September 21, 2007

Do You See The Big Picture?

Do You See The Big PictureThere is a story around putting big rocks, small rocks, sand and water into a jar. The moral of the story is focus on the big things in life before chasing the smaller issues. The same concept applies to project management. Focus on the big picture before you get entangled in the minutia.

An effective manager is a visionary. He can proactively seek out risks/challenges that lurk on the horizon and deal with them before they become reality. How do you do that? One approach is – think big. Look at the big picture. Understand the context of your project or assignment. Understand the magnitude of the problem domain. If you spend time on understanding the big picture you will have a much better appreciation of the challenges you face.

Similar to investing sufficient time conducting requirements before jumping into coding – investing enough time as a manager understanding the holistic picture will lead to a much better plan and execution.

Don’t seek the solution before you understand the problem. In my mind – the big rocks represent the important pieces of a project – the problem domain, the challenges, the stakeholders, the concerns, the implications, the benefits, the interactions, the risks etc. The small rocks are the pieces needed to solve the problem. The project plan, the resources, training, deliverables – the nuts and bolts of every day execution.

To be effective you have to see the big picture, understand your domain and then execute.

No comments: