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Principles use in Projects

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  • Principles use in Projects

    Hello:
    Any guidance on use of principles in projects?
    The best I have for it: the project's deadline, budget dollars, qualifications of the outcome, e.g., for a project to complete an intellectual property license, principles include that the license be exclusive, that it give the company control over branding, that up-front payments amount to less than 20% of the total, that windfall royalties be covered, etc.
    regards,
    PY

  • #2
    Depends on the project, doesn't it?

    I have a project to catalogue my music into certain playlists. I don't need to specify budget dollars for that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Principles - use in projects

      The usefulness of principles lies in their universality. A useful outcome for this thread would be a list of principles we could all agree, apply to all projects. Any time we set up a project, we could quickly check to make sure we have observed the principles. This should result in better projects for everyone.

      A good test for a principle is to simply ask the question "why?" repeatedly and see the direction it takes you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting! Okay, here are all the Projects that aren't part of my fulltime job. What principles do they share?

        Categorize music by mood
        Go out on five dates this month
        Close JVDS account
        Develop Scholarly Database working prototype
        Draw thirty heads from various angles, especially profiles
        Read through both Japanese course books
        Sign up for ING Direct checking account
        Download all remaining files from {URL redacted}

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Brent View Post
          Interesting! Okay, here are all the Projects that aren't part of my fulltime job. What principles do they share?

          Categorize music by mood
          Go out on five dates this month
          Close JVDS account
          Develop Scholarly Database working prototype
          Draw thirty heads from various angles, especially profiles
          Read through both Japanese course books
          Sign up for ING Direct checking account
          Download all remaining files from {URL redacted}
          I'd agree Brent. Why should it matter if these projects share or don't share principles? I think principles are an intuitive part of project planning--you don't always have to think through them mechanically.

          "Go out on five dates per month." You probably have a lot of ideas about the type of individual your interested in getting to know, what constitutes a good date, etc. These are going to be unique to you and to this project.

          "Sign up for ING Direct Checking Account." You probably have certain ideas about how you want your checking account to function, what type of balance you should keep in it, etc. Likewise, you probably have some reasons/principles for choosing an online banking account (ease of use, fees, etc.).

          Re: Tony's post. There's no science of principles. I don't think that there is a list of principles that all of us could agree on. We might, of course, have certain moral principles that should come into play on all our projects. For instance, I don't want to hurt or take advantage of anyone; I want to spend my time and money responsibly; etc. But beyond that, principles are going to be utterly unique.
          Last edited by madalu; 04-14-2007, 08:56 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Principles - use in projects

            Originally posted by Brent View Post
            Interesting! Okay, here are all the Projects that aren't part of my fulltime job. What principles do they share?

            Categorize music by mood
            Go out on five dates this month
            Close JVDS account
            Develop Scholarly Database working prototype
            Draw thirty heads from various angles, especially profiles
            Read through both Japanese course books
            Sign up for ING Direct checking account
            Download all remaining files from {URL redacted}
            Thanks for the challenge Brent: Since our objective is to improve our project management, we should should not simply state what principles your projects share but also consider what principles your projects "should" share, just in case they could be improved by using principles. On this basis consider some principles of goal setting:

            Principle One: Goals should be specific outcomes not activities.
            Other goal setting principles we could consider for projects:
            Goals should have a quantitative and qualitative measure of success.
            Goals should be time bound.
            Goals should have the best measures (metrics) for their success.
            Goals should have the "right" amount of stretch.
            Goals should be viewed from different perspectives.

            So let us look at each of your projects from this set of principles:
            Categorize music by mood
            -outcome yes (but only just)
            -time bound: no (i.e. by the end of the month)
            -measure of success: no (i.e. so that I can..."you complete the objective saying why you want to categorize music")
            -right amount of stretch: not much (look for a new goal that comes from the project such as learning something new about moods or categories)
            -viewed from different perspectives: no (how would your spouce see this project? -how can we improve this project using your spouce's perspective?)

            I have just looked at one of your projects using one (set) of principles. There should be several other principles we can use to assess projects.

            Over to you Brent!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by madalu View Post
              I'd agree Brent. Why should it matter if these projects share or don't share principles? I think principles are an intuitive part of project planning--you don't always have to think through them mechanically.

              "Go out on five dates per month." You probably have a lot of ideas about the type of individual your interested in getting to know, what constitutes a good date, etc. These are going to be unique to you and to this project.

              "Sign up for ING Direct Checking Account." You probably have certain ideas about how you want your checking account to function, what type of balance you should keep in it, etc. Likewise, you probably have some reasons/principles for choosing an online banking account (ease of use, fees, etc.).

              Re: Tony's post. There's no science of principles. I don't think that there is a list of principles that all of us could agree on. We might, of course, have certain moral principles that should come into play on all our projects. For instance, I don't want to hurt or take advantage of anyone; I want to spend my time and money responsibly; etc. But beyond that, principles are going to be utterly unique.
              --------------------------------------------------------
              Hi Madalu, interesting comments and a nice challenge.
              We can be happy with where we are, or we can choose to do better. If we choose to do better, we might try a positive attitude that looks for things we can use to become better.

              I think principles should eventually become intuitive but to reach that stage may take a lifetime of development. In fact, the reason why we use principles is to short circuit the lifetime of learning by trial and error. For simple things, we can keep everything in our heads. When they get more complex, we need checklists. We could, one day, know the checklist so well we do not need the physical list -we just use our mental list.

              Incidentally one criticism of principles is that they limit your creativity -so thinking outside the box should be one of the principles!

              I have rambled a bit here -but simply put, everything comes from something more general; we define principles as going back along that path until we reach a useful point or perpective to look at other items and compare.

              I hope this helps...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tony Osime View Post
                Thanks for the challenge Brent: Since our objective is to improve our project management, we should should not simply state what principles your projects share but also consider what principles your projects "should" share, just in case they could be improved by using principles.
                Seems to me that this is applying an external set of theoretical principles to an existing reality. Wouldn't it be better to extract principles from reality? Why do you think that these principles should apply to any given set of projects?

                On this basis consider some principles of goal setting:

                Principle One: Goals should be specific outcomes not activities.
                Other goal setting principles we could consider for projects:
                Goals should have a quantitative and qualitative measure of success.
                Goals should be time bound.
                Goals should have the best measures (metrics) for their success.
                Goals should have the "right" amount of stretch.
                Goals should be viewed from different perspectives.
                Not to be combative, but could you please explain, for each of the above principles, why you chose them?

                For example, let's take the project, "Categorize music by color." I have no need to do that by any given date. It's a huge project anyway; I have about 2,600 songs to categorize. I don't know how long it will take. I don't need any sense of urgency. What would I gain by setting a deadline?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Deadline helps to get it done.

                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  What would I gain by setting a deadline?
                  Dealine is a negotiated agreement with yourself and forces you to get it done. If it has no deadline it is Someday/Maybe. With deadline it becomes active project.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                    Dealine is a negotiated agreement with yourself and forces you to get it done. If it has no deadline it is Someday/Maybe. With deadline it becomes active project.
                    Heh. No offense meant at all, but who is this "you," Kemosabe? Deadlines don't force me to get anything done. It's just a date; it has no force.

                    But I don't want to get into too much of a refutation of this here, as I fear derailing this thread. I'm very interested to read Tony's reply.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Principles - use in projects

                      Originally posted by Brent View Post
                      Seems to me that this is applying an external set of theoretical principles to an existing reality. Wouldn't it be better to extract principles from reality? Why do you think that these principles should apply to any given set of projects?



                      Not to be combative, but could you please explain, for each of the above principles, why you chose them?

                      For example, let's take the project, "Categorize music by color." I have no need to do that by any given date. It's a huge project anyway; I have about 2,600 songs to categorize. I don't know how long it will take. I don't need any sense of urgency. What would I gain by setting a deadline?
                      Yes, you are partially right - I am applying a set of principles. Are they external? It depends on how you categorize them. Are they theoretical? It depends on your experience. The principles I am applying here came from reality and have been personally tested with my projetcs.

                      The reason I chose the principles is that they have worked for me and for others. I deliver training courses on subjects such as leadership and teambuilding. In one of my exercises I ask participants to apply a set of principles to their best results and their worst results. In about 99% of the time, most of the principles applied to their best results and were not applied to their worst resuts. As there were a number of principles (about 12) and very different situations, not all principles applied in every situation. But as a set, we were looking at over 90% effectiveness. I have done this exercise with hundreds of people.

                      To use your deadline case: I might use the principle that 90% of projects will be more successful if they were time bound. By applying a deadline, you bring into focus other aspects of your project that you can manipulate in a creative way to achieve your superior results.

                      If we applied the principle of creative tension (Setting targets that stretch us) we might choose a deadline that needs some special effort or creativity on our part. We might ask some friends (on the internet?) if they have done this same activity in an unusal way. This could lead to a new way we had not thought of that allows us to complete the task much faster.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Self-imposed deadlines do force me to get things done.

                        Originally posted by Brent View Post
                        Deadlines don't force me to get anything done. It's just a date; it has no force.
                        I do not agree. Every agreement made with myself and not broken is an element of my self-esteem building and maintenance process. Dealine is one form of such agreement. Since I prefer to think that "I am the man who keeps promises", self-imposed deadlines do force me to get things done. For me it is an essential part of my GTD implementation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tony Osime View Post
                          Yes, you are partially right - I am applying a set of principles. Are they external? It depends on how you categorize them. Are they theoretical? It depends on your experience. The principles I am applying here came from reality and have been personally tested with my projetcs.

                          The reason I chose the principles is that they have worked for me and for others. I deliver training courses on subjects such as leadership and teambuilding. In one of my exercises I ask participants to apply a set of principles to their best results and their worst results. In about 99% of the time, most of the principles applied to their best results and were not applied to their worst resuts.
                          Forgive the semantic nitpicking, but I think what you're describing there is not so much the application of principles as the observation of attributes. Your participants look at their best and worst projects and see which of them possess the attributes you mention, and from there they presumably take the lesson that crafting a project with those attributes works better than without.

                          To my mind, that sounds similar to the process creating specific, action/verb-based, Next Actions: if they're not specific, they're not really Next Actions, they're sub-projects or goals or whatever.

                          So, in your case, you're describing attributes of a project specification that make the project more likely to succeed. Is that about right?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                            I do not agree. Every agreement made with myself and not broken is an element of my self-esteem building and maintenance process. Dealine is one form of such agreement. Since I prefer to think that "I am the man who keeps promises", self-imposed deadlines do force me to get things done. For me it is an essential part of my GTD implementation.
                            I think I'm with Brent here: deadlines that I set arbitrarily have no force. Let me explain...

                            If I have a project on which other projects depend, or if I have a genuine reason for setting a deadline, I'll set a deadline (kind of). An example might be marketing: I have to do some, and as soon as possible, because I need the money that will (hopefully!) result. So I'll consider that a project of prime urgency.

                            But there are some things on which I'm quite happy pottering, doing a bit here and there, and with no attempt to set a deadline. In these cases, since there's no urgency, I see no need for a deadline.

                            I've found in the past that if I try to impose arbitrary deadlines, I just ignore them. There's a fundamental dishonesty there, for me: I know that there's no real need, either internally or externally, so the deadline doesn't work.

                            Perhaps this is because my work/life fluctuates fairly dramatically, so that items flow into, and out of, the urgent category fairly often. Arbitrary deadlines just make me lose faith in the whole system, so now I only use deadlines for things that really have deadlines. YMMV.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Self-imposed deadlines.

                              Originally posted by unstuffed View Post
                              I think I'm with Brent here: deadlines that I set arbitrarily have no force. Let me explain...
                              So let me explain too.

                              There is no external deadline requirement for "Clean my garage" project. But it is useful for me to set a deadline (for example April 30th, 2007) for this project. This dealine sets a timeframe for this project (as you know every task can take any amount of time that is available).

                              If I will not treat the "Clean my garage" project deadline seriously I would have to come to the conclusion that:
                              - I am not reasonable, or;
                              - I am not honest with myself.

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