From Projects to Work-streams

The #noprojects movement seems to be gathering pace so I’d thought I’d publish some thinking I shared with a utilities client recently on what a ‘continuous value stream’ delivery might look like in direct comparison to the projects culture that is embedded in the organisation at the moment:

Projects Capability Workstreams
Have temporary teams Have permanent, ongoing teams that work together indefinitely, fostering high-performance
End when a set of goals have been reached. BAU, maintenance? Don’t end, value is continually delivered. Demand for change could be from innovation, from existing backlog or from anywhere
May be suitable for one-off things that can be delivered and then forgotten Are good for core business capabilities that must endure and continuously improve
Have success criteria often defined as “On time, on budget, on scope” Have success criteria defined as “How much business value has been delivered compared to the cost of delivering it”
Generate knowledge through documents and artefacts Generate knowledge in people
Confine change to a project Make change part of everyday business
Have start-up costs and can delay the delivery of value Provide ongoing ‘delivery capability’ that can react quickly and have little or no overhead
Promote large funding pots in entirety or ‘phases’ Promote ongoing funding, deciding whether to spend any more only when some value has been delivered

The project world on the left may be familiar though I thought folks might find the workstream context interesting.

As the first post on this site I’d welcome comments even more than ever!

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2 thoughts on “From Projects to Work-streams

  1. colsweetman says:

    I think this is a great concept that has significant benefit for organisations. However, given the way that budgets and funding approvals are managed and governed (certainly in the UK) I think it’s extremely unlikely to be adopted at any significant scale in the Public Sector. A key factor of course is clarifying and communicating the business value model, because unless we know what “value” is, we can’t prioritise and measure results.

    • kennyboy993 says:

      Thanks for your comments Colin. I fear you’re right, ‘projects as a vehicle’ thinking may be as embedded in UK public sector as anywhere…. maybe we’ll get lucky and someone from ‘Government Digital Service’ will read this and give their view.

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