sent them, which in turn resulted in that state terminating those payments. In other words, significant customer influences occurred because individuals were extremely positive in their own capability to adjust to an altering procedure.

So what does this concern project management? Whatever. If a task is developing something distinct, after that it stands to reason that there are variables that are known as well as some that are unidentified. Think about throwing a rock into a lake. You recognize that the rock striking the water will certainly cause a rippling effect on the water’s surface area. What you don’t recognize is how many surges it will create or just how much the ripples will certainly disperse beyond the initial impact. Process monitoring is a method of taking into account all that may occur as a result of the ripples in the water.

Allow’s claim that there is a job is to execute brand-new handling software application into an existing data processing facility. Externally, this looks fairly very easy. The handling center currently exists and also the technology is already in position. So apart from information technology and/or details systems mounting the new software and also some training on how to use it, this is a fairly simple undertaking. This amounts tossing the rock right into the water. We have a rock, we have water, and also we understand that the rock hitting the water will certainly produce a causal sequence. Trouble fixed, right? What happens if all of the individuals of the brand-new software program are not physically located in Project Management Professional the exact same processing center? What if there are individuals that send work to the processing facility, via carrier, because they are remotely located and also for that reason unable to make use of the modern technology that is available to others? Perhaps this seems unlikely to you given that we reside in the 21st century, yet I can ensure you that it’s not.

Right here’s the crux of the problem. It’s humanity to make presumptions based upon limited knowledge and/or absence of info … specifically when handling a task. This is why in the Job Administration Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is just one of the standards for project management, procedure enhancement is consisted of in its Project Top quality Monitoring area. Refine renovation, whether you call it process monitoring, procedure design, or procedure design, is essential to ensuring that your task is carried out according to scope. If the project is made according to range, but fails when taken into production, the project is a failing and also its range was never ever satisfied. A basic presumption of a job is that it will function as soon as fully carried out.

Allow’s take a look at process renovation from more of an organic standpoint. I use the term natural because we seldom think about procedure monitoring and also job administration together. Like project management, process monitoring has actually developed into its own technique. At its origins however, procedure administration is merely a series of shapes and arrowheads made use of to illustrate a procedure. This is the inherent worth of procedure monitoring. It enables you to show the procedure prior to it is even in position. Put another way, you can outline the procedure before the job is even near to being finished.

I specified that at its roots, process monitoring is merely a series of shapes as well as arrows used to illustrate a process. You can map a procedure (additionally called a flowchart) using as low as three forms, an oblong, a rectangular shape, as well as a diamond. Each shape represents a specific part of the procedure. An oval represents the beginning or end of a process … the first or last step. A rectangular shape highlights a task. If you position a rectangular box under an additional box, the second box identifies a job. A ruby is a call out for a choice. It shows that there is a yes or no question within the procedure that needs to be answered. Interestingly sufficient, this easy shape commonly is just one of one of the most powerful in recognizing spaces (one or more breaks in a procedure that can cause rework, client effect, failure, or any other variety of problems) within a project and/or procedure. The arrows are used to guide the “flow” of the process from one point to another.

As an instance of the win-win of using process management throughout a project, I was recently on a task where information was being transformed from one system to one more. The process for this is often referred to as information mapping. You map the data and the areas in the system where they currently live and also map them to where they will live in the new system. When this was process mapped, the ruby shape was made use of to ask if the data from our department had actually been mapped to the brand-new system. The response was yes. The following activity was to figure out just how that information would be determined in the brand-new system, to which no person understood the solution. This was a massive gap. If the information had actually been mapped, after that someone must have been able to tell us what that data would certainly look like in the new system. We rapidly found out that no person can confirm that our area had been consisted of in the original data mapping. What would the influence had been if after the job no person could locate the data in the brand-new system? Once again procedure mapping paid for itself, as it typically does.

One more advantage of procedure mapping is the ability to flowchart the conceptualized procedure. Allow’s say that there are a number of tasks that you understand require to take place as well as how they will be done. What you might not know is that will certainly do all of the real work. Think of a funding being stemmed. Someone is going to take the loan application; a person is going to process the financing application; someone is going to finance the finance; as well as someone is going to shut the loan. But that is mosting likely to file the papers as well as will they be scanned right into an imaging application? This is an unidentified. By flowcharting the procedure you have the ability to take the tasks you understand will occur and afterwards the tasks you “think” will certainly take place and develop a photo of the process. By using the exact same forms, yet transforming the shade or appearance of the “conceptual” ones, you have the ability to show the recognize activities from the “exactly how we assume it will be” tasks. This permits others to say on the procedure prior to there is a problem, such as inaccurate treatments being written or worse yet, that part of the procedure being completely overlooked.

Possibly one of the best advantages of process 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.