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Planning projects under uncertainty / Options For Dealing With Schedule Risk / Unlock a Premium Post
Welcome to 📮Monday TPM Field Dispatch 010 - Shortform thoughts on tech program management + curated content for further exploration, delivered every Monday to your inbox to kickstart your week.
Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Monday Dispatch 😅. A bit of delay on my end but still the great content you expect.
1️⃣ Planning projects under uncertainty
The interview is full of golden nuggets for us Technical Program Managers. Here is what Luca and James talked about with time stamps.
00:01:02 Planning software and uncertainty
00:04:45 Knowns and unknowns
00:10:10 Stepping stones
00:17:41 Management & estimates
00:24:50 Project variables
00:31:26 Psychology for engineers
00:35:48 Optimize your career for having fun
00:41:35 From engineer to manager
00:48:42 Keeping tech + business aligned in hyper-growth
My favorite section of the interview was "Stepping Stones". It is in line with how I think about agile and running agile programs.
If you have an hour to spare on yourself, go check out the interview. It was legend 🤯.
2️⃣ Options For Dealing With Schedule Risk
We all will experience missed deadline or milestone or schedule slips. The scariest one is when you are at risk of missing your final milestone. Conventional wisdom will tell you to either:
Add more people (Increase costs)
Decrease scope (Limit feature set)
Add more time (Delay the project)
In real life, the situation is a lot more nuanced. Depending on where you are in the project timeline (beginning, middle or late/near end) you might have to apply a combination of these things instead of thinking these are distinct options.
Beginning → consider reducing scope and hold off on adding people and time.
Middle → you could do all three: add people, reduce scope, add more time.
Late → you could delay the project, adding people is not feasible, reduce scope is too late.
Why am I telling you something so obvious? If I have learned anything from my decade plus as a TPM, obvious is sometimes not so obvious.
Humans are irrational and emotional decision makers. Our job as TPMs is to help leaders make rational decisions. We leverage our experiences and holistic awareness of the current state of the project to guide leaders on the path to success.
I have worked with leaders whose only response to a delay is "How many more people do you need?"
I have worked with TPMs whose only reaction to a delay is “We need more time”.
Next time you find yourself with a leader looking at the risk of slipping the schedule, think about where you are in the project and which of the three options above OR combination of is viable. This will save your teams time and headache chasing time wasting exercises to save the project.
3️⃣ Unlock → A Practical Guide To Structuring Technical Programs
Last week, I wrote a short guide based on what I teach in my maven cohort course - Become A Great Technical Program Manager.
This guide helps you structure your next tech program at a tactical level + templates you can steal.
This post was available to premium subscribers only. I know its not for everyone.
🤕 I know that not everyone is a fan of auto renewing monthly memberships and the headache of signing up for a trial period to cancel the membership immediately to read something of value to you.
💰 Price of monthly memberships is also an issue for many especially when premium posts may not come as frequently as you want or not always applicable to you.
So, I want to try something new.
🤩 For those who just want access to one-off premium posts, you can unlock the PDF version for the simple price of $1.
👉🏽 Follow the link below to get your hands on a practical guide to running your technical programs. Win win for everyone =).
If this experiment yields results, I may consider doing this for all future premium posts.
If not, then hey, that’s why experiments are so fun.
How was this week’s newsletter?
Cohort 2 of my course Become A Great Technical Program Manager is Open for Enrollment
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