The Goldilocks & the 3 bears of project management

No, I'm not blond nor am I talking about bears.  I'm trying to get people to understand there has to be balance in project management.  Once again, one of my son's bedtime stories makes a pretty good analogy.

As I'm reviewing all of the contract deliverables due from the vendor this month, I ask myself if it is really all that necessary.  I don't think so.  What do I mean by contract deliverables?  I'm referring to anything from a high level design (HLD) to detail level design (DLD), an integrated schedule (IS) to a cost performance report (CPR).  That's hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation, every month, with the expectation the future will be predicted or the past explained.  Organization 1: Too much documentation and process - too little value.

This is actually quite the contrast from where I started as a project manager.

When I started out in project management, I worked for a very small organization that basically flew by the seat of its pants.  Nothing was documented.  If the customer didn't like the change, we'd just redo the work.  There was a considerable amount of waste but we were able to actually delivered some product (value).  In hindsight, if we would have had more documentation and process, we would have had fewer budget and schedule overruns.  Organization 2: Too little documentation and process - too little value.

More recently, I worked for a medium sized organization that was maturing its business practices.  They realized they needed a minimum level of documentation to help lessen waste and manage stakeholder expectations.  The goal?  Have the right amout of documentation and process to deliver the greatest amount of value.  For the most part, there wasn't too little or too much documentation or process and there wasn't too little value as a result.  For the most part, Organization 3 was just right.

In all seriousness, ask yourself the question, "for the task I'm about to commit resources to, is there too little or too much documentation or process for the amount of value I can expect to deliver?"

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