Posted by: kerrywills | April 3, 2010

Volitility hampers productivity

In my experience one of the biggest drivers of project instability and risk is volatility.  I want to distinguish a difference, though, between normal project evolution and volatility. There will always be issues that come up, discoveries along the way and unanticipated items which are all part of the natural evolution of a project.  When I say volatility, I mean constantly changing scope, option analysis, replanning the project, assessments and changes in direction.

These types of items are extremely disruptive to the projects and take away time and focus from running the project. I have been on many projects where there is a change in direction or sponsorship questioning the estimates which results in replanning and analysis. Usually the people required to do the analysis are also the key people needed to keep the project running.  This ultimately causes the project to spin.

"If we're all in here replanning, who is working on the project?"

The key to mitigating volatility is through diligence. By staying diligent with documenting assumptions, updating plans, staying on top of changes, etc a Project Manager has a good pulse on the project. This allows them to have the data needed when the “side project” comes up as well as the data to articulate the impact on the project for doing the additional work. That being said, projects that are diligent probably dont get as many requests for assessments, replanning, or analysis. So I suppose the best way to mitigate volitility and plan for it at the same time is to remain diligent with the project operations and management.

Please comment with other types of volatility as well as other ways to avoid/mitigate it.


  1. I agree with your post. It is frustrating to know this happens all the time. It does; I’ve seen it for myself via friends in other companies. Thanks for your thoughts.

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