Whack A Mole | The Game Of Whack-A-Mole In Project Management: Project management can feel like a game of Whack-a-Mole. A rubber mallet uses to whack random plastic moles.
Using the hammer, mole is returne to their burrow. It’s become a project management metaphor for us. One tries to “whack” the ‘mole’ back into its position, but it keeps escaping. Whack that mole some of these things can predicte.
Whack A Mole | The Game Of Whack-A-Mole In Project Management
Myriad Emergent Events
Consider the many factors that can prevent a project from achieving its goal. Troubles come in battalions, not solitary spies, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
There are projects where things flow easily and rapidly without turbulence, which we (engineers) call laminar flow. It’s not uncommon for numerous moles to appear at the same time in other projects.
Here are a few examples of our observations:
- Long-term absence of vital talent
- A key team member leaving or changing
- Reorganize the team
- Client change request last minute
- Sponsor change
- Project reorganization
- Unforeseen regulatory shift
- Supplier problems
- Untimely delivery
- Strike by union
- Wait until the account is updated before starting new work
A ‘mallet’ won’t solve these problems, but just like the game, it takes concentration to spot the problem and respond to it quickly.
Effective project management requires this. The complexity of projects makes it difficult to respond to emerging events as they arise. That’s why risk management is important.
Issues vs. Threats
From the preceding list, one may characterize them as Risks to be qualified and quantified. And it’s true. But consider this one.
A project’s Sponsor is likely to be replaced or reassigned. It’s never occurred before. To qualify and quantify the risk, it would need to be identified as such.
Maybe not on the Risk Register. But supposing the Project Sponsor leaves the company one day. There’s a glitch. Fast ‘whack’ and move on is the reaction.
This issue now has Risks. What if the new Sponsor isn’t as engaged as the old? Maybe the new Sponsor doesn’t see the project as important as the old Sponsor did?
Suppose the new Sponsor is unrelated to the project. There is no time to devote to your project because their plate is full. Is it possible that the new Sponsor will not support the project’s business case?
Rarely have sponsors had a hidden goal or lacked the political skill to defend a project at the executive level, leading to its demise.
In some cases, risks and issues are interchangeable. Issues arise from Risks and Risk Mitigation. A project’s health and delivery may jeopardiz by risky actions, decisions, and outcomes.
Identify the Issue, Ownership, Resolution, Due Date, and any new or existing Risks. Any issue that is persistent and has considerable project impact can manage.
A plan isn’t the ideal option when faced with a series of potentially project-sink occurrences.
It’s also not proactive, and it’s reactive to rely on impromptu reactionary responses. Unpredictable surprises are part of project management in the business sector.
Competitive pressures can influence management decisions that negatively affect project goals and employees. Problems with decision-making are sometimes not communicate clearly.
A plan for dealing with specific issues and events that arise during a project’s execution may seem unattainable. Unexpectedly, a ‘Mole’ appears on a project.
So, what are the next steps? Revise an Event or Issue index. So, which moles can the Project Manager manage alone? Exists? When resolving a conflict, what form of ‘mole’ is requir?
This strategy, like most project management plans, must document and update. The PM must be able to change the program while it is being executed. And what doesn’t? Possibility of a ‘mole‘ warning sign?
Our risk register does not cover all possible outcomes of the project. Fast identifying these occurrences and their potential impact allows us to respond quickly. Some things are more accessible to foresee than others.