Friday, March 26, 2010

The 30/60/10 Rule of Successful Project Management. Successful project management is 30% insight, 60% foresight, and 10% hindsight.

Successful project management is 30% insight, 60% foresight, and 10% hindsight.

Thirty percent of your results should come from insight, which is the capacity to discern the true nature of a situation; in other words, your ability to sift through the information at hand and find the nuggets of genuine value in the mountain of raw data.

Sixty percent of your results should come from foresight, which is the ability to focus on and predict what is likely to happen and doing what can be done now to prepare for it.

Ten percent of your results should come from hindsight, which is the understanding of the significance and nature of things that have happened in the past.

Unfortunately, while foresight is a logical and desirable key trait for a project manager, my experience, interviews, and research over the past three years indicate that it is vastly underdeveloped in comparison to hindsight. Project managers rely far more heavily on hindsight than foresight in their day-to-day handling of projects. In fact, the granddaddy of all hindsight orientations, the post implementation review, is actually built into most project management methodologies. As a result, to use a military metaphor, project managers often end up fighting the previous war, instead of the one they're in.

From my point of view, a project manager who doesn't actively strive to develop a strong sense of insight and foresight is essentially driving around in a car with a rearview mirror, but no windshield. Without the ability to see plainly what lies ahead of them, and predict and plan for what lies beyond that, project managers are forced to rely on trial and error (acquired over many years of experience running directly into obstacles at full speed) in order to become successful. And even then, any further success relies heavily on the unlikely reality of the playing field remaining virtually unchanged from previous experiences. Unfortunately, while the PM may be able to wrest some degree of success from this process, the teams that are passengers on these hair-raising rides often pay a hefty price in terms of stress, exhaustion, and discouragement.



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