What are the 3 primary challenges of project management that Kanplexity solves?
In my experience, as both a project manager and an agile chef, there are 3 primary challenges that I can identify relatively quickly.
- Navigating uncertainty and complexity
- Providing purpose in the world of Agile
Traditional project management tends to have a stronger focus on resource efficiency than flow efficiency.
In other words, we are more focused with how productive people or resources are than we are focused on how effectively and efficiently work flows through the system. How effectively the team create and deliver value to customers.
The Kanban element of Kanplexity can help:
- Improve your throughput.
- Reduce cycle time (how long things take to complete).
- Improve how much time we have to think about problems and their potential solutions.
So, flow is really important.
By keeping people really busy, in my opinion, project managers end up shooting themselves in the foot. By focusing on output, we lose sight of value.
- Are we building the right thing?
- Is this the most valuable use of our time?
- Is this going to create or capture value for our customers?
Instead, the focus tends to be on productivity in alignment with a predetermined plan.
- Are we hitting the milestones on the chart?
- Are we completing the work within time and budget constraints?
So, Kanplexity helps shift the focus from output to outcomes. Helps shift the focus from productivity to how effectively and efficiently work flows throughout the value stream.
Feedback Loops (Empirical Loops)
Traditional project management tends to see the whole project being completed, then tested, and then provided to customers for review and feedback. In some cases, this takes months, in other cases it can take years.
Kanban with Kanplexity allows us to create rapid feedback loops.
We build and test the work item, deliver it to a customer to review, and receive feedback as to whether we are building the most valuable item and whether it solves the most compelling problems our customers have.
Navigating Uncertainty and Complexity
We live in an increasingly turbulent world. The U.S. Army refers to this as VUCA (Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity). We simply don’t know where disruption is going to come from and we can’t anticipate how deep the impact of that disruption will be.
There are simply too many unknown variables and the interconnected, integrated nature of our global economy produces disruption from every quarter, every day, in ways that require us to adapt and respond quickly and effectively.
The tendency with disruption and significant threats in our space is that we tend to revert to what we know. To how we have always done things. So, if we think there is disruption and we are process driven, we tend to think that simply changing the process will fix the problem.
In the space of product development and product management, managers tend to think that throwing more people at the problem will solve that problem.
The problem with a one-trick pony is that it probably won’t be appropriate for the situation you are presented with. Doing what you have always done is not how we deal with complexity, it’s how we deal with simple and complicated situations.
What you need is a tool or framework that will help you discover and decide what the right course of action should be.
The Cynefin Framework included in Kanplexity acts as a compass.
It helps you navigate the storms and decide on the most valuable, appropriate response given the situation or circumstances that you are presently facing. It helps you decide what the next right step will be.
If we always seek consensus across the entire organization in times of crisis, the appropriate response may be to simply work with a small team of experts who are best positioned and qualified to navigate the chaos or crisis we are facing.
If someone on the team has years of experience at dealing with this situation, we don’t need to form a war room, we can simply elect to let that person get on with doing the work because they could navigate this problem with their eyes closed.
If we are in a situation where we don’t know what we don’t know, and we don’t know all the variables that may derail our course of action, maybe we need to bring in some fresh thinking and include as many different perspectives as we can.
So kanplexity helps orientate you in times of uncertainty and helps you decide:
- What should you facilitate?
- What should you optimize for?
- What should you measure?
- What is the right, best next step that you can take?
Providing purpose in the world of Agile.
Agile doesn’t seem to have much in the way of career opportunities for project managers. In agile frameworks such as scrum and LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), it is explicit that there is no place for project managers in product development and product management.
In my opinion, that is foolish.
Project managers are hard-working, talented, and highly skilled people. They have impressive skills in all the areas that truly matter, from customer and stakeholder management through to cost and risk management capabilities.
They really are the real McCoy in the world of getting hard things done, on time, within scope, and within budget constraints. It seems nonsense that we would abandon or neglect such incredibly valuable people in the pursuit of agility. It makes more sense for them to be an integral part of that pursuit.
Kanplexity provides a place, and a purpose, for project managers in helping the organization achieve increased agility and thrive in the product development space, despite complexity and uncertainty.
Project managers simply need to shift to agile values and principles and look to assume an agile leadership role within the project management environment, using Kanplexity as a compass to navigate uncertainty and complexity, and the long term career trajectories are awesome.
Kanplexity needs a guide, a leader, to help the team grow their agile capabilities. Project Managers are a great fit for that role and are welcomed into the world of Kanplexity with open arms.
So, in my opinion, these are the 3 primary challenges of project managers and project management that Kanplexity solves.
About John Coleman
John Coleman has deep experience and expertise working with executives, #leadership teams and product development teams to achieve increased #organizationalagility and create environments where creativity and collaboration produce high-performance teams.
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