The courage to do things differently

Dr. Eric Schott describes how projects can serve as a laboratory for new forms of cooperation.

Projects are supposed to lead to new things. Project objectives are generally focused on improvements, changes, innovation. But there is one factor that is frequently underestimated or overlooked: The organization of a single project also offers many opportunities for changes and developments. The manner in which we make projects offers its own innovation potential.

Desire for standards - few changes in the implementation of projects

Why does this even have to be mentioned? At present, most companies are still working on standardizing their project management. And it makes sense: The standardization of PM processes makes it possible to avoid many unnecessary expenses. Standards are very important when it comes to controlling, reporting or even risk management. Recently, there has also been a focus on project-related benefit assessment, as a requirement for good portfolio prioritization: What a project costs, where it is, and what it brings - these factors have to be defined across the board. Projects must always remain integral parts of a portfolio.

Unfortunately this also leads to a situation in which very little in the way of variation and experimenting takes place when projects are implemented. Agile methods are one example in this regard. Agile PM was the last big change in project management. But methods such as SCRUM and others are themselves having a standardizing effect. But it is project management in particular that must be varied and continuously developed as part of an agile process.

Projects as test laboratories

Today, most companies are facing enormous adjustment and realignment tasks, which can only be solved with intensive and innovative collaboration. Projects are the ideal form for piloting new forms of collaboration within a limited scope. Where can this be done? From Campana & Schott's point of view, the following starting points could be tried, varied or piloted in an individual project:

  • Planning techniques
  • Forms of communication
    For example, doing away with e-mails to communicate in the team, instead using a social collaboration environment.
  • Stakeholders
    Early integration of partners, customers or employees from other projects into the local team.
  • Organization
    On a trial basis, organize individual projects like a start-up.  .
  • Project objective
    Specifying the project objective as a "Minimum Viable Product" - what is the fundamental core of the project that must be delivered? (radical requirement engineering, doing away with the typical increase in requirements ...)