Process Thinking for Project Delivery
The delivery of projects successfully is made up of many factors, one is process. The ability to follow established set steps to ensure that results are achieved. The ability to understand that everything correct flow is the result of a process and is the key to performance and possibly project improvement.
To effectively deliver projects as close to scope as possible, or at least not to have such a variance from the concept, final scope and then what is delivered, look no further than the process. As there is a place for process thinking in operating, managing, and directing projects.
Every outcome is the result of a process, set of steps, under a set of conditions. Analysing processes provides lessons learnt and allows for improvement for future performance.
When it comes to figuring out what went right or wrong, focus on what was done, why it was done, how it was done, and why it was done that way. Then learn from what happened to continuously improve.
There are two broad categories of processes, internal (intrapersonal) and external (collaborative). While the internal processes have a direct effect in the external ones, in most teams and organizations they are left to the individual. The external ones are observable, such as speech, behaviour, and outcomes can be seen, felt, and analysed.
Processes weave together in a dynamic system. The system, the environment being worked in, is complex. Managing its processes is more an art or craft than a science. Documented policies, processes and procedures are useful, though it is behaviour that counts. And behaviour in complex situations requires flexibility and the right balance among intuition and analysis, compliance, and flexibility.
There are many ways to say the same thing and there may be more categories. The point is to assess processes to see with which allow for satisfaction, and which can and should be improved?
The following is list of processes that are involved in project management:
- Demeanour, decorum, and respect for others – emotional and social intelligences, rules of order
- Structure – purpose, position, evidence, dialog (questioning, opposing views, and rebuttal), conclusion. Why is one saying what they are saying? Is it the best way to address the purpose, meaningful, as brief as possible and to the point?
- Active Listening – sensing one’s own and other people’s meaning through “vibe”, body language, tone, and content; asking questions to better understand; open to what the other person is saying as opposed to assuming what that are saying.
- Transparency – what was decided, why it was decided that way, what is being or was done, the outcome, implications, and changes.
- Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving, and Decision making
- Operational performance
- Human resource
- Quality (reviews, compliance, performance analysis and continuous improvement)
- Stakeholder (managing expectations, informing, obtaining input)
- Financial and Accounting
- Strategy and policy
- Stakeholder relations and politics
- Accountability and performance evaluation
- Decision making
- Values and principles
Regardless if a good track record in project delivery exists, there probably are parts of processes which can be better understood and improved, particularly in the areas of communication, decision making, stakeholder relations, and quality management.
How best to address process? Cultivate process thinking. Ask what processes are behind chronic performance problems? Are processes too rigid or too loose? Is process documentation enough? Is everyone aware of process thinking?
Make the time and take the effort to manage processes, let us know you approach to the use of processes in delivering projects. It would be great to have your point of view, all the very best on your project management journey.