Lean IT has complicated the definition of a “project” somewhat.
It was already getting a bit awkward to stick strictly to the PMBoK or PRINCE2 ideas of project management and their world definition and scope when considering the long time miserable track record for project success, with or without using any of these methods.
Thoughts could be, and was, developed on how to improve the likelihood that a project would end successfully: wrapping the projects into programs, which again would be wrapped into portfolios, all in all increasing the bureaucracy – and that would solve the problems?!
Some project managers would instead go for the idea of playing tough by defining a very narrow project scope, which would definitely fit into the constraints given by time and economy. That could make the project itself a defined success but with a close to useless result.
Other thoughts were made on how to treat the task a bit different, more like a change process, according to common change management ideas. This would allow for more flexibility, less bureaucracy, but it would not always deal properly with the complexity of the task, leaving many details undefined and possibly forgotten.
A better P
But Lean IT, as described by Steve Bell in his book “Run Grow Transform”, adds another paradigm to the list – product management. Instead of running traditional projects, the efforts should be first value based, turned into product based and then managed using product management principles.
So what we have to discuss now is “P,C or P + maybe P&P” Management, the letters meaning Project, Change, Product, Program and Portfolio. But it is an important discussion to have, trying to find out when to use one or the other letter and why. The goal should be to improve the track record to something better than the maybe 70% failures, we see today.
Oh yes, there is also an A – for Agile. I’ll get back to that.