Drake – Started From The Bottom or the success of the project begins a second before …

Drake – Started From The Bottom or the success of the project begins a second before …

What will this article be about and who is it for?

This article is a reflection of my applied experience in the field of project management, which I hope will be another pillar in the construction of your “Imperial-1 Star Destroyer”, or something like that.

We’ll talk about the important things to have “a second before” starting a project. BIG project. And we will learn what a managed environment is and why its presence is so important.

Who is the article for: future CIOs and CTOs, current and future product and project managers, members of project and product teams. In general, for everyone.

Let’s start

We named the article because we didn’t just name it. Any cool project ends with a post-analysis. The team of investment analysts compares the planned and actual indicators in the post-investment analysis, the development adds the latest postmortems, and the project manager checks the result according to the project passport. The period of analysis is naturally limited by the framework and period of the actual start of work on the project. For the working group, the project begins with the first hour spent, for stakeholders with the first actually incurred financial costs. But the whole truth is that the project begins long before that, with its preparation. We cannot grow a tree outside the ecosystem. It is impossible to implement the project outside of a controlled environment.

We cannot grow a tree outside the ecosystem

author of the picture: Shedevrum

Oh, if only this thought became one of the rules of study for all students of every higher educational institution, then maybe managers would not have to spend a colossal amount of time on unplanned work reports and absurd explanations. I remember that once, at the request of the general director, he himself wrote a similar report, which was no different from an explanatory one. An eye for an eye, an emotion for an emotion. I remember my emotions, I remember how I was filled with anger. I remember how, gritting my teeth, I was pouting over the letter, gathering anamnesis in the work chat on the topic “Why we deviated from the course.” It was surprising, because the reason was on the surface – the engineers did not have the necessary tools to perform the task. It is strange to write such reports when the task of correcting the situation has not been completed. “Strange” – I thought, and decided to rewrite my report on the application form for dismissal.

Was anyone right in this situation? No. As a young manager, I sinned by intemperance and lack of experience to handle such situations. The general director distracted our people from other work through my hands.

It was wrong.

The situation, of course, resolved itself, and the general and I were able to fix everything, including and our relationships. But looking back, I realize that we could have avoided all of this if we had more time to organize a controlled environment.

Managed environment. Have you played PC games?

So what is this “managed environment”. As I write this article, I try to keep a picture in my head so that the reader can visualize what I am writing about. A managed environment is a platform that allows you to distribute, manage and control the interaction of critical components for project implementation.

To make it easier, I will explain in a language that everyone can understand: the project is a game (preferably, imagine a strategy), all that we manage in the game are resources. We control the game itself using difficulty, video, sound, controller, etc. settings are important things. In our example, the managed environment will be, directly, deployed software on the machine, inside which all of the above lives, breathes and is controlled.

It is important for us to use this terminology because it is different from others and applied. Unfortunately, as we found out earlier: there are still superficial things that are not taught at the alma mater. And that’s nothing, because for many years to come, the way to a paradigm shift is open for our field.

Let’s give a good example, referring to the sources. There is a well-noted connection between the reasons for frequent IT project failures and knowledge of project management from the book “Managing an IT project, or How to become a full-fledged CIO”, by Susan Snedaker. Here he is:

In 1986, Alfred Spector, president of Transarc, co-authored an article comparing bridge building to software development. As noted in the article, bridges are built on time, within budget, and they don’t fall. However, the creation of software rarely falls within the time and budget framework, and the resulting product almost always “breaks”. Spector suggested that the bridges are built on time, within the budget and do not collapse because the design and construction process are approved and the developer has virtually no opportunity to change them. Of course, this practice of creating bridges was developed over 3000 years. But software development is a relatively new field of activity. It is not 3000, but only 60-70 years old.

I think that after such an analogy, we should only have a stronger desire to speed up our locomotive in terms of proposing hypotheses and their verification in the field of IT project management.

In general, the managed environment is a concept that exists in neighboring departments of IT specializations, but has not been popular in management. Time for us to fix it.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: what a managed environment consists of

Let’s not torture our brains with waiting for the essence and immediately go to this list Schindler important things

But first a definition. Important things are the components of the managed environment that keep the project alive. Let’s go in order.

Concept and mission

I assure you that no project, no task will be carried out with enthusiasm if there is no global goal in the name of which people are working. There is a revealing story about how, in 1962, at the NASA space center, John Kennedy asked a cleaner with a mop in his hands what he was doing. “I, Mr. President,” the cleaner answered according to accurate information, “am helping to send a man to the moon.”

Culture of interaction

An important aspect is the culture of human interaction. We don’t undertake the complete education of employees or anything like that, but it is very important to create such a climate in which psychological health will be safe.

Obviously, a few words need to be said here so that the topic is clear to everyone. Preservation of psychological health and human health in general is the responsibility of the team. We must be united on the way to our goal. A friend for one. That’s the only way teams win.

Road map

Culture should be one’s own, not borrowed. There must be a destination on the way. Therefore, any task, project, organization and company must understand and know when it will end its existence. And it would be good if it happened after achieving the set goal.

Onboarding and deep-dive system

Any organization or enterprise in one way or another is forced to rotate personnel. This rotation should not be left to fate: whether the new employee will do it on his own or not. At the entrance, as well as at the exit, the employee should be met by an onboarding system that helps to quickly adapt in a new environment and provides a comprehensive amount of information about the company, culture, tools, project, etc.

Note that it is important to have an autonomous onboarding and deep-dive system that does not depend on the personal participation of current employees. This will avoid unnecessary burden on the operating personnel.

Communication channels

The more effective the communication, the more effective the team itself. It is worth noting that employee communication channels should be limited and managed by managers. Communication channels must be unified in order to preserve the information field of each employee.

Task tracking system

Everything is very simple here. If you want to do well, then Do it yourself check the work Of course, we should not take up colleagues’ time by pestering them with questions about the status of their tasks. This is where the task tracking system comes to our aid. It allows you to coordinate work flows, keep an informative report on the decisions made, and control the work process.

I think it will not be superfluous to mention here that any system must be administered by the manager. It is the manager who is entrusted with the task of monitoring the effectiveness of the employees’ work process.

Wiki space

Knowledge base. Probably something that keeps the legacy information of some function next to the product hypotheses and does it nicely. The knowledge base is a universal tool that allows you to keep a journal about a company, a project, etc. with a certain structure.

I will ask a rhetorical question: who do you think is responsible for administering the wiki space?

Team principles in product development

A very deep important thing that affects both the product and its sale. Here we emphasize that the principles form the product. Hence the rule: your product will be as useful as your principles correspond to it.


Enough is better than more or less. Resources should be calculated for the task. For example, more money than needed is not an advantage. Leftover money that you don’t use is a lost opportunity for profit. By hiding more money in your budget, you can deprive the other team of the opportunity to bring money to the company on their own.

In general, resources are important, as is their measure.

Profile tools

At the beginning of the article, we already got acquainted with the story where the lack of specialized resources caused a problem in business. Profile tools are a set of tools that an employee needs to perform tasks.

We were outside the border of zero

So we visited the generally accepted event horizon. I hope it was as exciting a journey for you as it was for me.

I hope that the answer to the question “when is the success of an IT project formed?” became clear to you now.

Thank you for reading this article!

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