For this special 40th edition of Strefa PMI, I want to present a different approach to project management. So, when I was looking for a topic for this article, I thought I would ask ChatGPT for some help. In response to the question: “What are the topics project management experts are searching for?” in just in few minutes ChatGPT had produced 10 ideas.
The first two of them are:
- Advanced project management techniques and methodologies, such as hybrid approaches to Agile and Waterfall.
- Emerging tools and technologies in project management, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Being both a project manager and an entrepreneur I have decided to share the entrepreneurial project management approach. This approach is based on the concept of effectuation and was described in the article Effectual Project Management: Thinking Like an Expert Entrepreneur by Laura Mathiaszyk, Christine Volkmann and Stuart Read, published in PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue III – March 2019.
Before we move to the entrepreneurial approach, let’s define the most common project management approaches. The definitions come from PMI® Authorized PMP® Exam Prep Course materials.
Predictive (aka Plan-driven or traditional waterfall) – the established and highly reliable approach to project management where, as much as possible, the project needs, requirements, and constraints are understood at the beginning of the project, and plans are developed accordingly.
Adaptive – this encompasses a range of iterative, incremental, and agile approaches where the team works collaboratively with the customer to determine the project needs, quickly building outputs based on those assumptions, getting feedback, and continuing forward or adapting as much as needed.
Hybrid – a third option is to incorporate components of both approaches and create a tailored development approach. According to PMI® research most projects are hybrids.
Effectuation is a concept in entrepreneurship that refers to the approach of starting with the resources you have available and then creating opportunities, rather than first defining the opportunity and then seeking out the necessary resources. This approach is based on the idea that entrepreneurs can shape their future by using their existing resources and skills to bring their ideas to life. It emphasizes the importance of taking action, being resourceful, and building partnerships in order to turn ideas into successful ventures.
The principles of effectuation
The principles of effectuation are a set of guidelines for entrepreneurs to follow when starting a new venture. These principles include:
- Start with what you have and who you know. Use the resources and skills you already have available to begin creating your venture.
- Co-create the future. Work with partners and customers to shape the future of your endeavour.
- Embrace uncertainty. Recognize that the future is uncertain and be flexible enough to adapt to changes.
- Focus on affordable loss. Consider the worst-case scenario and what you can afford to lose, rather than trying to minimize risk.
- Build relationships. Develop partnerships with others to increase your chances of success.
- Seek out new opportunities. Be open to new opportunities and look for ways to turn them into viable projects.
- Be resourceful. Be creative and resourceful in finding ways to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.
- Take action. Take small, concrete steps towards your goal, rather than waiting for the perfect opportunity.
In effectual project management, the project manager and team focus on identifying and pursuing opportunities rather than following a predetermined plan. This approach involves actively building and shaping the project as it progresses, rather than trying to control every aspect of it. Effectuation contrasts with causal or linear processes that build on prediction, goal-setting, and forecasting.
AgilePMO case study – Exam Practice Simulator
Step 1: Who are we? What do we know or have? Who do we know?
As a PMI Authorized Training Partner we have access to the PMP cloned questions database, although this is not very useful during the course due to the format. Additionally, through teaching PMP for 10 years we have developed a lot of Word and Excel documents with certification questions. We know programmers and project management practitioners, and also have access to people who are willing to support our initiatives in exchange for mentoring and the opportunity to gain project or Scrum experience.
Step 2: Possible goal. What can we do?
After researching the existing solutions for creating the quiz format, such as Kahoot or Quizlet, we decided to build our own engine with the support of a programmer from our community. We agreed to upload all of the cloned PMP questions as a start and create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to be used as a part of the PMP prep course.
Step 3: Interact with people we know
Apart from the programmer who offered support for sharing the future profit if we decide to go to the wider market in the future, we engaged the participants of Agile in practice training to create the product vision and a first version of the backlog.
Step 4: Stakeholders commitment
All stakeholders committed to continue with developing the simulator based on the results of the Agile in practice session.
Step 5: New means / New goal
When PMI® introduced the PMP Study Hall, this impacted the need for our PMP product, so we decided to include other certification exams instead of focusing only on PMP/CAPM as it was defined at the beginning.
Step 6: Developing product using Scrum framework
As a part of the on-the-job training initiative, we set up a team and were developing the product iteratively and incrementally.
Five takeaways from the Simulator project
- Trust! One of our key values is friendship – with both clients and partners. Friendship requires trust. Without trust, there is no collaboration and this is a “must have” in the entrepreneurial approach – see Attitude toward outsiders in Table 1. Building and maintaining trust is the most difficult aspect in low trust cultures like Poland, where only 23% of us trust each other.
- Embracing uncertainty and being adaptable. The team was comfortable with uncertainty and was willing to adapt to changing circumstances. Example: introducing PMP Study Hall.
- Focusing on opportunities.Rather than following a predetermined plan, we identify and pursue opportunities as they arise. Examples: see point 2 and additionally participants of PMP prep course joining the project as a part of on-the-job training, willing to contribute to creating exam questions as a part of their preparation time.
- Building and shaping the project. We are actively shaping the project as it progresses, rather than trying to control every aspect of it – see examples from point 2 and 3.
- Collaborating with stakeholders. We were and still are seeking and working closely with stakeholders to identify and pursue additional opportunities and to adapt to the changing project environment. Example: participants of our courses, including on-the-job training, developers we know, etc.
[ENG] Project management, agile and teal passionate with over 20 years of experience in global projects and programs in various sectors and industries. Agile coach, mentor, business trainer and volunteer. She specializes in transitions and transformations, combining traditional and agile approaches. AgilePMO Founder, Kozminski University Program Director, creator of innovative training programs and business solutions in the field of managing and leading projects, teams and organisations such as Transition Manager Academy, and co-founder of the Agile Women Leadership community (Zwinna Liderka) and Agile Leadership Academy. She has been awarded “Strong Women in IT 2019” and “Strong Women in IT 2021 – Global Edition.
[PL] Pasjonatka zarządzania projektami z ponad 20-letnim doświadczeniem w globalnych projektach i programach w różnych sektorach i branżach. Ambasadorka zwinności i turkusu, mentorka, trenerka biznesu i społeczniczka. Specjalizuje się w tranzycjach i transformacjach, łącząc w nich podejścia tradycyjne i zwinne. Właścicielka AgilePMO, koordynatorka merytoryczna Akademii Leona Koźmińskiego, twórczyni innowacyjnych programów szkoleniowych i rozwiązań biznesowych z zakresu zarządzania projektami, zespołami i organizacjami oraz przywództwa takich jak Akademia Transition Managera oraz współtwórczyni Akademii Zwinnej Liderki, Akademii Zwinnego Przywództwa. Wyróżniona tytułem „Strong Women in IT 2019” oraz „Strong Women in IT 2021 – Global Edition”.