What is Lean3?
Part 4 of 5 : Reusable Good Practice
Textbook Best Practice is hard to use
Today, much Project Management guidance is advertised as “Best Practice”. People learn this 2nd Generation “Best Practice” in the classroom, but don’t use it when they get back to work. It’s too complex. It’s not applicable to real life projects. This contradiction arises whenever Best Practice is driven by commercial interests. It exists to be sold, taught, learned and examined, but not to be used. That is why it is easy to learn but hard to use. In reality, it is a commodity, not Best Practice.
Today’s so-called Best Practice is static, frozen in time. It’s a command-and-control approach to standardisation, a top-down 2nd Generation approach. Best Practice needs to give way to living, practical Good Practice. This will the basis of 3rd Generation Project Management, a 21st century approach inspired by the open source movement.
Good Practice is used and reused
We need dynamic Good Practice, based on what really works in practice. Designed for use, not for sale. Actually used ; and improved by the people who use it. And designed for reuse, by any other team working on a similar activity or in a subsequent project.
This is a team-based approach, where Good Practice is developed at the point of use. It is a bottom-up, collaborative 3rd Generation approach.
Sharing Good Practice means networking beyond traditional limits
In Manufacturing, a factory can generate its own Good Practice inside its own four walls. There is typically a fairly repetitive process with short cycle times. If an activity needs to be improved or corrected, new ideas can be tested and proven (or rejected) with rapid feedback, as cycle times are short. After a few cycles, each with feedback, a new, improved practice can be established in a short time. Each team optimises its own ways of working; each factory optimises its high-level processes.
In the world of Project Management, things are different. There are long cycle times (most projects take months). In a single company, there is little repetition (there are so few projects). So the only way to generate Good Practice is to use social networking. It’s vital to go beyond the traditional limits of the team and the company. Social networking can link a wider community that runs hundred of thousands of projects each year. From that massive number of projects, the community can generate living Good Practice, and improve it constantly.
Shared Libraries of reusable Good Practice
Social networking allows the creation of shared libraries of Good Practice. Each library stores a collection of reusable modules.
Project teams can use modules from various shared libraries:
- horizontal libraries: general purpose modules
- vertical libraries: industry-specific modules
- local libraries: company- or team-specific modules
These are living libraries, with feedback from users of each module: a project should deliver feedback on each module that it has used.
Feedback loops and scoring
In Manufacturing, in a factory with short cycle times, feedback is fairly immediate. New ideas and improvements can be tried out and measured quickly. Errors and defaults can be detected and corrected rapidly. There is an effective feedback loop.
In Project Management, cycle times are long. We need to build feedback loops using modern Social Networking techniques with a scoring system. Scoring is common today on the internet. Many social networking and commercial sites such as AirBnB and Amazon use scoring systems. The score is generated from the community and feeds back information to the community. It’s a socially driven feedback loop.
Socially driven scoring can support the evolution of Good Practice. This social feedback can be positive or negative. If it is positive, it will confirm to other project teams that the module is being used and is effective Good Practice; if there is a lot of negative feedback, the component is no longer Good Practice, and should be improved or removed.
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