What If Our Plans Actually Worked?

Christoph Hirnle, CEO of Meisterplan

Over the course of my career, I have been a project team member, a project manager, a PMO, and a senior manager. Name any one of those roles, and I can tell you what made that position painful. SPOILER: It had to do with projects.

But, I’m not really writing about projects today. I’m writing about people.

The people involved in projects – the people working on them, managing them, coordinating them, and deciding on them. And how we can all do better. How we can make plans that actually work.

I don’t care how projects, or work in general for that matter, gets done. I value people trying their best to make what they are doing a success.
There are many great methods and tools available that help you deliver a single project. And agile has been a game changer. But too many people are leaning on agile as an end-all be-all solution when, in fact, it’s only part of the answer.

The problem isn’t delivering a single project. While that’s not easy, we’ve become pretty good at it. It’s when there is more than 1 project to be worked on that everything typically falls to pieces.

Now is this only me? I wanted to find out. So my colleagues and I talked to over 1,000 professionals working in all kinds of industries and all kinds of roles. This applies to more than just people with the title Project Manager, or people who have a PMO position. If you’re involved in projects, managing projects, coordinating project portfolios, no matter what your title or position is, this is relevant.

Guess what. It’s not working for any of us.

I heard it over and over again: “Our plans just don’t work.”

Since we spend a good part of our lives at work, and we all want our lives to be good, we started envisioning how great life with projects could be for all of us. And making this vision a reality is what drives me every day.

Imagine if:

  • Everyone in the company prioritizes customer value above everything else.

  • Team members get credit and are appreciated for the insights they provide, not just the hours they put in. They feel that the projects they work on make a difference.

  • Project managers get credit for delivering great projects, not reports. Being a PM is a reputable position, not simply a necessary stepping stone in one’s career. PMs can rely on the resources they were promised. And management trusts them to choose the best way forward for their projects.

  • PMOs get credit for putting together a set of projects that brings the company forward, not for controlling budgets. They draw up an overall plan that can actually be achieved and are able to calmly react to changes in availabilities and priorities as they occur. They make sure PMs have everything they need to be successful. And they put senior management in a position to make decisions, with all relevant information at their fingertips.

  • Senior management can focus on making the tough calls. And they can fast track issues while knowing exactly what the tradeoffs are.

Wouldn’t that be nice? What I just described can be reality with a method we call Lean PPM (giving credit to the inventors of dynamic processes). This is not just any method, but it is one that is easy to understand, learn and maintain. We used our own experience paired with feedback from 1,000+ professionals, and created version 1 of of the Lean PPM method. So far, it’s helped over 100 companies worldwide Make Plans That Work, so considering it’s only version 1, I feel we’re off to a good start.

Now we want to make this better. No, we want to make it awesome. We want to make plans that work. But we can’t do it without you.

The feedback we have already received has been invaluable, but it isn’t enough. The only way for us to reach that ideal project world is by coming together, defining the problems, and coming up with a method that solves those problems. We created an online community where we want to take this to the next step, get more feedback and discuss. We call our online community the Quest because we want you to join us on our quest to make plans that really work.

So now it’s your turn. Please click on the questions below to join the Quest and share your thoughts and answers to the following questions:

By |2018-05-08T13:29:47+00:00May 8th, 2018|Categories: Project Portfolio Management|

About the Author: Christoph Hirnle, PhD

The only way to bribe Christoph is through food. He loves good music. He hates when situations become unnecessarily hectic because people didn’t put enough thought into it beforehand, or they don’t inform the right people. He calls himself lazy because he doesn’t want to produce anything beyond what is required. We call him efficient. His real passion, though, is helping people and organizations make plans that work. That’s the reason he invented the Lean PPM method, and it’s why he wants your help to continually improve that method. He truly cares about others. In fact, as CEO of Meisterplan, he gets the most satisfaction out of his job when something goes really great that he didn’t have anything to do with, when he can give all credit to the team. He thinks the greatest thing about being human is that we have the opportunity to open our minds to completely different ideas, and points of view, which brings richness to our lives. On top of all that, he has 15 years’ of professional experience from being a project team member through to being a senior manager, and he has a PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.