Help people see

Official versionI came across this article a few weeks ago and it is still something that makes a lot of sense to me. In short: share what you know, so that other people can take action. Bruce Benson tells us How Not To Kill Your Project Management Data With Kindness and Best Intentions

Making data available to as many folks as possible can enhance data integrity and innovation using that data. While security is a real concern, in my experience most operational data (e.g. business intelligence data) usually doesn’t need strong access controls. In fact, such business data often needs technology, such as web services and service oriented architectures, to help it be available to as many people as needed. For me, data and information is the life blood and primary tool of the project manager and should be made as available as reasonable security permits.

The article starts out talking about data access and security, and then Benson jumps into talking about data around projects: like the project plans. He recounts several situations where project managers were unwilling to publish or share their plans until they were "perfect" or "approved." The problem with this is that project plans are pictures of what we think future will be - they cannot be perfect. And "approved" plans are merely those that provide a picture of the future that looks okay today.

As Benson mentions, giving people what is currently known about the status of the project - and a consistent mechanism for talking about ongoing status - is what people need to take action. Hiding things, for whatever reason, simply forces people to act without that information. Even worse, people may decide not to act because they don't know they were supposed to do something. How is that ever going to help the project?

[Image credit: This is the cover image from Front 242's album, "Official Version"]

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