Projects are driven by precedent, which is ironic given they are by their very nature about doing something new.
The power or precedence is apparent in:
– the common practices; whether that involves cutting and pasting bits of a previous contract to create a new one or simply using the same templates you always use;
– in the limits of your authority; when risk averse decision-makers require evidence that something has been done before (often whether or not it was successful), rather than authorize a new and untested approach;
– and in the constraints of your thinking as a project manager. All of your rules of thumb (your heuristics) are derived by your experience i.e. your response to what happened to you in the past.
How can you break with precedent when you need to?
Think of it as a version of the popular puzzle, ‘Where’s Wally?’; the task of spotting the distinctive, bobble-hatted figure who is hidden amongst a thousand others in a crowd. Remember that:
- You can only find Wally if you take the time to look for him;
- Once you have found Wally you won’t need to search for him again on that page because your eye can unerringly return to where you know him to be;
- As you work your way through the book of puzzles you will find that gradually you get faster at finding Wally as you start to get your eye in through practice;
- The good news, in terms of Major Projects, is that for your project there is not just the one Wally on the page, placed there by some omniscient project being. Versions of Wally are all over the page because you can take any of the characters and refashion him or her as Wally – you create your own precedents.
Major Projects Association events are our own version of that process; taking the time to look and listen at everything people have done before on their projects and identifying and applying the lessons for your own. The event on 25th February, ‘What Can Our Members Learn from Other Sectors?’ is a perfect case in point.
There are still places available so please sign up and start the process of finding Wally; identifying and creating the precedents for your projects so, when you need Wally, you can be confident he will be there.