Side notes: We are here to make another world.

“If you stay in this world, you will never learn another one.” – W. Edwards Deming

The point being made in these series of blogs is for project managers everywhere to recognise the different types of elements that go into making projects a success and what it means to be an International Project Manager (IPM). Whether or not we actually physically traverse the globe, at some point or another we are going to come face-2-face with international aspects in our projects. This means that to really be effectual we do really need to touch other worlds, other cultures and interact with experiences that will prove useful to other projects (and their stakeholders).

 “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Much of the training and field experience for project management does not teach for the recognition of the different levels of success (which is currently set at the short-term setting). In fact, mainstream education does not teach this. Yet this is one area which can be seen to contribute to the failings within projects; the reason being that a majority of projects fail due to short sightedness – no longevity strategy (or very weak at best). For example, a great many managers here (at this organisation) are chosen mainly by the type of educational institute they attended, yet they are ill-equipped to describe the actual processes inherent to their responsibilities. You can see evidence of this in the presentations given by those Managers. The presentations are full of text. They are read, word-for-word, in front of a nodding off audience.

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

Agreed that the client maybe happy with a delivery (and your management may be happy with that too), but why can the client not be made super-happy? Surely this would be a benefit to everyone, and yes we know that in the short-term this may not be cost effective to the project. However, the evidence is extremely strong that super-happy clients are good for business growth. Going that extra mile means increasing the chances of uncovering opportunities. Whether it means working extra hours or reading up at home over a cup of coffee – the time invested is the time where you acquire knowledge. It is this knowledge that leads to a realisation of opportunities that will improve client satisfaction – and hence the organisation’s satisfaction.

“The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs.”

This is not rocket science, it is sheer common sense. Look at; Toyota, Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Company, and many other sustaining long-lived organisations. The chief ingredient that all of these major successful companies had in common were that they were willing to recognise quality as a top priority. When they did that, they began to recognise the different types of successes, the different types of intelligences and the behaviour variances of their employees. In this way they enabled their projects to succeed (many times over). We have got to change the way we work within our projects. Even if those changes are unpopular – go the extra mile to prove long-term gain over short-term gain and overcome get-the-money-quick stratagems.

“You cannot inspect quality into the product; it is already there.”

The true hallmark of a successful project is where there is a commitment by all the stakeholders to improve the quality of their work daily. Think about this very very deeply, and if need be repeat these words again, “The true hallmark of a successful project is where there is a commitment by all the stakeholders to improve the quality of their work daily.”

“We are here to make another world.”

Believe me when I say that this is not simple to instil, and yet it has been done (not just by me, but by others; Honda Corporation). Compared to Soichiro, I had it easy. The use of collaborative technologies, such as project extranets, enables me to galvanise stakeholders on the project. Of course like Soichiro, I also have to physically be in contact with the project stakeholders – yet everything we imagined for the success of the project came true, driven by our insatiable demand for trusted quality commitment.

“We should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes.”

Deming’s proclamations were largely ridiculed during his time. He was considered by some as being crazy. All of this changed when the Japanese took on Deming’s principles. We all know what happened then; the Japanese achieved automobile dominance and became world renowned for quality; hence, Schopenhauer’s quotation at the beginning of the above article.

“Our customers should take joy in our products and services.”

Real project success is where the project is successfully delivered and the benefits are long term. That is to say the benefits continue to positively resonate far beyond the client’s, and your original expectations. How that happens is through the courage and committed consistency of international project managers, championing the core elements of success; vision, clear strategy, better decision making, courage, motivational change control, driven by quality.

“It is important that an aim never be defined in terms of activity or methods. It must always relate directly to how life is better for everyone… The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system. The aim must include plans for the future. The aim is a value judgment.”

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