Projects and Cookies?


Many organizations try to get work done either from memory, or by reinventing the wheel. Does that happen at your company? For some people, it’s much easier to create something from scratch than to hunt down something that’s reusable. The reason is that it’s either too hard to find, or it’s out of date. This can be very stressful, especially when your projects are running at full speed. In this scenario, scaling your projects is not an option.

The true purpose of a standard is to scale while maintaining quality. Consider the cookie-cutter. You use the cookie-cutter tool in your kitchen to maintain a solid pattern. If you have the right ingredients and recipe, you can give the cutter to another person without the concern of making a bad cookie. Having a standard in place is like having a cookie-cutter at your disposal.

But you could run into another problem from fast-changing environments. What if your recipe is not as good as the neighbor's? Do you find your kids going across the street for better cookies?

Let's look at projects. What happens if your project requires a process change to adapt to business needs? Traditionally, it's not easy to disseminate that change out to currently running projects. However, you may find that if you're nimble on your feet, you can add flexibility to the cookie cutter mold. Standards should have instant flexibility to help your company constantly adapt to its evolving needs.

Imagine you could instantly leverage an improvement whenever you want. For example, at PIEmatrix, we devised a way to make a dynamic connection between the template and the active project. We quickly learned that it’s even better to allow the tweaking decision to be made by the project’s manager. This empowers the manager and the team to decide when to get the latest and greatest. The people out in the field have true control over their processes as they improve over time. I call this repeatability and scaling with flexibility.

Image by Betsy