The Refractive Thinker® Vol XVIII: Project Management: Strategies to Enhance Workflow and Productivity
RT Vol XVIII: Project Management Foreword
Gratitude: The Pride of Workmanship
Effective business leaders know the secret to success is knowing the importance of relationships as well as achievements of goals. There is no greater pride than in the team coming together to put an astronaut in space. While the astronaut is often the face of the mission, teamwork is the reason for success. The secret lies in the power of team and the combination of aptitude and attitude, as well as personal dedication. The passion, talent and commitment of each team member has made all the difference for us at the Kennedy Space Center. . . .
Vol XVIII: Ch. 1: New and Emerging Trends in Project Management
The 21st Century is an exciting time for organizations as new and emerging project management trends and tools can positively impact project delivery. The focus of this chapter is how organizations and companies continue to change and adapt with the emergence of new technologies, procedures, and processes that aid project managers (PMs) in the delivery of projects with challenges that exist for PMs in using new and emerging tools and trends. Faster project delivery, with less delays and higher quality, while maintaining budget and organizational engagement is important in industry.
Project management contributes to the success of an organization, but project failures gain the most attention (Allen, Alleyne, Farmer, McRae, & Turner, 2014). Humans program artificial intelligence (AI) in computers by applying algorithms (Polli, 2019). Project management software is becoming complex, allowing PMs to rely on computer results instead of the meticulous pen and paper calculations. Once programmed, computers ensure accurate and current data. Advanced AI increases revenue, improves productivity, and saves time; however, employees are concerned that the use of AI involves reduction or elimination of their positions in organizations.
Communication between project management team members is more important than documentation (Gablas, Ruzicky, & Ondrouchova, 2018). The waterfall approach to project management requires communication and the interaction space needs to be supportive (Yunus & Ernawati, 2018). By using emerging technology and automation, teams obtain real time status updates, global engagement, and collaboration, while minimizing project delays and issues. These improvements allow PMs sufficient time to engage in strategic planning and engage with their stakeholders. This paper takes a refractive thinking approach to a review of literature crucial to understanding new and emerging trends and tools in project management and how they aid PMs in delivery of projects faster, on budget, and with a high level of team engagement and quality.
Vol XVIII: Project Management Ch.2: Successful Project Management Strategies at Health Care Organizations
The health care industry is facing tremendous challenges, such as escalating health care costs, decreasing reimbursement, changes in legislation, and other factors that are causing high project failure rates and billions of wasted dollars each year. The complex interplay among stakeholders of the health care industry, the complex nature of projects within health care, and the challenges associated with electronic health records might contribute to the lack of project success. Some health care business leaders experience poor project performance due to a lack of strategies to manage projects successfully, resulting in wasted resources, and therefore a loss in profitability. Successful project managers are ones that finish projects on time, on budget, and that meet the requirements listed in the project charter. In this chapter of the Refractive Thinker, I present an overview of the successful project management strategies at health care organizations. I also shared the finding from 10 qualitative interviews that I conducted with ten leaders from a health care organization in Dallas, Texas. The findings from the data analysis revealed that health care leaders could improve their project success by improving their effective communication skills, giving attention to flexibility, and promoting team support and best practices.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 3: Project Management’s Considerations to Address Enterprise-wide Cyberthreats
Enterprises leverage prospective opportunities by new technologies through automating cognitive tasks, algorithms, big-data, and artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit administrative features, by implementing disruptive-technologies, cybersecurity, and AI to pretrain and classify networks’ traffic to protect vulnerabilities against adversaries and many forms of frauds, social engineering threats, and incidents. Organizations’ leaders use expert systems’ to emulate AI’s automated preventive technologies, helping and improving cooperation on data for security surveillance, monitoring risks of threats to classify cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Perspectives and risk intelligence could help organizations innovate cost-effective procedures in detecting automated threats, and implementation of security for private and protected assets. Statistics and prediction of future events, neuroscience, deep-learning tactics, and AI could benefit project managements’ preemptive efforts to execute, craft projects’ rigors, and remedy supply-chain’s vulnerabilities in reducing or preventing attacks. The approaches for management of projects with business and information technology systems development scope, might require various strategies in incorporating business intelligence dashboards to address enterprise-wide cyberthreats. Comparing different strategies can give managers an opportunity to evaluate and create the best planning strategies to fit businesses and ensure success. The ability to embed and extend content to drive, might improve adoption of planning tools and benefit organizations from strategies by improving efficiency within the company, the understanding of the importance of education and experience, and single platforms to combine real-time events, to raise the level of productivity and security. Some of the business intelligence strategies include dashboards such as IBM statistical practices for social science (SPSS) and Dynatrace, offering application performance management (APM), artificial intelligence for operations (AIOps), cloud infrastructure monitoring, and digital experience management (DEM), encompassing business plans, technology concepts, and education.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 4: Preventing Wastes of Project Costs and Schedules Using Purposeful Knowledge Management
As owners improve their businesses and increase, the project teams must ensure a concerted effort of purposeful knowledge management between the teams. The discussion of purposeful knowledge management in this chapter includes sharing of lessons-learned and after-action reports as well as the participation in communities of practice. The discussion also supports communication between the Project Management Office, the verticals of an organization, and the various project teams. This chapter includes methods of knowledge management within the organization to support the prevention of cost and schedule waste. This chapter addressed the Project Management Institute’s® Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK®) knowledge management practices for each phase of a projects and how project managers should operate to share information, specifically, lessons learned. Each project phase has questions for organizations and their project teams to consider. Finally, provided are the process theory of knowledge accumulation, earned value management as oversight of project costs and schedules, methods of knowledge sharing and transfer, and recommendations for organizations and their project teams to prevent knowledge loss.
Vol XVIII: Ch.5: Project Solutions: Managing the Remote Pieces of Offshoring and Onshoring
Offshoring remains one of the most debated topics of economic policy since 1986. Employment debates focus on the drivers of offshoring and the overreaching negative effects of offshoring on the home countries of multinational enterprises. Critics of offshoring see offshoring as a potential threat to the economies of advanced countries, and a threat to long-term competitiveness and innovative capacities of advanced countries. Critics also blame offshoring for the weakening of the manufacturing industry, erosion of domestic capabilities of advanced countries, as well as job losses.
In contrast, proponents of offshoring, see offshoring as a source of competitive advantage, as a useful tool to achieve productivity and cost-savings, and as a useful tool for reorganization. Current events remain unclear whether unbiased evidence exists to support the view that offshoring is a threat to the economies of advanced countries and a threat to long-term competitiveness and innovative capacities of advanced countries. Similarly, arguments remain unclear whether there is unbiased evidence to support the pro-offshoring view that offshoring practices should be continued for reasons discussed here. These raging debates in the media and elsewhere continue to influence research on the topic of offshoring in relation to its impacts and drivers. However, mixed results reported in this study increase difficulty for policy makers to determine which way to go: advocate for offshoring or dismiss altogether. The author builds on the existing body of knowledge and provides a perspective that helps clear confusion about the drivers of offshoring by taking the business and psychology perspectives. The book further includes review of the results of studies on the effects of offshoring to highlight keynote results in relation to the effects of offshoring. The aim is to dispel any myth not supported by evidence regarding the potential negative effects of offshoring.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 6: Care Coordination Models in Accountable Care Organizations
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced accountable care organizations (ACOs) as a promising model for enhancing population health, improving patient care, and reducing unnecessary costs through collaboration and coordination among independent providers. ACO concept envisions a transformation in the way health care is organized across the continuum. It represents a rational system of care financing and delivery that unites purchasers, payers, providers, and patients in a system that can evolve and improve. Project management approaches for coordination within each and between ACO member organizations have been key for the ACO model success. Through participation in an ACO, independent physician practices gain access to customizable care management services and tools, innovations, and better reimbursement payments. Care historically has been fragmented, but now managers are strengthening coordination because of payment changes that reward coordinated care. The changes include adjustments in processes of care, new reporting systems, staff competencies, cultural change, and analytics. ACOs improve with experience; and the longer they participate in the program, the more likely they to manage costs effectively and earn shared savings. Given the continued need to improve the healthcare system and uncertainty around health policy, care coordination models that support the transition from volume to value such as in ACOs will likely be continue to be important for future policy agendas.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 7 : Enhancing Group Dynamics and Project Success Through Situational Leadership Lens
When professional sports teams experience a mediocre season, the logical outcome is a change in leadership. A new coach will help move the teams back on the winning track, often by returning to the basics, which is the foundational formula for professional winning. Returning to the basics requires unlearning and forgoing all antiquated styles or tactics, so that proper leadership techniques, and methods, can flourish. The winning principle becomes compelling for the team players as well as the coaching staff. The same is no less accurate for project management teams. Focusing on the core leadership models that motivate and inclusively engage teams are pivotal to successful group dynamics and project realization, a 21st-century business priority. Through refractive thinking, the information in this chapter underscores foundational insights into the project management landscape through a flexible lens and situationally appropriate premise of leadership. Subsequent information emphasizes how project success begins with highly skilled leaders who can strategically balance relationship and task-oriented management competencies for optimal group performance.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 8: Help Wanted: Strategies for Hiring Your Perfect Project Manager
A project manager should be assigned to a project immediately, preferably during the creation of the project charter. The hiring manager and business leader must first understand what role the project manager will fulfill: project manager, project expeditor, or project coordinator to determine the required skill set needed to list in the job posting. Next, the length of the position needs to be determined: permanent or temporary. If temporary, the hiring manager should consider the time necessary to complete the project and if the new hire would be a temporary employee or consultant. Determining project success will help the hiring manager identify skills required; keeping in mind age is not a factor. Many company leaders and employees use terminology that pertains to unique business strategies and processes. The hiring manager will need to translate these unique terms to standard terminology used in project management, preferably the PMBOK Guide by the PMI. Listing a required skil lset using PMBOK Guide terminology could help eliminate people applying for the position that does not meet these qualifications. The hiring manager should also consider what knowledge areas are needed to complete a project. Communication and interpersonal skills were proven more important than certification. A person can seek a PMP, CAPM, IPMA, or PRICE2 certification for personal and professional accomplishments. Candidates could demonstrate their actions of running a project in a simulation. Although AI is becoming accessible for identifying candidates that meet the required skills, the hiring manager must ensure the AI algorithms are accurate and will not create unethical decisions. Hiring managers and business leaders should consider the refractive thinking approach to develop strategies to ensure hiring the perfect project manager.
Vol XVIII: Ch. 9: Project Management: The Stark Choice—Projectize or Stagnate
Project management, as widely practiced across the globe, has its uniqueness in different countries, including Nigeria. Business growth continues to be suboptimal across Nigeria because many kinds of projects fail due to (a) inadequate project delivery skills combined with a lack of adherence to standards, (b) increasing migration of skilled labor and experienced project delivery personnel to the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, and (c) inadequate response on the part of government and businesses to respond to skills shortage (now and in the future) by introducing mitigations to combat skill migration practically. In this study, I am applying the refractive thinking approach to explore the possible impact of using project-based working to support business growth in emerging markets in Africa for business sustainability and growth.
Vol XVIII: Ch.10: The Project Management—Impact of Educational Curriculum Design
The goal of this writing was to equivocate these fundamentals of project management and education demonstrating their impact within the educational process of curriculum design and its impact through the achievement of programmatic and course learning objectives. The question of importance for education is how to provide a learner centric focus to ensure that students learn what educators intend to teach to provide a solid degree education to prepare graduates for what they will face in society personally and professionally. Project management i.e., curriculum design provides the tools for analysis through the use of refractive thinking that included the five groups of project management processes of (a) initiating, (b) planning, (c), executing, (d) monitoring and controlling, and (e) closing (PMI, 2020).