While some of my peers are still thriving for planning tools and methodologies to strengthen their grip on projects, others offer ten keys to a happier living and pursuing a great dream. It's the summary of last week's PMI Netherlands Chapter's 3rd Summit on the thin line between project success and project failure. Discrete task management as a 20th Century invention, cultivated from the times of Frederick Winslow Taylor's book The Principles of Scientific Management to David Allen's Getting Things Done. Resemblance with the classic Divide & Rule strategy elements is surprising:
- creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign
- aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign
- fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers
- encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political and military spending
Proven project success factors however are e.g. trust, collaboration, communication, and contribution to a greater cause. Research led Daniel Pink to rethink Maslow's hierarchy of needs (I bet you know this pyramid) and come up with 21st Century drivers for our professional and personal motivation:
- Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives.
- Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
- Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
Connecting dots, zooming out of discrete tasks to larger structures up to the organization, value chain or customer journey shows a wide-angled view:
- Working on brick by boring brick appears to the final stage of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona.
- A piece of Java code skips a mouse click in an application form, raising chances a customer will continue buying an insurance policy.
- Implementing legislation in processes, systems and information products avoids penalties and saves cash for investments.
- A proper configuration of a server keeps hackers out and the business focused on their core business.
A monthly review of your risk log or skipping the benefits section in a mandatory business case for a 'compliance project' will get a different meaning, once you understand the effects of your efforts. Costs turn into values. System integration enables business sustainability. Daily routines like a stand-up or check-in become an index of project health or happiness of team members. What drives you home? And back to work tomorrow?