Your project has hit a bottleneck, the team is spread too thinly and Gant charts aren't helping. Do you through up your hands in despair? Or pick up a copy of Olav Maassen and Chris Matt's book, Commitment-A Novel About Managing Project Risk? Which option sounds better?
In Commitment, the Real Options model, clients can change their minds without sinking the project. The world presented in Commitment flips conventional understanding about managing project risk from linear, logical sequencing to open up new possibilities adapting to changing circumstances. It's a different way of viewing risk and managing projects in dynamic and reasonably unpredictable situations. Sound good?
Maassen and Matts explain, through a wonderful story line done in graphic form by artist Chris Geary, that there is a tendency to commit too early rather than leaving options open. Decisions concerning resource allocation are made… well… differently. Instead of committing your most valuable experienced players leaving them unavailable as a resource, the logic is that, because, they are the ones who have the most options, you keep them accessible. That way, knowledge transfer is naturally built into how work gets done.
And that is not all. In uncertain decision-making environments Real Options, gives the client and the project team greater flexibility so decisions can be made with greater confidence. Consequently there is greater flexibility in working with the larger more unpredictable events that can derail a project.
While Commitment is an idea born and tested on the project management world of software development, it applies equally well to life, planning a wedding or, my personal favorite, shoes. With project management failure rates at a ridiculously high level, the Real Options flips how you see decision-making, options, and commitment on its head offering a viable alternative to traditional linear, logical approaches which are apparently not working that well in unpredictable situations.
The software development world agrees. The book just won the 2013 U.K. award for the Most Valuable Agile Innovation. Not bad for a business comic book in hard cover.
And a piece of advice. While the digital version makes for portable reading, the hard cover is invaluable as a reference. It'll change how you see your next job offer. . .
Review by Dawna Jones