“Stop doing something you suspect is unproductive and see if anyone notices.” Mary Gorman and Ellen Gottesdiner, “Are your practices jumping the shark?” SD Times April 2011, pg 69.
I love this technique. I’ve done this quite a few times. Unfortunately, the greatest barrier to this tactic is often a QA organization with a virtual clipboard that is checking off everything we have done. They immediately jump on us at a meeting and say “but, you’ve not yet completed X!” The other challenge is that often the ignored activity has an organization or team behind it who got it added to the process in the first place. They want it to happen, even if is doesn’t help our project any (but also see support the other guys project to find a balance).
This “stop doing unproductive activities” is different than the “let’s just do whatever we think we should do and not pay attention to what was needed in the past.” This kind of “intuitive management” approach is often unproductive and sometimes catastrophic. Well thought out methodologies do make a difference. Just sometimes we get steps in our process that no longer need to be done or need to be done very differently to add real value.
In most of my experience the biggest benefits have almost always come from eliminating bad management habits that then allowed the existing good practices to reach their full potential. Getting rid of unneeded activities and counterproductive practices is a great project management tool.
What things would you like to stop doing in your project management that you suspect are unproductive?