Chapter 14

Taming Processes, Problems, and Conflicts

A project is like a journey. You start out in one place with the intention of getting somewhere else. But, unlike some treks, you don't want your project to be an adventure with twists and turns, surprises, backtracking from dead ends, and hair-raising exploits. It should be more like a trouble-free business trip — an efficient, cost-effective jaunt from point A to point B. Project ground rules are akin to a travel itinerary for your trip. You know whether to look for a driver or airport shuttle to pick you up, or hoof it to the nearest subway station. Ground rules help make a project run more smoothly and pleasantly for everyone.

Whether your project has a few people assigned or thousands, you want them all pulling in the same direction. The processes you put in place help people do just that. Processes are guidelines for how to get things done on your project so your team doesn't have to waste time figuring out what to do next. At the same time, those processes should be flexible enough to cover a variety of circumstances as well as allow for better ways to produce results. This chapter begins with a discussion of the characteristics of effective processes — and what you can do if you're stuck with some that are less than ideal.

As you learned in Chapter 1, a project is about solving a problem. Once your project starts, you realize that you end up solving lots of small problems and making lots of decisions every day. In this ...

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