Monday, July 5, 2010

020 PMMDb

Be Helpful, Not Hurtful
Project Management Methodology Database PMMDb
What is a Project Management Methodology Database or PMMDb?  It is essentially reverse engineering your way of business.  A PMMDb takes apart everything that you do & asks why.  Every part of your Business the PMMDb touches increases efficiency enough to make it a worthwhile investment!
I do not recommend creating your own PMMDb.  Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.
A PMMDb is a very beautiful thing!  At first as a Supervisor, Manager or a Project Manager, it just seems like endless electronic forms to fill out every time you start a new project.  It does not take long to see the rewards.  The reason the forms are so detailed is to figure out exactly who should be involved with the project.  Every department involved with a Project, is automatically contacted when they should be.
An existing Company lets call it, “BHNH”, will have the right people providing input to curtail the software to BHNH specific wants & needs.  By using an outside source that has a similar template to run off of, they will have a time tested so close to perfect model brought to the drawing board.  The Database Co. lets call it, “MBDC”, will start off with things that would have taken BHNH years to think of if ever.
By involving all departments from the beginning, something as simple as the Database Fields being in the same order can save a lot of money.  For example Name, Date Of Hire, Date Of Birth, Social Security Number & Address Fields or places to store & access data.  Most departments will have need for this information.  If they are not involved from the beginning, something as simple as the order of the information can create extra work.  If the electronic forms are not designed to have the questions in the same order, we then have to pay a programmer to communicate between the databases & the form to send the information to the database in the order needed.
This also can create problems later on.  When there is a 'minor change', this task will probably need to be repeated.  The problem will probably only be noticed after there is an actual problem with the data.  The problem with the data will also need to be addressed, perhaps line-by-line.  Even if there is no change, there will probably be some form of problem just because the data is not being shared in a logical order.  What if the programmer that fixed the problem no longer works with us?  How long will it take to find that one line of code to switch the order of the fields?  Will they ever find the problem?
It is much easier to make these changes within an existing corporation saying that they are coming from an outside source thereby removing some of the “blame” for those resistant to change.  Again remembering the key here is educating your employees & being as honest & up front throughout the whole process.  Eliminate the fear before it exists & or has time to grow.  Replace the fear with an abundance of opportunities for advancement.  Share the opportunities for advancement as soon as they are known.  Give people more opportunities to learn more, be more & earn more.  The more people choose to be a part of the change, the less need to layoff workers, ideally no one.  After all you were making a profit with that employee when you were running inefficiently.  Wouldn’t it make sense to take this time to expand & retrain that same loyal employee?
Creating a PMMDb is like an Efficiency Expert going through all that a Company does.  Everyone keeps track of what he or she does & how long it takes, for about 3 months.   As everyone is tracking their time, they must try to remember any tasks that are performed infrequently, annually & bi-annually tasks for example.
Many times you will see the need to determine who should make a certain decision.  We see cases were expert opinions vary & conflict.  We ask another employee, maybe even a couple more.  Then ask the Supervisor.  The Supervisor asks the Manager.  The Manager determines the Chain of Command. Whose word trumps whose?  Messages are left & eventually returned.  Sometimes there is a lot of work going on to answer a question.  Rather than saving the work that was done & creating a clear path, we create the need to do the work again.  In an office setting I have noticed a scary number of people say in some form or another.  “I don’t know why, I was just told to do it that way.”  In most organizations there is a very high probability that person will train their replacement.  This person will probably modify some tasks for efficiency.  You cannot alter a task if you do not understand why it is done.  Yet somehow that task will probably be modified.  In training that task, the lack of importance will be passed on.  If there is a big Network change, not knowing how or why something is done will probably have adverse effects that will not be discovered until it is too late.  Then again maybe nothing will happen but why risk it.  The Database will eliminate unnecessary tasks & at the same time show a clear path as to why tasks need to be completed.
I worked for a National Retail Chain, in their Corporate Offices Retail Education & Training Department.  I was just about to create a Store List but there were over 300 stores.  I figured that someone must have an accurate Store List on the Shared Drive.  So I typed in "Store List" into the Shared Drive & about 20 pages came up.  I opened up about 50 of these Store Lists & only 1 was accurate.  It was the person who was in charge of Stores Opening & Closing.  I made that persons list the list everyone refers too.  In other words, we were paying at least 200 people to do the same task inaccurately!  The database ensures that this does not happen!
I have seen Departments working on the same project without knowing that another Department is working on the same thing or intentionally competing against each other.  The Database will ensure that they are always working together.  The Database will ensure that the end result is far superior with far less money spent.  I know it is impossible to keep track of all these conflicting things within an Organization.  A PMMDb is designed to do all of this in line with the Companies Mission Statement & Corporate Policies.  A PMMDb will spell out step-by-step instructions on any given task after it is recorded right once!  I see no point in reinventing the wheel each & every time.  We need to store much more information on Shared Centralized Databases.  I look at a computer as an employee.  If I had an employee that was capable of what it is capable of doing & does as little as it does in comparison, I would probably end up firing someone!
Here is another beautiful part of the Database.  Management meets once a month discussing their projects.  These meetings are essentially like having Efficiency Experts go through the Company every month!  They see if the Database missed any connections between projects & or Departments that should be involved that are not or in some thinking outside of the box way can apply.
Without a PMMDb typically how the system works is putting out the fires that are created without a clear path.  They are way too reactive.  Even when proactive, they are still only reactive.  For example, when work is created on the computer & saved in a Database, the money goes much further.  When they pay an employee to do a task & that task is not saved or shared, they are wasting money.  There is a high probability that they will once again pay someone to do that same task again & again & so on.  Each time you do it the old way your competitor gains 2 steps.
Typically anytime you mention a Centralized Database with Confidential Data, Management freaks out & says no for Legal reasons.  Well I do not blame them, the way the Computer Networks are usually set up they are right.  But if to get on the computer you had to type in a user name & password specific to you, then it can be done.  Once you log in, your desktop is your personal desktop no matter which computer in the network you log onto.  Your access is specific to your job code & any exceptions you may have.
Anytime information needs any form of data updated the person is contacted with ample time to complete the task.  The beauty of this is it gives you a much more accurate picture of manpower actually needed.  These numbers can automatically be sent into budgeting forms.  It’s less about what the computer can do & more about what we tell it to do.
I believe a PMMDb is exactly what our President is searching for but he just doesn't know it yet.  Cross the board PMMDb within every Department of the Government would save our Budget!  More importantly, I believe that it would create Sustainable Government.  As a Manager your pay is a direct reflection of how many people you manage what they make & what they do.  So if one of your employees comes up with a way to decrease the need for money in your department, you as a Manager could loose money or have less experience on your Resume.  If you do not spend your entire budget, you will not get that money next year.  The Database will ensure that the right people are making the important decisions for the right reasons.  When something pays attention to everything, it is hard to hide anything!
I have seen the “just for now product” last way too long in Business & Government.  You invest so much money that it is not cost effective to replace it without getting some use out of it.  Then everyone is trained on that way of doing things it will be expensive to retrain.  There are always people that are resistant to change sometimes they even end up being in charge.  Not directing this at anyone here just speaking generally.  If it is a computer system, then there is the logistics of transferring all of the data seamlessly.
Why even consider any “just for now product”?  Why start with something you know will eventually be replaced?  The future begins when we decide it does.  Then why not truly begin with no end in mind?  Wouldn’t that be the definition of sustainability?  If I had my way a PMMDb Co would finish our Business Plan.  Rather than waiting for Human Error, Common foreseeable problems or even uncommon problems, start with the most efficient model.  I plan to start up & upgrade several Small & Large Green Businesses.  Each Business will have a PMMDB to ensure efficiency & success of the winner & “Be Helpful, Not Hurtful”.
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