I came across a very interesting piece while trying to research on different types of projects. This includes stumbling on the “Goals-and-methods matrix: coping with projects with ill defined goals and/or methods of achieving them” by J R Turner and R A Chocrane published in Vol II No 2 May 1993 in International Journal for Project Management. I could not resist sharing a few points on the same with all of you.
Turner and Cochrane judge the projects based on two parameters:
- whether the goals are well defined
- whether the methods of achieving them are well defined
The resulting 2 x 2 matrix, which is called in this paper the goals-and-methods matrix, implies four types of project:
Type-l projects: for which the goals and methods of achieving the project are well defined
Type-2projects: for which the goals are well defined but the methods are not
Type-3 projects: for which the goals are not well defined but the methods are
Type-4 projects: for which neither the goals nor the methods are well defined
This concept leads to the definition of four types of project:
Type-l projects: In these projects, the goals and methods are well defined. They are typified by large engineering projects. These projects have been called the “Earth Projects” after the four traditional elements that is they are well defined with a solid foundation.
Type-2 projects: In these projects, the goals are well defined, but the methods of achieving them are not. They are typified by product-development projects. These are “Water Projects” like a turbulent stream, they flow with a sense of purpose, but in an apparently haphazard way.
Type-3 projects: In these projects, the goals are not well defined, but the methods are. These are typified by software-development projects, in which it is notoriously difficult to specify the users’ requirements. The goals are known to exist, but cannot be specified precisely until users begin to see what can be produced, often during the testing stages. These are “Fire Projects” much heat can be generated in the definition of the work, but they can burn with no apparent purpose.
Type-4 projects: In these projects, neither the goals, nor the method of achieving them, are well defined. They are typified by organizational-development projects. These are “Air Projects” they are very difficult to catch hold of, and deliver ‘blue-sky’ research objectives.
Turner adds a very interesting dimension to the project to diffrentiate a project from day-to-day operations. He says that the project should be:
1. Unique (work done should unique)
2. The organization should be novel
3. The Change is unitary.
Turner and Cochrane suggests 3 breakdown structures for the projects.
In reverse order, they are as follows:
Product breakdown structure (PBS): This is a cascade of deliverables, in which the overall product or objective of the project is broken into subproducts, assemblages and components. It is a bill of materials for the project.
Organization breakdown structure (OBS): This is a cascade of resource types, skill types or activities. At high levels, the names may be similar to what are often called the ‘phases’ of a project: design, development, procurement, production, assembly, and testing. At lower levels, they are specific resource types: mechanical engineers, COBOL programmers etc.
Work breakdown structure (WBS): At any level of breakdown, the 2-dimensional matrix of products and activities
define a task matrix, the sequence of activities required to deliver each product. The cascade of task matrices is the work breakdown structure for a project.
It is very interesting to see how Turner and Cochrane actually marry the breakdown structures and types of projects.
Type I Projects: or the “large engineering projects” the PBS, OBS and WBS are all well defined. Project managers treat Product Breakdown Structure and the Work Breakdown Structure as the same thing. The Client Requirement Document or the Project Definition Report sets the basis of the project. The role of the project Manager is that of leader leading the skilled team through well defined set of activities
Type II Projects: or the “product development projects”, the Product Breakdown Structure is well defined but Work Breakdown Structure that is the task matrix or precise sequence of events/activities involved in achieving a deliverable is not well defined. The Project Manager needs to put together multi-disciplinary team which should be very knowledgeable to define the methods required for the project to succeed. The group needs to brainstorm to ensure that all angles or avenues are explored to choose the correct methodology for the project. Once the Task Matrix of the exact sequence of events is ready, the Project Manager should step back to ensure that the players are on their own.
Type III Projects: or the “Software Development Projects” the PBS is not well defined but WBS is partially defined. The typical sequences of tasks required to achieve the deliverable are well known, but the precise form of the deliverable is not. Hence the problem in Type III Project is more of defining the precise objectives and the purpose of the project. This calls for negotiation between project team and the project sponsor to understand the deliverable needed from the project.
Type IV Projects: or the “Organizational Developmental Project” neither PBS nor WBS is well defined. The objectives, goals, methods and activities required need to constantly iterated. The project manager needs to be very creative and strategic in these cases.
This piece of literature from Turner and Cochrane very clearly defines how we can overcome difficulties that we can face in projects which are not well defined in terms of Goals and Methods. Absolutely fabulous piece of information shared in detail on the following link: