This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Mark A. Seely© 2016.
Published here March 2017

PART 2 | Editor's Note & Table of Contents
Chapter 4: Level 1 - Process Management | Level 1 Management | Performance
Chapter 5: Level 2 - Project Management | Level 2 Management | Performance
Chapter 6: Sociolytic Mindscaping  | Analysis of Analysis | Custom vs. the Standard Stereotype
Open System vs. a Closed System Stereotype | Governance versus Management
Level 2 in a Level 4 World - Much Simpler than Possible | Gaming Systems | PART 4

Level 2 Management

The centerpiece of Level 2 Management is the methodology. This is comprised of a Charter, a Work Breakdown Structure, and baseline requirements with schedule and cost factors detailed. The Charter is in essence a contract with stakeholders. It positions authority for stewardship of all that is required with a Manager, a Project Manager. The Work Breakdown Structure confronts detail complexity, allowing you to disintegrate the prospect into sub elements and, thereby, "eat the elephant one bite at a time."

The major challenge to a good methodology is risk — the chance that something may not go according to plan. In anticipation of adversity, statistics provide a basis for assessing the probability of a reasonably possible adverse event and the potential exposure should that event occur. Multiplying the two provides a basis for a risk contingency that is then added to the estimate in advance of the implementation. A risk registry becomes the project manager's tool for soldiering forward against adversity. In fact, with the highly predictable environment of Level 2 management, prescribed contingency plans are put in place just in case and, should the need arise, they are pulled off the shelf, dusted off, and put into action.

At some point through the course of the project, the final configuration of the product comes into focus. With that, the configuration is documented and the initiative reduces to a Level 1 management model for its operating phase.

The Hoover Dam Project Example

The Hoover Dam remains a great wonder in engineering and construction, attracting tourists for the better part of a century. The project was funded by the Federal Government of the United States as part of the infrastructure push post-depression. Construction began in 1933. Of course, you do not just run in, pour four million tons of concrete, and call it a day. There is a river in the way, there are no workers on site ... and so the organizing archetype of classical project management is employed to reduce the exercise to a methodology. There are no rules for building a dam, no mass production, no building and then discarding. It has to be right the first time!

On the upside, we know what the physical terrain is. Our forbearers have studied soil, rock, concrete and steel ad infinitum. Though the initiative is spectacular — large scale — the prospect is also stable. This is not trial-and-error high tech development. If we can attack the detail complexity issue through a work breakdown structure, have a master project plan with a Manager responsible for devolution of sub tasks through a Responsibility Assignment Matrix; our dam will come together roughly as predicted. While, we need to move that river out of the way, blast bed rock and take care of some other details, but with a stable methodology in place, we should be able to plan the work and then work the plan to bring the project to a successful end.

In the civil engineering world in general, the stability of infrastructure enables stability of methods. Projects are so predictable that they are often awarded through a competitive tender. Low bid wins. The Hoover Dam was awarded to a consortium of five companies that united to call themselves "Five Companies". For $50B, they established a base camp, moved the river, poured the concrete and turned on the power, all within a five-year construction period!

Chapter 5: Level 2 - Project Management   Chapter 5: Level 2 - Project Management

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