The Project Management of Innovation – Wyatt
Abstract: Traditional project management has focused on providing organizations with predictability in the delivery of discrete bodies of work. Project Managers pride themselves on delivering a defined set of requirements on time, on budget with a determined level of quality. Customer feedback and new requirements are available after the project is delivered and in use. Agile methodologies enable a faster feedback loop with smaller stories being delivered more quickly but still within the guiderails of a define product.
In a corporate environment that values predictability where is the opportunity for innovation?
The reaction of the human body to a foreign object is analogous to how the predictability seeking organization deals with project level innovation. Corporate control functions, Finance, Risk, legal, IT architecture surround project level innovation and demand compliance to given sets of processes that ensure predictability. This is much the same as how white blood cells surround bacteria in the body until the unpredictable entity is unable to function and ejected from the body.
If we recognize the pattern of behavior that requires conformity then an environment can be set up to insulate a project from those behaviors and enable open ended innovation to occur.
This paper articulates an approach utilized at TIAA to surround certain projects and subsidiaries with a barrier and filter layer that enables the innovation entity to thrive. The project/program level barrier holds back the forces of conformity and predictability providing a safe place for innovation to occur while preserving the risk tolerance of the overall organization.
PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership