June 6, 2012 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Guides
How To Distinguish Projects (Because They’re Not All Alike)
By Preben Ormen
Everybody knows that projects can differ and differ a lot. But if we want a systematic way to classify them, we need a robust method that is versatile enough to work across the board to distinguish projects in an easy and meaningful way.
This is a tall order, because projects can differ in so may ways; e.g., as described so well by Shenhar and Dvir:
The problem with a list like this is that some of the the attributes only apply some of the time and in addition, there are so many of them that it is difficult to determine the relative effects of each one individually.
In fact, it is possible to define a universally applicable model with three dimensions:
- Complexity (project scope: number of tasks/interactions)
- Pace(time pressure/time horizon: soft & hard deadlines))
- Uncertainty (information, or lack thereof, about project goals, tasks and the environment)
We can think of uncertainty as customer or market uncertainty on the one hand, and technological uncertainty on the other.
The idea of novelty can capture the market uncertainty aspect quite nicely because it evokes the whole area of innovation.
Technology is rather straightforward as concepts go, so we’ll use that label straight up.
This is how the four dimensions of the Diamond model were arrived at (in a nut shell – well, make it a coco nut shell).
In the short time I have been playing with this model, I have already gained some new insights into why certain problems occurred in certain past projects. I find it works well to classify and distinguish projects in a way that I can use to create a suitable project approach and delivery plan.
Shenhar, Aaron, Dov Dvir (2007). Reinventing Project Management – The Diamond Approach to Successful Growth and Innovation, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Preben Ormen has over 35 years experience with a wide range of businesses, teams and cultures from around the world. He has experience in SAP, IT Governance, procurement, system selection and integration, and peformance and process improvements. You can read more from Preben on his blog, you can follow him on Twitter, and you can contact him via LinkedIn.
No comments yet.