Behavioral Project Planning

Today (2.28.2018), I logged into my LinkedIn feed and saw a graphic that announced a concept called behavioral project planning. It turned out to be the name of a web site which contained nothing remarkable. All I could find was the same marketing focused content that you would find associated to organizations that are selling project management training. 

Get to the high ground first, look over the landscape and then review your next step options.

Get to the high ground first, look over the landscape and then review your next step options.

What a disappointment but still this company has submitted an interesting battle cry for organizations that might be struggling with culture behaviors that negatively impact project execution. To be fair, it is possible, this company is trying to protect and capitalize on their idea. Just because the site currently looks like a mcguffin, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't have some awesome concepts under the surface. 

However, I found myself thinking about the concept enough to draft and share what might be a definition of a behavioral project planning concept. 

  • Research organization behaviors
    • Create a list of behaviors that others have shared (books, white papers, blogs)
    • Determine which of these behaviors impact your organization
    • Do deeper research on those behaviors to see what others are saying
  • Perform a root cause analysis for behaviors associated to your organization
    • Note: This is NOT done to fix the behavior but to fully understand it
    • Review the list of root causes and group them logically
  • Align both behaviors and root causes to project impact
    • Again, NOT to fix either but to understand the big picture

After this is done, you have two ... well maybe three ... actually four possible choices.

1. Do Nothing
2. Try and fix the behaviors
3. Try and pivot processes to mitigate behavior impact
4. A combination of number 2 and number 3

Out of all of these, the one you have the most control over is the pivot (number 3). I wouldn't suggest creating a totally new project execution process. This would be like trading in your car due to a flat tire. I would recommend a surgical approach to modifying your process. It is quite possible that you can make small changes that go totally unnoticed by the organization as a whole but provide a significant boost to overall project execution efficiency. 

Finally, realize this is NOT a one and done endeavor. It is possible that some of your pivot tweaks cause as many or more problems than the original issue. Because of this, I recommend the classic iterative approach of making a change, gauge its effects, adjust as needed and then proceed to the next items on your overall backlog of identified pivots. 

© 2018 Dwayne Wright