This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Project complexity and staffing

Menasclerk is running through some interesting discussions of how to staff projects, based on the complexity and time horizon of the project. He is focused on IT project management, but, as discussed in the comments, this applies to any project. The basic idea is to look for project managers who have the capacity to see the entire project. If the project is going to take three years, they need to see that entire horizon. manasclerk's The Power Struggle: RO and Project Costing and Staffing

I don't think that I am going out on a limb when I say that short time horizons of project managers, sponsors and planners is the leading cause to the disastrous failure rate of IT projects. Most projects run 200% over initial estimates because the managers delegated the planning of the work out to Project Planners with insufficient complexity to understand what the project will take. A project manager, given a project planned like this but where he or she has with "Complexity to burn", can often salvage it. Amazingly. Of course, the PM does it by redefining the scope of the work, throwing out the project plans and creating new ones that have the staff doing things that they are not assigned for.

Of particular interest to me is the idea that people brought in to help with planning (consultants) need to have this capacity to see the whole project. At some level there is an "of course" you need to see the whole project to plan it, but Menasclerk's point is that organizations frequently don't see the value in paying the higher-priced consultant for a two-month engagement. That's because they are looking at the engagement, and not the fact that the project will be three years.

For me, of course, I need to consider what my capability level is and how I communicate that to my prospective clients.

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