Stanford Advanced Project Management

Just got the certificate from this prestigious Stanford University center in advanced project management (SCPM). Particularly interesting was training in Executing Complex Programs. I’d like just to mention some techniques taught throughout the training:

  • Zooming-in and zooming-out: this occurs all the time, so Complex Program Manager needs to change focus few times throughout a day, ensuring that if necessary,  firefighting is done on all levels.
  • Planning cycle: plan-do-replan-redo. Plan more in the beginning so to shorten “do-replan-redo” part of the cycle.
  • Scope management: what is in, what is out and what is fuzzy. In the beginning, there are a lot of unclear requirements, so put them in this gray, fuzzy area.
  • Beware of red flags in decision making: misleading prejudgments, misleading similar experiences, self-interest or distorting liking for particular people, countries, things. As solution, make sure that you have diverse leadership team.
  • Program resilience: have your program core strong and build your ability to handle whatever changes may appear.
  • Pipeline management: portfolio governance team, as independent body will prioritize the projects, draw a line, clearly cancel all projects below the line and reassign the resources to the highest priority projects.
  • Coordination overload: SMEs and first line managers are overloaded with questions from the project team members. People wait for answers and the projects are blocked. To avoid such situation, define who should respond what type of questions and how to identify if the person has too big backlog and who will be a backup person in such case.
  • Anticipate failures: accumulating small errors can lead to unpleasant suprise. Expect that people will make mistakes, and pay attention to small failures, because they can be a tip of the iceberg.
  • Communicate through actions: team members look at how Program Manager spend his or her time, this way they understand what is important.
  • Don’t oversimplify: don’t underestimate the complexity of the organization, seeks more details that might be missing.

Looking forward to using these leading edge concepts in my daily work !

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