In the COVID recovery era, many people and organizations are no longer distinguishing between office-based, remote or hybrid work. Today, it doesn’t matter where you are located to perform project work. In the twentieth century, the means of production were fixed and immobile. Success used to be defined in terms of scope, scale, and efficiency. “While the twentieth century was the century of industrial conglomerates, the twenty-first century is the century of ideas.”1 In the modern era, the means of production are mobile. Any heavy lifting or manual work executed by a knowledge worker is taken care of using affordable, powerful cloud-based computing. An organization’s competitive advantage now largely rests in it’s ability to communicate effectively, creatively problem solve, and efficiently act on new insight.
In my previous blog post, Creating Personal Time Management Techniques,2 we contemplated ancient wisdom rooted in knowing yourself and others. The Global Curiosity Institute3 advocates this and more. They offer a test to better understand your curiosity profile across three dimensions:
- Intrapersonal curiosity (ourselves)
- Interpersonal curiosity (others)
- Cognitive curiosity (the world at-large)
Intelligent collaboration and risk management strategies require us, among other things, to perceive relationships, learn quickly and act upon relevant information.4 5 Modern, online collaborative software platforms are perfect for realizing this strategy.
In an earlier blog post describing cognitive blind spots, we acknowledged that cognitive biases often mean that “the biggest risk is you.”6 An organizational culture that promotes psychological safety, encourages the workforce to question the status quo and learn, will benefit from teams that are more communicative, cooperative, agile and, arguably, content. During a period of voluntary worker attrition, a policy and culture of collaboration needs to be an integral part of any modern organization’s attraction and retention strategy.7
Additionally, when we consider these biases, best-in-class project delivery tools such as LiquidPlanner help promote effective communication. Tools that serve to promote collaboration, and a consensus view can help eradicate blind spots. This is true in both the near term and the long-term. In the long run, structured databases promote the consistent capture of relevant data and inherently establish feedback mechanisms for curating reference class data. To be clear, this data can reduce a project team’s assumption to knowledge ratio, facilitate perpetual beta8 (or continual improvement) methodologies and avoid a traditional first time each time approach to project delivery.
While many organizations recognize the benefits of analyzing and establishing budgets in probabilistic or uncertain terms, not all have yet discovered the benefits of reconciling those strategic funding assessments with tactical completion forecasts (also developed and expressed in uncertain or probabilistic terms). LiquidPlanner is one such platform-based tool that allows all team members to pool their insight, verify, corroborate, or reconcile team assessments and then employ a best-in-class Monte Carlo simulation to generate Predictive Insights, which today, remains a unique feature when compared with other project management software tools.
To reiterate, forecasting should never be seen as a one and done exercise. A better approach embraces Bayesian reasoning or frequent updates that utilize the latest information available. LiquidPlanner enables this approach by allowing teams to reiterate and refresh their completion forecast date ranges (i.e., probability distributions) as new information emerges. In turn, better communication, better collaboration, and increased awareness helps enhance the chances of project success.
In the post-COVID era, there is no shortage of virtual interaction technology available to help companies create their competitive advantage. However, waste occurs when tools do not enable team engagement in a way that improves their productivity. Is your project team empowered to deliver your project and business commitments using best-in-class tools?
If you have not tried it already, LiquidPlanner offers “value-creating collaboration”9 by helping teams better incorporate uncertainty into their project plans, communicate revised forecasts and more effectively navigate changing priorities and uncertainty, in the face of both known and emerging risk.
About the Author
With more than 20 years’ professional experience, James Arrow has played a key role in successfully delivering critical capital assets, in a variety of locations, around the world. Having had the opportunity to work with diverse teams across the globe, James is well-versed on project best practices and applies exceptional communication skills to lead multi-disciplinary teams. An effective hands-on team-player, James is also an acclaimed writer and speaker on topics concerning project risk management, data analytics, data science, including digital disruption in the engineering and construction sector. In recent years, on several occasions, James has been formally recognized by his peers for his contributions to the profession.
- van Hooydonk, Stefaan. The Workplace Curiosity Manifesto: How Curiosity Helps Individuals and Workspaces Thrive in Transformational Times. Potomac, MD, New Degree Press, 7 May 2022.
- Arrow, James. “Creating Personal Time Management Techniques.” LiquidPlanner, 23 June 2022, www.liquidplanner.com/blog/creating-personal-time-management-techniques/. Accessed 26 June 2022.
- Arrow, J., “Risk.845 Risk Intelligence and Measuring Excellence in Project Risk Management”, AACE International 2012.
- T. Hulett Ph.D. FACCE & J. Arrow DRMP FRICS, “Principles for Quantitative Risk Management”, in AACE International Technical Paper, Morgantown, WV, 2022.
- Flyvbjerg et al, “Five Things You Should Know about Cost Overrun,” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, vol. 118, pp. 174‐190, 2018.
- Arrow, James. “3 Ways to Manage Your Team Members and Resources Most Effectively.” LiquidPlanner, 2 May 2022, www.liquidplanner.com/blog/3-ways-to-manage-your-team-members-and-resources-most-effectively/. Accessed 26 June 2022.
- E. Tetlock and D. Gardner, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2015.
- De Smet, Aaron, et al. “If We’re so Busy, Why Isn’t Anything Getting Done?” www.mckinsey.com, 10 Jan. 2022, www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/if-were-all-so-busy-why-isnt-anything-getting-done. Accessed 26 June 2022.