The project leader needs to resolve to a course of action with a project plan and buy-in from the project team. Project members who understand the decision are likely to support the project. Project plans help to avoid rework by identifying the tasks that need to be completed and the correct task sequence.
- Resolving to a course of action is so important for projects that it's the third pillar in the direct project leadership framework. The dictionary definition for resolve is to decide firmly on a course of action, and in this video we'll explain what that really means, and why it's so important for your whole team to firmly resolve to a course of action. Why do we use the word resolve? Why not dictate, or agree to a course of action? Because resolve implies an energy of commitment, and the root of resolve is solve, which suggests a willingness to compromise and a focus on solutions.
Let's look why this distinction is so important, and some steps we can take to help a team resolve to their course of action. In a perfect world, we know that the team needs to define the challenges they're trying to solve, and investigate the options for getting it done. Then, they need to come together around a course of action and translate that into a plan. If you think about it, a project plan is actually a model. It's a shorthand way of describing things that you expect to occur in the future.
The model makes the actual work easier to plan, to manage, and to measure. Ensuring that the whole team understands, contributes to, and is committed to the same plan will ensure that the model you are using to manage and measure the project reflects the real work that it's intended to describe. Why is it so important to have an accurate project plan? Well, there was some excellent research done on this by Professor John Sterman at MIT.
What he showed is that you could look at all of the work required to complete a project and separate it into three buckets. The first bucket is the planned work. These were the things that the team knew they would need to do from the very beginning. The second bucket is the unplanned work. These were the things that the team didn't think about, or wasn't able to predict, but still needed to be done. And the third bucket, the one that would make or break projects, was the rework, things that had to be done more than once.
The funny thing is that no one ever plans for rework, but it can have a huge impact on the time and the cost of completing a project. And there's a strong link between unplanned work and rework. The more unplanned activities there are, the more surprises the team runs into as they're working on the project, the more rework they'll have to do. So, unplanned work causes rework, which causes more unplanned work, which causes more rework, which causes projects to go over budget and to fail.
The lesson, it's worth taking time to try and anticipate all of the work that will need to be done before the work gets started, and then resolve to a course of action at the beginning. Tapping into your team's creativity and different perspectives will help you uncover better options. But once the ideas are on the table and vetted, the project leader needs to help their team resolve to a course of action so that they can build a realistic plan and move forward together.
- Name who is responsible for approving the resources for the project.
- Recall what the spine of a fishbone diagram represents.
- List characteristics of the environment.
- Identify the tools used for mapping processes.
- Recognize what needs to be captured on the action item list.
- Recall what project metrics should be related to.