News Flash: Project Manager Discovers Why All His Hair Is Out

News Flash: Project Manager Discovers Why All His Hair Is Out

Why? – by annna via Flickr
Ony had just completed a year-long project and was exhausted. He had been keeping a file of lessons learned throughout the project. Now that it was finished, he was looking back at the entire year.
Let’s take a look at one of the lessons Tony and his team learned for this particular project. It is how they got to the root cause through asking a simple question. Why?
Symptom: The project had undergone several “re-scopings” over the past year, making it seem like the goals were constantly changing.
1Why was the scope constantly changing? Because the direction and needs changed throughout the year. We responded to these changes.
2Why did we get different directions at different times? Because a different customer was giving the direction at each time.
3Why did the customer who was giving us direction change? Because we didn’t know who was responsible for what area of the scope.
4Why didn’t we have a clear understanding of who was responsible for what area of the scope?We didn’t push the customer to agree to a responsibility matrix for their people; we did this only for our team.
5Why didn’t we demand a responsibility matrix that included customer staff?Because the customer was not considered an integral part of our project team. We were too focused on our own performance organization and not enough on external stakeholders.
Lesson learned: Make sure you have a clear matrix of responsibility that includes decision authority for all project teams, including customer staff.
Do you know of a case where the 5 Why’s technique has been used to identify root causes in your projects? Leave a comment and share your experiences!